IT may be a small Southland business, but The Seriously Good Chocolate Company’s owner Jane Stanton has big plans as she sets her sights on taking her products to the world.
The company is preparing to export chocolates from its Kiwiana and wine-infused ranges, with a new range being developed, to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Ms Stanton said she was also working towards establishing export markets in Dubai, Sri Lanka and Australia.
“The company’s motto is – to promote Southland and New Zealand to the world through chocolate.
“[The exporting opportunities] are starting to make the dream from day one come true. It is not about the money. It’s about the product, the team and being part of a Southland story.”
The company’s Kiwiana range includes chocolates inspired by paua, oysters, mutton birds, wine and cheese rolls.
“Chocolate has been around a long time, but we have worked from day one to make it New Zealand-inspired… rather than replicating what is being done overseas,” she said.
“We are innovating and growing and improving all the time, and that is the secret to survival really.”
Venture Southland, in conjunction with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, brought in the expertise of Mark Tubman, director of ChocCreator (Chocolate and Confectionery Consulting), of Sydney, to teach Ms Stanton and her team some new chocolate-making techniques and help develop a new range of products for export. Tutors from the Southern Institute of Technology were also involved in the training.
At present, the factory staff of five to 10 could produce 1000 boxes of chocolate a day, but with the expansion to export markets, more machinery and staff would be needed, Ms Stanton said.
“[The export business] will double our turnover easily in the next 12 months.”
With the help of Mr Tubman, the team had trialled about 40 new products which highlighted local produce.
Mr Tubman said he was impressed by the work being done at The Seriously Good Chocolate Company.
“It is pretty sensational.”