Independent chocolatiers are enjoying more than a seasonal Easter flush this weekend, as new figures published today show that exports of chocolate from the UK are now worth 84 per cent more than they were at the start of the decade.
Last year, over £680m of chocolate from the UK was snapped up by foreign consumers, compared to £370m in 2010.
The number of independent chocolatiers in the UK has also grown in recent years, with more artisan and specialised products being launched to meet consumer demand, the Government reports.
Its latest market analysis shows that the manufacture of cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectionery is now worth £1.1bn to the UK economy.
Some 149 countries currently import UK chocolate.
Food and Farming Minister George Eustice said: “There has been a huge growth in the number of independent chocolatiers in the UK and they are very adept at creating delicious products that are shaping consumer tastes around the world.
“There are great opportunities to increase our food and drink exports and increasing market access around the world is a major focus for government.”
One business taking advantage of the increasing global demand for Britain’s high quality, artisan chocolates is Amelia Rope Chocolate, which started as a kitchen business in 2007 creating truffles and chocolate-dipped crystallised flora and now sells products in Hong Kong and Asia.
Founder, Amelia Rope, said: “Exporting is vital for me and my brand. It can be hard work but I am quite resourceful. I’m excited about now expanding into the US and the Middle East.”
Another company enjoying an uplift in sales abroad is The Grown Up Chocolate Company. Founded in 2010 and now with 37 employees, it recorded an annual turnover of just over £2m last year.
James Ecclestone, of the Grown Up Chocolate Company, said exports represent over a quarter of his business.
“Our products are sold as far away as Australia, and we are keen for more people around the world to enjoy our artisanal, indulgent chocolates,” he said.
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Government has a team of trade experts who are encouraging and supporting UK business as they consider launching into overseas markets or expanding their current global customer base.
The Department for International Trade is currently working with business on the development of a new export strategy, which will explore the barriers to exporting and identify the best ways in which government can help drive and support UK companies to increase exporting activity and unlock high potential opportunities overseas.
Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said: “It is great to see British businesses exporting increasing amounts of chocolate around the world as they seek to meet the ever-growing demand for our produce.
“Export support is a key way that the Government can help businesses succeed and grow, which is why I am currently developing a new Export Strategy to break down the barriers companies face when doing business on the international stage.”