Artisan chocolate producer to expand production with investment grant

British artisan chocolate producer Islands Cacao & Chocolate is set to scale-up its production capabilities thanks to a £39,750 grant from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Islands Cacao & Chocolate has developed a specialist method of manufacture that will allow it to preserve and deliver the quality and intensity of flavour synonymous with small scale artisan chocolate production, using larger scale manufacturing equipment.

The investment will allow the Peterborough-based company to purchase the equipment needed to create a new manufacturing line to meet demand for “super-premium” chocolate. The super-premium sector is growing at more than 5% per year, driving demand for high quality products to become more readily available to premium retailers and consumers.

It is also hoped that the grant will help Islands Cacao & Chocolate rival the mid-sized artisan chocolate producers of Western Europe and North America.

In addition, the company will be able to continue to support its direct relationships with cocoa famers in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Philippines and Madagascar.

Martyn O’Dare, Islands Cacao’s operations and commercial director, says, “Back in the UK, the acquisition of this equipment thanks to the grant will help to create between eight to ten new jobs in Peterborough, as well as providing greater control of the manufacturing efficiency, environment temperature, and wastage, contributing to a greener production line overall.”

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative board and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, adds, “Islands Cacao Chocolate already have a well-established reputation for delivering premium quality chocolate to a growing market, whilst ethically supporting cocoa farmers in developing countries.

“We are very pleased to be able to further support their ambitions to scale up and commercialise their manufacturing capability, which will in turn create new jobs in our local area.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities covering the area.

Grants are available to organisations looking to invest in specialist equipment, new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and the application and commercialisation of research and development.

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