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Artisan dressings producer enjoys sweet taste of success following Business Gateway support 

13/02/2023
The range of Little Doone dressings

A SCOTTISH artisan food producer has expanded into international markets and is set to increase sales by 25% after the business owner received support and signposting to over £30,000 of funding from Business Gateway.  

Little Doone Foods, which produces a range of sweet balsamic dressings, is the brainchild of former stockbroker Colin Hanna.  The business has recently secured a major order from a large multinational retailer to supply stores in the USA, Canada and Australia. 

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Having been unable to find a balsamic dressing that matched the taste and quality he had enjoyed in restaurants, Colin decided to make his own reduction at home.  After a stockbroking business closure in 2006, Colin focused his time and energy into experimenting with recipes and flavours, and launched Little Doone Foods in 2007.  

The business produces dressings that are based on the deep, full flavours of the balsamic vinegar, sourced from one of the oldest and longest-established balsamic houses in the Modena region of Italy. Each product is naturally flavoured with zests, fresh fruit, or chilli, with flavours ranging from whisky to ginger, raspberry to smoked garlic.  

Successfully running the business alongside his wife Tatiana, Colin took Little Doone Foods from its humble beginnings in a leased kitchen in Ayr to a fully operational production unit that produces 1700 bottles per hour. The brand has now expanded into international markets, thanks to support from Business Gateway over the years.  

Working with the service, the team at Little Doone have benefited from a suite of start-up and growth business support, including a 1:1 dedicated business adviser, advice on expanding their premises, and signposting to funding. Access to £20,000 of RSA funding was essential for purchasing new equipment in 2015, which helped to increase production of the dressings from 400 to 10,000 bottles each day.  

Business Gateway support has allowed Little Doone to successfully maintain a steady rate of business growth, and recent access to specialist marketing support helped the business to develop recipe cards for inclusion in trade magazines, increasing brand awareness as a result. 

Colin Hanna, Founder, Little Doone Foods, said: “Balsamic is one of the most versatile and essential ingredients in any chef’s larder, but it can often be too sharp, which is why I launched Little Doone Foods.  I am very grateful for all the help and support from Business Gateway who saw the potential within the business and have guided our development.” 

“Business Gateway has been instrumental in our growth over the years. We’ve been able to access specialist support and develop our business knowledge, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without that. It’s really encouraging that we’re now seeing interest from overseas and we are very much looking forward to what this new chapter for Little Doone Foods will bring.”  

Dorothy Henke, Business Gateway adviser, said: “We have supported Little Doone Foods with a whole range of our growth services, and it has been fantastic to watch the business go from strength to strength. Colin has engaged well with a range of consultants and is always open to evaluating new opportunities. I am very pleased that our support has allowed Colin and Tatiana to realise their ambitions for growth with this latest move into international markets being particularly promising for this small family-run business.”  

To find out how Business Gateway can help your business, please visit https://bgateway.com.  

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