The firm, which made a name for itself by developing chocolates and truffles using unusual flavours such as salt, geranium oil and mandarin, is also experimenting with new flavours from aniseed to traditional English herbs and fruits as it works on new products for 2011, co-founder Simon Pattinson told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Pattinson, one of more than 20 food manufacturing bosses represented at this year’s Food Manufacture business leaders’ round table debate, said the firm was on course to turn over around £6m in the year to May 2011 after posting another year of double-digit sales growth.
Operational efficiencies had also been given a boost over the past two years through the appointment of an experienced operations manager that had “really revolutionised things” in the factory, said Pattinson.
"We have doubled our output capacity by installing another complete new depositor line with a higher capacity tunnel on the new line."
Seasonal fluctuations notwithstanding, the firm operates around 20 weeks of the year on a five-day-a week 12-hour day shift pattern; 15 weeks on a seven-day-a-week 12-hour day pattern and 15 weeks on a seven-day-a-week 24-hour day pattern, he said.
New business with Ocado
While Montezuma’s has listings at Waitrose, it was not basing its growth strategy on securing more listings with the major supermarkets, said Pattinson, a former shipping lawyer who set up the firm with his wife Helen in 2000.
“We have been approached by some of the other supermarkets, but we have a fantastic relationship with Waitrose, and we have also picked up new business with Ocado, so we are not in any rush."
The firm also has five of its own shops, which provided a great opportunity to test market new products before pitching them to other customers, said Pattinson, who moved into the Chichester premises in 2005.