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Tyrrells: How to break the US market

Expansion can be a challenging process. I?m not going to lie; any big business decision brings with it a certain amount of mountains to climb that any entrepreneur and owner-director may feel daunted by. 

When we decided to launch Tyrrells into the US this was no exception to the rule, however I?m glad to say any potential concern we may have had was quickly swept away when we received a positive market response.

Ground work and strategy forms an extensive part of the prep-work before expanding, particularly for a small to medium sized enterprise, as you need to “be sure” before you take on the “big players”. It sounds obvious but it pays to be prepared.

Based in a small village in Herefordshire, Tyrrells is known for its quality and a personal approach, not only to our customers but we also pride ourselves on maintaining a family-like employee culture. 

With expansions, particularly into other markets, sometimes the ethos of an organisation can get lost in translation, so it’s important to keep communication channels open. Our products are now available in most of Europe, Russia, India, China and the US and we have made sure our same business standards and ethos are maintained throughout.

Tyrrells has successfully created and sustained the first ever premium crisp market in France and is currently taking on the biggest snack market the US. We ve found that with exciting prizes, considered steps need to be taken: –

Not just one market

Firstly, one country does not always mean one type of market. For example the States is made up of many different regions and contains a complex retail landscape that must be thought about in different ways. 

Understanding the terrain of any market is fundamental before embarking upon any international expansion.

Appropriate route

You must decide on the correct and appropriate route to market. There are a range of different options that one could choose. To enter the US, we found the best route to market was by teaming up with an expert agent called Greenseed who helped us develop and deliver the right route to market strategy. 

As a result of our partnership, we decided that the best route to take would be to target the high quality stores e.g. Upmarket Deli’s and Wholefoods, before extending into broader distribution, through chains such as Duane Reade.


Many companies have a variety of products which make up their portfolio. We feel it is important when breaking into a foreign market that you don’t throw all your eggs in one basket, even if you are fully confident that they will be well received. 

We chose to build a solid platform of our core product – crisps, which once established, will provide a good foundation block to launch our other product platforms. The benefit of this is that we are more focussed, we learn what works, and what doesn’t and, especially in mature markets such as the US, we become famous for our core business.

Communication is key

Now, distribution should not be the one and only factor when it comes to going overseas. A strong communications plan is needed to succeed in any market, to ensure that consumers understand your proposition.

For example, in the US, we have adopted a strong digital PR and in-store presence to ensure that our consumers in the states understand the brand proposition and have platforms in which they can engage with the brand more deeply. 

We also make sure that our strategy remains consistent in any market in which we operate so as not to create brand confusion by pretending that the brand means different things in different markets. In essence, we focus on a single brand truth, and keep telling that story across the globe.

To sum up, Tyrrells is about to celebrate its 10th year of production of fine hand cooked English crisps and has already entered the US, Russian, Indian, Chinese and European markets, with the aim of bringing quality crisps to consumers worldwide. As more and more people buy into the Tyrrells brand proposition, we will continue to focus on the above recipe to fuel our future growth plans so consumers can find a little piece of England in stores worldwide.

David Milner is chief executive of Tyrrells crisps.

Picture source


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