Export success the icing on the cake for Dollar Sweets

Australian confectioner, Dollar Sweets, has won over $1 million in new business in the US and across Asia, with help from Austrade.

The world is discovering the joys of fairy bread, with Dollar Sweets taking its beloved 100s and 1000s, sprinkles and other confectionery global.

Over the past 12 months, Austrade has helped the company win over $1 million in new business in the US and across Asia. This outcome was achieved through:

  • online business matching meetings and attendance at major trade shows
  • introductions to new retail customers and importers
  • reconnecting with existing distributors
  • seeking new opportunities with multinational customers.

‘We wouldn’t be where we are today without Austrade,’ says Philip Holm, Dollar Sweets’ Sales and Marketing Director. ‘Their teams in Australia and offshore have a wealth of practical experience and advice. Austrade motivates us to keep moving forward with our export plans.’

Photograph of Dollar Sweets 100s and 1000s container Dollar Sweets 100s and 1000s container

Celebrating 76 years of sweet success

Dollar Sweets makes cake decorating and baking products, confectionery and ingredients for the industrial food sector. Founded in 1947, the family-owned business is Australia’s largest home baking supplier to the grocery sector.

Dollar Sweets has been exporting for years. However, exports make up less than 10% of its total revenue. Holm’s goal is to double exports by 2025. To do this, he started working with Austrade in late 2021.

‘Austrade did a market selection survey to help us determine which markets held the most potential for our products,’ says Holm. ‘Once we decided on the markets, Austrade shared some key tasks we needed to do for each market. In the US, for instance, it was getting our products certified by the US FDA. Austrade’s in-market teams shared insights and advice, helped us workshop plans and introduced us to distributors.

‘Importantly, Austrade acts as a checkpoint for our business,’ adds Holm. ‘At our monthly meetings, we follow up on the previous month’s actions and set tasks for the next month.’

A strong entry into the US market

In May 2022, Dollar Sweets took part in a virtual business matching program organised by Austrade. The company met 15 US retailers and distributors over 3 days. Among the retailers was 99 Only, a premier deep-discount retailer that carries consumable and general merchandise.

‘99 Only placed a $300,000 order for our range of seasonal baking ingredients and products,’ says Holm. ‘We also signed non-disclosure agreements with 3 large retail chains. We are in ongoing discussions with 10 companies for private-label business. It was a dream entry into the market.’

Buoyed by its success, Dollar Sweets attended PMLA’s Private Label Trade Show in November 2022. The company was one of 11 Australian companies at the Australia Pavilion, hosted by Austrade.

‘It was an incredibly successful experience,’ says Holm. ‘We had face-to-face meetings with the buyers we met at the virtual business matching program. We met new potential customers at the event and networked with other Australian suppliers. Austrade also organised trade visits for us.’

Dollar Sweets is in ongoing negotiations with 6 US retailers it met at the trade show. ‘If successful, we are looking at total sales worth over $2 million,’ says Holm.

Smashing sales in Singapore

Dollar Sweets also launched in Singapore in 2022 after Austrade introduced a Singaporean consolidator to the company’s products at a supermarket promotion. The consolidator, Bemco, then presented Dollar Sweets’ range to NTUC FairPrice, Singapore’s largest supermarket chain.

FairPrice placed an initial order of $200,000 for Dollar Sweets’ bakery range. Dollar Sweets expects ongoing orders will be worth up to $400,000 annually.

‘Our products are now in 50 supermarkets,’ says Holm. ‘FairPrice backed the launch with lightboxes, highlighting our brand as an exclusive hero product. That support is invaluable for a first-time exporter like us.’

Reconnecting with distributors drums up new sales

Holm says Austrade has provided common-sense advice that has delivered strong results. One piece of advice has been reconnecting with existing distributors.

‘Austrade helped us reinvigorate our business in New Zealand,’ says Holm. ‘After we spoke to our distributor, we launched 10 new lines into the country. This business was worth $500,000.’

Similarly, after speaking with its distributor in Malaysia, Dollar Sweets is now sending 6 new products to the country. The new business is worth $50,000 annually. Dollar Sweets’ Halal-certified products mean there is strong potential to grow sales in Malaysia. The company developed its Halal-certified products about a decade ago.

Picking up new business through multinational partners

Dollar Sweets’ multinational industrial customers provided another entry point to new business in new markets.

‘Austrade advised us to reach out to our food manufacturing customers to see if they could connect us with subsidiaries in other countries,’ says Holm. ‘We picked up new business worth $100,000 with the Thai subsidiary of a major manufacturer after speaking to our contact in Asia.’

With Austrade’s help, Dollar Sweets has developed relationships worldwide with a leading snack food manufacturer. After reaching out to the Indonesian subsidiary, the company is exporting ingredients to the country with an estimated annual value of $250,000.

Future plans

Dollar Sweets will focus on building its business in the US in 2023. The company is exploring opportunities in the UAE, where its Halal-certified products can be readily exported. It also wants to grow sales in New Zealand.

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