Colombia’s Luker Chocolate discusses Sweetdreams new line at ISM

British-based confectionery business Sweetdreams is working with Colombian-founded Luker Chocolate to make its latest chocolate bar line, which gained a sneak preview at this year’s ISM, reports Neill Barston.

The UK firm had keenly anticipated exhibiting at this year’s event, but the coronavirus travel ban on companies from the region imposed in December meant it was unable to progress its plans for this week’s show in Cologne.

However, speaking exclusively to Confectionery Production at the event, Sweetdreams managing director Matthew Stephenson attended to meet with the company’s new suppliers for its premium ‘Choc Nibbles’ bar series, which is expected to hit shelves shortly this year.

As the MD explained, while attendance levels for ISM have been notably affected due to the ongoing pandemic, which last week hit record levels in Germany, he said that on balance, being there was important to reconnect with existing contacts within the industry.

“I’m very excited about this venture with Luker. It will help give us a point of difference and it’s good to be working with nice products and people. We’re on a journey as a business and it is an honour to be supplied by them,” explained Matthew, who said that while it was a shame the company had been unable to re-organise its plans to exhibit at a late stage after the travel ban, and felt that the industry ‘all needed to get together,’ again after a two-year enforced break. Despite being unable to exhibit, he said that there had in fact been a good level of business attained.

A total of 45 British businesses had made plans to feature at this year’s ISM, but conditions allowed just five firms to participate under the circumstances.

Paul Morris, European sales manager for Luker, spoke about the company’s oat m!lk and white oat m!lk line.

He said: “I think this going to be the start of something really big with the Choc Nibbles Bar, as there’s nothing like it in the market. We can challenge each other as partners – Matt with his insights into the UK market, and Luker with our strong sustainability message and contacts throughout the industry, will make for a perfect partnership, which I think will go from strength to strength.

“For the show here at ISM, obviously visitor numbers have been down, but the quality has been really high. Those who have made the trip out here to Cologne are really committed to business and finding new opportunities – and that means that it is a joy to be here.”

Plant based launch 

As Paul added, a key focus for the Luker stand this year is its latest oat m!lk and white oat m!lk range – which has resonated with the broader major trend for plant-based and vegan confectionery ranges that form a core trend for this year’s ISM.

Luker’s own research on the segment has noted that oat milk category sales in particular have rocketed by a total of 70% during 2020, with consumers becoming ever-more health conscious and seeking alternatives from conventional chocolate ranges.

This has been reflected in the fact that a over half a million people worldwide were expected to have taken part in the 2022 veganuary movement, underlining the sector’s growing influence.

Paul added: “The reception to our oat milk line has been really good here at ISM. Just walking around the show, you can see that plant based and vegan are not going away as trends.

“New conscious consumers are really passionate about finding new opportunities, and we believe that oat milk is the best solution to give people the best tasting, indulgent products that just happen to be plant based. The enquiries that we have had so far have been really positive, and people love the flavour, taste and ethics behind it.’

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