The new 1,393.5m2 unit in Cramlington, Northumberland, is 50% larger than the company’s existing factory and will allow Sweetdreams to at least double its output. The factory will initially produce 25t of product a week, with capacity for more.
The company is looking to hire three full-time production operators on permanent contracts starting September 25, with plans for additional admin staff to assist growth.
Sweetdreams said the move was made possible by growth of 32% for the company, achieved in part from extended discount sector penetration, new product development, exports and development of its existing customer base.
Matthew Stephenson, owner and md of Sweetdreams, said the factory would start production early next month.
‘Gap in the market’
“This is a really exciting time for Sweetdreams – we identified a gap in the market for a high-end chocolate coated product and so we have invested £200,000 in panning and coating technology,” said Stephenson.
“This new process will allow us to enhance existing product offerings, develop new products and reach out to brand new markets and customers.”
Sweetdreams has doubled in size over the past two years, said Stephenson, and was investing in new technology and people to continue to grow.
“We are already a leading confectionery brand in the UK and we now have the capacity, standards and infrastructure to grow the success of Sweetdreams exponentially – increasing our national and international impact,” he said.
‘National and international impact’
Three new senior staff members have joined the company as part of the expansion, with Andy Baxendale – star of the recent BBC documentary The Sweet Makers – taking the role of technical director.
Mike Flower has been appointed operations director and Mark Robinson has been appointed non-executive director. The three bring more than 100 years of combined chocolate making experience to the firm.
Stephenson added: “Andy, Mike and Mark are arguably the best chocolate experts in the country and are at the very top of their respective fields.
“Having them join the team really shows the weight that our name has in the British confectionery industry. With their talent, experience and leadership, I know that Sweetdreams is going to continue to disrupt, challenge and change the chocolate industry in the UK and worldwide.”
Meanwhile, Tyrrells has completed a £2M capital investment at its factory at Leominster in Herefordshire, in a move designed to improve the quality of its vegetable crisps and drive growth in the category.