Hames Chocolates reports strong upturn enabling key manufacturing equipment investment

A continued period of growth for UK-based Hames Chocolates has seen the business confirm that it is set to invest an additional £250,000 in new equipment during 2023, reports Neill Barston.

According to the business, the move will help it reach its vision of becoming the first choice private label partner for Great British chocolate in the UK, despite a number of background supply chain challenges.

The company’s private label series includes branded chocolate boxes, chocolate bars, advent calendars, Easter eggs, as well as hot chocolate flakes, spoons and bombes.

Significantly, sales of its Lincolnshire-made chocolates increase annually by 68 per cent in 2021, followed by subsequent further growth of 12 per cent in 2022. This is attributed to a combination of major trends including the post-Brexit focus on British-made food and the continued popularity of affordable luxuries like chocolate. Hames’ growth can also be credited to the rise in demand for private label in the cost-of-living crisis, as inflation drives consumers to seek out alternative products, with 41 per cent of shoppers buying more private labels than before the pandemic and a further 77% planning to keep buying them in the future .

The company has already invested in an additional enrobing line and cooling tunnel that will add capacity for more chocolate coated products and vegan chocolate ranges. The new line is set to grow chocolate coated manufacturing by 40% per cent. Hames has also purchased an additional One-Shot Depositor for the factory, which will help the company expand its capabilities to create cake decorations, truffles, chocolate advent calendars and Easter eggs, and increase output of these core lines.

Carol Oldbury, Hames Chocolates’ Managing Director, says: “With shoppers increasingly turning to private label brands as a result of the rising cost of living, confidence in the balance of price and quality they provide is at an all-time high. There has never been a better time for us to invest in new equipment to expand our production capacity. Our customers are hungry to address the growing consumer trends including plant-based chocolate, so we are setting our sights on increasing our chocolate production and packing capacity in this area. This latest investment will further increase our overall efficiencies, and open up new revenue streams both for ourselves, and our customers.”

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