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Start-up candy maker gets sweet Royal visit

By Jenny EAGLE , 05-Sep-2013
Last updated the 10-Sep-2013 at 10:53 GMT

The Princess Royal inspects a sweet jar with The Candy Makers' MD Robert Whittleston
The Princess Royal inspects a sweet jar with The Candy Makers' MD Robert Whittleston

Start-up candy manufacturer, The Candy Makers, which produces a sugar-free range for WeightWatchers in Scandinavia, is due to sign a distribution deal with Canada.

The UK company, which has a team of six staff and uses two confectionery lines by Rose Forgrove to produce 1,000 kilos of sweets a day, had a visit from Princess Anne recently and is set to hit the $1.5m mark and achieve a 800% growth in turnover.

Princess Anne was interested to see how we produce sugar-free confectionery, how we make it and what ingredients we use including maltitol and isomalt,” said Robert Whittleston, MD, The Candy Makers.

UK market is flat

The challenge for us is we are a growing business but the market is flat in the UK because of the economic climate so we are looking to expand into other countries.

Exports account for 10% of sales at the moment including Scandinavia, Australia and South Africa and own label products have been identified as key areas for future growth. We just had a visit from a company in Canada which wants to distribute our sweets over there.”

The three-year-old company, which has around 50 product lines of sugar-free sweets, toffees and chews outgrew its factory in Wales and moved to Leeds this year.

OPP packs

It works with the National Flexible company, a UK distributor of polypropylene, laminates and special films, to make OPP packs (oriented polypropylene) and sweets to order.

It also received accreditation as a Halaal site recently through the British Muslim Food Board, which means it can supply to ethnic food shops and export to Muslim countries.

Whittleston said The Princess Royal was shown how the manufacturer produces sherbert lemons.