Sweet taste of success for Stoke-on-Trent chocolate manufacturer | Manufacturing Growth Programme

A family-run company from Stoke-on-Trent, which has doubled its turnover in the last two years, has ambitious plans to hit the £5m turnover mark with a new range of chocolate bars inspired by the founders’ son.

Based in the former Royal Dalton works in Fenton, Daniel’s Delights produces 140 metric tonnes of chocolate per year and, thanks to advice from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) and local consultant Rachel Kelsall, has seen sales rocket to £1.4m after clinching a host of deals to make chocolates and truffles for supermarkets.

The company, which was started by Ken and Jen Harrison at their kitchen table ten years ago, now employs 22 staff – eight of whom are members of the same extended family.

It is now on the verge of appointing a new commercial director to secure additional large contracts with supermarkets and high street stores, leaving the management team to focus on manufacturing at its four-storey 12,000 sq ft premises.

This will involve increases in production of the chocolates it makes for other companies, but also the development of its own line of new chocolate bars named after their son Daniel.

“Our growth has been phenomenal and the secret of our success has been creating our own ranges of bars and truffles made from Belgian and Colombian chocolate. We currently sell these at our factory shop in Montrose House and online,” said Ken and Jen.

“Rachel Kelsall’s support through the Manufacturing Growth Programme has been pivotal to the growth of our business and she has enabled us to step back and be much more strategic in our outlook. That has helped us identify a pathway for strong growth and the systems, infrastructure and processes we need to deliver on each stage of our plan.

“The biggest development is the impending appointment of a person who brings more than 20 years’ experience developing food and drink brands for the likes of Covent Garden Soup, Unilever and PepsiCo. We’re really excited because work is well underway on new brands, such as Danny’s chocolate bars range, with flavours including Custard Pie, Jammie Dodgers and Mini Egg and soldiers.”

MGP Manufacturing Growth Manager Max King said Daniel’s Delights is a classic example of a business that excels at manufacturing, but has successfully tapped into MGP support across wider business specialisms.

“It’s a fantastic success story in its own right, starting from a kitchen table and now making chocolate in a building that made its name making world-famous pottery,” explained Max.

“Ken and Jen are exceptional chocolatiers and the support they have received and the changes they are making will put them well on their way to owning a £5m turnover business within four years.”

More details on Daniel’s Delights can be found at www.daniels-delights.co.uk/ or by following them on twitter @danielsdelights.