York Chocolatier’s Secret Ingredient Leads to Sweet Success

Mike Pennington and Julian Barrie at York chocolatier Choc Affair

Choc Affair Ltd is a beloved York chocolatier known for its ethical and award-winning creations. Now they have achieved a huge leap in capacity to produce their handmade delights. This triumph is thanks to their new secret ingredient – a high-tech labelling machine.

The machine is funded by a £20k grant from Made Smarter via the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub. This sweet success story highlights the power of digital transformation for businesses in the region.

From 600k bars to 1.5 million: A recipe for success

Prior to the investment, Choc Affair could only label 600k bars per year. This limited their growth potential. Recognising the need for more efficiency, Managing Director Julian Barrie attended the first York Manufacturing Roundtable event in March 2023. It was here Julian met Mike Pennington. Mike is Business Relationship Manager at the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, who deliver the Made Smarter scheme locally.

After a referral from Mike, Julian completed a Made Smarter digital roadmap with Neil Harriman, Digital Manufacturing Advisor for Made Smarter. This helped to map out Choc Affair’s journey to a smart and efficient future.

Following the roadmap, Choc Affair secured funding through Made Smarter to acquire a new labelling machine. This upped their capacity to a staggering 1.5 million bars per year. The improvement translates to faster turnaround times, reduced costs, and enhanced competitiveness without the need to hire staff.

Beyond the bars: Futureproofing for sustainable growth

The new technology not only addresses short-term challenges but also sets up Choc Affair for lasting success. The compact machine allows them to scale production within their existing home on Hazel Court. The estimated increase in business turnover is 45%. Quicker response times ensure customers receive their orders on time, building stronger relationships and repeat business.

Made Smarter: the secret ingredient to success

“The process with Made Smarter was really easy,” says Julian Barrie. “The support and financial assistance have been invaluable. We’re excited to scale up our business and secure our future thanks to this investment.”

Mike Pennington echoes the sentiment: “It’s inspiring to see this York chocolatier flourish with Made Smarter support. This is a perfect example of how digital transformation empowers local businesses to compete and thrive in today’s market.”

Choc Affair’s story serves as a delicious example of how Made Smarter is helping businesses in York and North Yorkshire achieve sustainable growth and secure their futures.

Are a manufacturing business that is looking to increase the use of technology and expand your business capabilities? Find out how Made Smarter can help by heading to ynygrowthhub.com/resources/made-smarter/.