A growth hungry Lancashire luxury chocolate maker is looking for a £ 2m sales boost with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT.)
Managing director Neil Kelsall set up and runs Chocolat Madagascar from the Rural Business Center in Bilsborrow and from Antananarivo in Madagascar – an island known for producing some of the world’s best cocoa beans.
Unlike the big confectionery makers, Chocolat Madagascar does not have a huge marketing budget, but it has won more than 60 international awards, fueling its success as a sought-after gourmet product.
Chocolat Madagascar products are now sold in the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Canada, America, Japan and the new market of China.
Sales have grown around 30 per cent year-on-year, and in 2022 the aim is develop £ 2m in retail sales from the customer portfolio.
Those export sales help to support around 500 people working on farms in Madagascar and 120 employed in the factory where the chocolate is produced.
Sales, marketing, and innovation are handled in the UK and Madagascar, working with specialist companies dealing with areas including logistics and design.
The DIT has played a key role in working with Neil since he founded Chocolat Madagascar in 2013 and continues to help him promote the product worldwide.
International trade adviser Penny Wang-Orme has worked with Chocolat Madagascar on trade missions and exhibitions; and helped the company access the Internationalization Fund, a co-investment grant scheme initiated and sustained by the DIT and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
Neil said: “The support of the DIT has been hugely important, and a significant element of our success is due to their energy, effort and know-how.
“They have helped us access new export markets by facilitating quality networking in both private and public sectors, exhibitions, trade visits, both real and virtual, and enable market research and various training disciplines from Lancashire.
“Most recently, they have assisted us in accessing China and Middle Eastern markets, all so vital to building a premium brand worldwide that creates a sustainable future for the people of one of Africa’s least developed countries.”
Neil added: “We are proud of what we have achieved so far – through the efforts of our integrated growing and making workforce in Madagascar and the team here in the UK. But a secret ingredient in our success which does not appear on the label is the support of the Department for International Trade. ”
Businesses looking for advice on exporting and how the Department for International Trade can help achieve export, should visit: www.great.gov.uk or contact Lynne Gillen, export manager for Lancashire at [email protected] or by calling 07425 224023 .