UK firm Crediton Confectionery intends to move to non-meat gelatin for its confections to differentiate itself from bigger players after overseeing a significant rise in production volumes since the firm was acquired by new owners in 2011.
The new proprietors recently moved from pork to beef gelatin, so their product was more accessible to ethnic minorities. Now they want to go further and get rid of meat altogether.
High demand for meat-free candy
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Crediton managing director David Ives said his firm was exploring alternatives such as vegetable extracts, but admitted that he expected to pay more. “But we think there’s demand at the moment.”
“Meat free gelatin is perceived to be a healthier option by certain sections of the public, certainly vegetarians and those people with restrictions on their diet because of their particular faith.”
“Developing products that satisfy these requirements takes time for research and development. A niche manufacturer like us is prepared to spend that time as the resulting product will take us into markets not currently addressed by the major players.”
Ives and his management team acquired Crediton in December 2011. The company has grown production volumes 30% in the past year and has introduced new bon bons ranges under the Bristows brand.
The Devon-based firm claims it has begun to turnaround the business after it experienced multiple spells in administration over the past decade.
“The business was always a good business. It was just really badly managed for the previous three years,” said Ives.
“We really concentrated on getting the product right and never letting people down on delivery. The business had an immensity bad reputation for delivery.”
Ives and his team resurrected Crediton’s toffee and fudge operation under the Tuckers brand that was closed when the business entered administration under the previous owners in August 2011.
The team also refined Crediton’s bon bons formula, swapping artificial flavors for natural ones from supplier Irish Country Gold.
“We decided that moving towards natural ingredients is where the market wants to be,” said Ives. “A lot of these products [chewy bon bons] are going into the youth market and people would rather natural flavors than manufactured ones.”
He added that natural flavors were just as cost effective as artificial flavors.
Dual flavors and bon bons market
The new owners have also introduced three new varieties of bon bons in dual flavors, including rhubarb and custard and blue raspberry sour.
“I don’t think there’s anyone else in the UK doing dual flavor chewy bon bons,” said Ives, adding that in the company was not up against a great deal of competition in the overall UK bon bons markets.
Crediton’s main competition comes from French firm Verquin, which sells in the UK through wholesaler Hancocks.