As Christmas-time approaches there’s nothing quite as indulgent or luxurious as gourmet fudge, with demand for the confectionery product soaring across the UK and even further afield during the festive period.
Fudge Kitchen, a leading UK producer of handmade premium fudge, sees a 195% uplift in average monthly sales in the lead up to Christmas each year. As a result, the company’s Canterbury-based production team doubles in size during the festive season to manage the surge in orders.
The growing taste for British fudge is not just limited to the domestic market, as last year the UK exported £24.2 million worth of toffee, caramel and similar sweets – a 20% increase from 2017 and an increase of over 62.4% over the past five years.
With 27 employees and an annual turnover of £1.2 million, Fudge Kitchen is tapping into this global demand having recently secured a new deal with Canadian speciality food buyer Dovetale. This will see the company’s luxury confectionery sold in over 30 stores across Canada, increasing its turnover by 2.5%.
Fudge Kitchen met its Canadian buyer at ISM Cologne 2019 – the world’s largest trade fair for confectionery and snacks. The Department for International Trade (DIT) supported the company with Trade Access Programme (TAP) funding and market advice.
Fudge Kitchen managing director Sîan Holt said: “International sales have positively contributed to our annual turnover which has been steadily growing over the last few years, with exporting currently representing around 16% of revenue.
“Since we started selling overseas, we have made great friends all over the world. For example, our main German customer is now a fully converted Fudge Lover and wears his ‘Fudge Dealer’ belt buckle & Fudge Kitchen chef’s jacket with pride!
“I would encourage other businesses to consider exploring overseas markets. There is nothing to lose provided you seek advice before taking a major plunge.”
As Christmas-time in the UK accounts for approximately 60% of Fudge Kitchen’s overall sales, exporting ensures that the company sustains growth all year round. As well as Canada, Fudge Kitchen has also secured six-figure deals in Germany and the UAE, worth nearly half a million pounds over the next 5 years.
The fudge producer has developed new recipes to cater for various tastes across the world. For example, the company has launched its Salty Liquorice and Chocolate Rose fudge for the Scandinavian Market, while Dark Chocolate & Pistachio, and Date & Cardamom fudge are popular in the Middle East.
In the UK, the company’s fudge can be found everywhere from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges through to high end hotels and hospitality outlets.
Ben Raby, head of region – South East at DIT said: “Christmas is a really busy time of year for businesses across the UK and it is great to see Fudge Kitchen tap into the global demand for British food and drink to sustain its growth year-round.
“We are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the company as it seeks to expand its sales to the Middle East and North America in the New Year with DIT’s support.
“Other businesses that are considering exporting should get in touch with DIT. We have a network of expert International Trade Advisers on hand in the South East to help more businesses respond to global demand and navigate the entire exporting process.”