It has installed a new continuous production line with a 90-meter (295-feet) spiral cooling tunnel at its plant in West Sussex, UK.
Montezuma’s was established by former lawyers in 2000, Helen and Simon Pattinson, with the goal of bringing chocolate innovation to a “boring and staid British chocolate market,” according to the company’s website. When the business started, the cofounders only had a kitchen-sink-sized machine.
The company now manufactures a range of dark and organic chocolate bars, as well as vegan and organic truffles.
The new equipment, which Montezuma’s will use to produce its bars and truffles, was installed in the company’s Birdham factory in October 2016, according to Montezuma’s. It is expected to increase its production from around 350 to 800 metric tons per year.
Expected to produce 800 tons of chocolate and truffles
“We needed to increase our capacity to service existing and newly-acquired customers both in the UK and overseas,” the Pattinsons told ConfectioneryNews. “For instance, one customer’s order has quadrupled over the last year, so we needed to make sure that we’re always in a position to respond to this kind of demand.”
“We also recognized that occasionally peak demand exceeded our current maximum output, which needed addressing, but we also want to ensure our staff has a consistent work pattern.”
Packaging outweighs cocoa quality in luxury chocolate?
The cofounders said the UK luxury chocolate market is becoming increasingly competitive, and more saturated.
“Packaging [is] very much leading the way in capturing consumers’ attention, rather than the quality of the cocoa used to produce the chocolate,” they said.
“There are so many different sectors and categories of chocolate, market share is difficult to measure with any level of accuracy that would withstand any statistical scrutiny,” they added. “We therefore don’t monitor it. It’s more important to us to concentrate on what we do best.”
Remaining 40% growth
Montezuma’s said it is continuing to grow at a “very strong rate,” and is currently looking at year-on-year growth in trade sales at around 40%.
“We have always taken the view that we will grow the business organically and have self-funded the growth in a manageable and sustainable manner,” the Pattinsons said. “Next year, we will aim to achieve similar growth rates that we recorded in 2016.”