Recipe for sweet success for chocolate maker

Choc Affair Ltd, a York-based chocolate manufacturer, has achieved a significant boost in capacity to produce its handmade treats.

It has acquired a labelling machine funded by a £20,000 grant from the Made Smarter initiative via the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Prior to the investment, Choc Affair could only label 600,000 bars per year, limiting its growth potential.

Recognising the need for increased efficiency, managing director Julian Barrie turned to Mike Pennington following the first York Manufacturing roundtable event with key leading figures in March 2023.

Pennington is business relationship manager at the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, which delivers the Made Smarter scheme locally.

Barrie completed a Made Smarter digital roadmap with Neil Harriman, digital manufacturing advisor for Made Smarter, and this helped to map out Choc Affair’s journey to a digitally optimised future. 

Following completion of the roadmap, Choc Affair secured funding through Made Smarter to acquire the compact, high-tech labelling machine.

This has propelled the company’s capacity to 1.5 million bars daily, an improvement, achieved without additional staff.

It translates to faster turnaround times, reduced costs, and enhanced competitiveness. And it means the business should be able to scale production within its existing home at Hazel Court.

Barrie said: “The support and financial assistance have been invaluable. We’re excited to scale up our business and secure our future thanks to this investment.”

Pennington added: “It’s inspiring to see Choc Affair 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.”

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