Stottie Cake, Newcastle Brown Ale and Sting - the best things to ever come out of Newcastle, according to locals

•    Stottie cake, Newcastle Brown Ale and Sting are the best things ever to come out of Newcastle, according to locals
•    Santander UK research highlights importance of international trade to North East companies – 45% currently trade internationally and 85% of these  say it is critical to business
•    North East companies reveal what it takes to make it overseas, including top tips for international success
•    Newcastle-based Wave Direct shares its experience of taking its business international


Stottie cake, Newcastle Brown Ale and Sting have topped the list of the best things ever to come out of Newcastle, according to local residents. 

In new research by Santander UK1, residents local to Newcastle have named the top ten things to come out of the city as: 
1.    Stottie cake 
2.    Newcastle Brown Ale 
3.    Sting 
4.    Lifeboats 
5.    Paul Gascoigne 
6.    Alan Shearer 
7.    The Toon Army – Newcastle football fans 
8.    Viz 
9.    Lucozade 
10.  Windscreen wipers 

Many of these things have put Newcastle on the global map, being well known, well used and much-loved in countries spanning the globe. Just as people from Newcastle are proud of their city’s greatest exports, Brits throughout the UK are pleased with what the nation has given the world. Santander UK’s research2 has found that 82% of Brits think some of the best things in the world have originated in Britain.

As well as being a source of pride, British exports play a significant role in the day-to-day success of UK companies. Santander UK’s research3 shows that many businesses in Newcastle and the wider North East region see international trade as vital. In the North East, 45% of companies surveyed currently trade internationally, and 85% of these said it was critical to their business. The most-cited countries they trade in are the USA (50%), Belgium (44%), and Ireland (44%). But international success doesn’t happen by chance. 

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK said: “A lot of research, hard work, perseverance, and adaptation go into transforming home-grown British goods and services into exports that resonate with consumers abroad and take off internationally. It also pays to have the right contacts in place - be they in-country retailers or distributors - to make sure UK-produced products and services have visibility overseas and get into the hands of buyers quickly and efficiently.”

The most common adaptations and measures North East businesses have undertaken to ensure their success overseas are:
•    Offered more products or services (44%).
•    Adapted the product to suit the local market or to comply with in-country regulations (38%).
•    Increased their social media presence (38%).
•    Introduced new products or services (31%).

It isn’t all plain sailing, as local businesses have worked hard to overcome the common challenges of shipping and transport costs (44%), staffing or hiring issues (44%), and opening a new premises (44%). Of the North East companies that don’t currently trade overseas, the reasons behind this are the beliefs that their business is too small (27%) and they think it’s too much of a risk (20%). Despite this, 24% of these businesses aspire to take their products and services overseas in future. However, none of them have a plan in place to make this happen. They say grants (29%), introductions to in-country suppliers and distributors (18%), education to understand the rules and regulations (18%), and less red tape (18%) would encourage them to take their business international.

A significant number of North East companies are positive about trading abroad, with 68% agreeing ‘the future is bright for British business operating internationally’. Contributing to this optimism are their beliefs that consumers are supporting British businesses more (62%), Brexit has provided more opportunities (52%) and the world is becoming easier to trade in and increasingly opening up business opportunities (43%).

Santander UK’s research has also revealed North East business owners’ and decision makers’ top tips for international trade success:
•    Have a Plan B (43%).
•    Hire employees who speak the language of the country you are entering (36%).
•    Make sure there is a market for your product or service before you start (29%).
•    Don’t take too big a risk to start with (29%).

A homegrown Newcastle company that is successfully expanding internationally is inflatable hot tub retailer Wave Direct. The business imports hot tubs from overseas and sells its products largely through its website but also in-store at Selfridges. The pandemic has propelled a massive surge in sales of it hot tubs – up by more than 1800% since the start of Covid – and Santander UK has provided it with funding to help it fulfil demand. Wave Direct is now focused on expanding its business in the US and in Europe.

Wave Direct Managing Director Tom Jeffrey said: “After we had traded in the UK for a couple of years, the natural next step for us was to expand into the US – it shares a common language with us and has an enormous population with high levels of leisure product consumption. At that early stage of our business, we were building our brand and America was a key market for us to do that in. The first step we took was to check there was an opportunity for us in the US, examining competitors and undertaking a gap analysis. One thing that was crucial, was putting in place a supportive and efficient logistics company to fulfil our sales in the US. With all of our US sales coming through our website when we first entered the US market, we had to adapt our digital marketing as Americans tend to use different key word search terms for products than Brits do. They also expect a higher level of customer service, so we really focused on this both in the US and the UK. My advice to UK companies considering expanding internationally is to take it steady and make sure it’s going to contribute to your profits. You will learn a lot when you enter a new market, and you can then apply that knowledge to the next country you move into.” 

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK added: “It’s clear from the research that international trade can play a crucial role in helping North East businesses to emerge from the pandemic and get back to growth and with the right support and partners, these internationally trading businesses can thrive.

“Later this year, we will be launching a new online platform where we will share our years of experience and knowledge in one place to help North East businesses with tailored support to find their way when expanding overseas. We’re here to help these businesses with support that goes beyond banking as they navigate the challenges.”

Santander’s international team has dedicated market specialists that have access to extensive local networks and knowledge around the world, and a long track record of helping businesses implement their international growth strategies. This support ranges from working with them to identify new markets, helping them with shipping and logistics options and organising virtual trade missions to introducing businesses to trusted local partners, potential new customers and vital networks in key destinations. For more information on the international support available, visit:

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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

For more information about the international support Santander UK provides British businesses please visit:

For Santander UK’s top tips for UK businesses looking to expand internationally, please visit:

For more information about Wave Direct please visit:

Notes to Editors
1) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 100 people whose closest city is Newcastle on 14-21 January 2022.
2) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 UK adults, nationally representative, on 14-20 January 2022.
3) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 1,000 UK business owners and decision makers on 14-25 January 2022.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2021, the bank had around 19,200 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of 2021, Banco Santander had €1.15 trillion in total funds, 153 million customers, of which 25.4 million are loyal and 47.4 million are digital, 9,900 branches and 197,000 employees.