David Greenwood-Haigh, founder of Coeur de Xocolat, received support from the DIT to help grow revenue as a result of exporting from 40% to 80% by 2020.
He has worked with Government advisers to improve Coeur de Xocolat’s website search engine optimisation (SEO), which has driven international business leads as a result.
Coeur de Xocolat distributes a ‘chocolate factory in a box’, a shipping container that holds all the equipment needed to launch a production facility.
The business is seeing interest in the Caribbean. He recently visited Haiti to meet potential buyers and to consult on cocoa farms and also set up a chocolate factory in São Tomé and Principe off the West African coast known as the ‘chocolate island’ for its cocoa farming.
The firm has also been increasing its international corporate event activity, with Greenwood delivering team building exercises on the art of chocolate making to Evian in France and the Al Ghurair Group in Dubai.
To support growing international trade, he is hiring another permanent member of staff locally to support UK activities.
Greenwood said: “It’s an exciting time for the chocolate industry worldwide. Consumers are becoming more interested in premium chocolate and are increasingly conscious of where their chocolate comes from.
“We’re now seeing a similar trend to the explosion of barista made coffee, or how craft beer has taken off in the UK and abroad. It’s being coined as the dawn of craft chocolate! It’s creating a lot of opportunities overseas for me in my consultation work, and for corporate events too.
Inexpensive way to grow
“Previously, international clients were difficult to come by, but working with DIT to make my website more internationally accessible and utilising better SEO has resulted in a lot of inbound business enquiries from across the globe. It’s an inexpensive way for firms to grow their exporting success.
“One key thing I’ve learned from taking a bigger leap into exporting is to always do thorough due diligence on new customers. By investigating whether new clients are serious, and definitely exist, can save a lot of hassle, money and reduce risk too. DIT advisers are on hand to help with this, so if we can do it other can too.
Mark Robson, head of regions for Yorkshire and The Humber, added: “David’s work proves how revered British food artisans are worldwide. Wakefield isn’t typically seen as the home of master chocolatiers, but with charisma and expertise, Coeur de Xocolat is fast becoming a world-renowned chocolate consultancy.
“We’re calling all artisans, whether your craft’s coffee, wine, beer or cheese to get in touch with one of DIT’s 29 advisers in Yorkshire and the Humber and show the world what food and drink expertise the region has to offer.”