"Devon is a thriving place with a skilled workforce. Our broadband and phone connections are much faster and better here than in our head office in Reading. There’s been so much investment here that all the latest technology and infrastructure is being put in place.”
Mike Jessop-Co-founder, Moo Free Chocolates
Moo Free Chocolates – the creators of the world’s first dairy free chocolate Easter egg – established a factory in Holsworthy in 2015. Since expanding its operations to Devon, the company has tripled its production capacity to help it branch out into the American and Chinese markets, resulting in them being awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for international trade.
The company, which is part of the Devon Delivers Ambassador programme, already exports over 50% of its products, selling them in over 30 countries around the world, from Europe to Australia. Its Devon factory is now playing an important role as it looks to build on that success – and Moo Free has already expanded its Devon premises in order to continue to meet demand.
Co-founder and Sales and Marketing Director Mike Jessop said: “Our goal is to become the world leader in dairy free chocolate manufacturing and our facility in Devon is enabling us to move towards that goal by the sheer level of production we’re now able to achieve.“We’re running at capacity at our head office in Reading, making half a tonne of chocolate a day. Our new site in Devon is enabling us to make another one and a quarter tonnes a day which we need to supply new markets in America and China.”It was while looking for sites across the South West that Devon stood out as the natural choice for the future of Moo Free Chocolates.
“We wanted to locate our second factory in an area with a workforce that already had experience in the food manufacturing sector,” Mike explained.
“When we found the unit in Holsworthy it was exactly what we were looking for; it was the right size and layout and even though it’s in a rural area it’s easily accessible, which was important as we need good connections. One of the major benefits of being located in Holsworthy, and Devon itself, is that people have that background in food production.”
The Devon Delivers Ambassadors’ programme, which is part of Devon County Council’s inward investment programme, marked its first anniversary in 2016. Moo Free Chocolates is one of more than 40 local businesses to have signed up as an Ambassador, championing Devon as a location that delivers for business and they play a role in encouraging companies to consider relocating to the county.
Mike Jessop added: “There’s a lot of growth and money being injected in this area – it’s a thriving place with a skilled workforce. Our broadband and phone connections are much faster and better here than in our head office in Reading. There’s been so much investment here that all the latest technology and infrastructure is being put in place.”
The ethical, family-run business started in 2010, and has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of dairy free, gluten free, soya free and organic confectionary. As well as receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the company has been recognised with countless honours at industry awards, including the Free From Awards and UK Vegan Awards.
“Family has always been at the heart of what Moo Free is about” added Mike. “Our son’s dairy intolerance inspired us to create a dairy free chocolate – and Devon offers a great location for families to enjoy a good work/life balance.
“The outstanding quality of life was another reason to come to Devon. We absolutely love Holsworthy – it’s a lovely place to live as well as a lovely place to work. It’s a pleasure to work here.
“Britain is traditionally known for quality manufacturing. We want to become the world leader in dairy free chocolate and to get the ‘Made in Britain’ mark back out there.”