Fife Fair Trade chocolate producers thriving thanks to City Region Deal investment

Luxurious organic and Fair Trade chocolate producers Chocolate and Love are thriving thanks to moving their processing and distribution centre to new business units at Queensway Technology and Business Park, Glenrothes, which were completed as part of Fife Council's Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Industrial Innovation Investment programme.

Chocolate and Love's processing and distribution centre is part of a new hub for innovative and future focused businesses. The City Region Deal funded development has proven so popular that all nine units are already let to a diverse range of businesses that are now thriving in their new premises.

Fife's Industrial Innovation Investment programme forms part of the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, a partnership of the Scottish and UK Governments, the region's local authorities and universities that is transforming the regional economy.

The move offers Scottish/Danish couple Richard O’Connor and Birgitte Hovmand O'Connor, who created Fife-based Chocolate and Love ten years ago, the opportunity to diversify and grow their business, and further strengthen their ethical brand.

Birgitte O'Connor, Co-founder of family-owned business, Chocolate and Love, said: “Operating with our own team that is based around Fife ensures we can have visibility and effective stock management of our goods. We pride ourselves in our customer service and satisfaction and can now deliver this through our own distribution centre. It also keeps transport costs down and is more eco-friendly, avoiding carbon footprint for UK orders.

“Our business is continually innovating and developing. We have recently launched naked bars and couverture chocolate (chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter for baking) for packaging-free stores and the food service industry.

“The new units are enabling expansion locally, to meet the needs of the growing category of conscious consumers. Planet-friendly vegan chocolate is becoming increasingly popular and Chocolate and Love is meeting consumer demands through innovative product development. So far, we have won 53 Great Taste Awards - a great testament to the high quality cacao, sourced directly from Fairtrade certified cooperatives."

Richard O'Connor continued: “We will keep developing more vegan chocolate bars for our eco- and health-conscious customers, with more cocoa and less sugar. We are constantly looking into eco-friendly packaging to stay at the forefront and will also be optimising new ways within our own fulfilment centre to be even more environmentally friendly.

“Since moving into the new units in Glenrothes our business is going from strength-to-strength. By operating our own fulfillment centre, we are pleased to be introducing personalised gifting and will be doing more corporate gifting including Christmas gifts for employees and customers.”

Cllr. David Ross, Fife Council Leader, said: “Our focus in Fife is on fairer economic growth, where everyone benefits from good employment opportunities and regional investments. This is just one of the City Region Deal investment programmes encouraging more businesses to locate and grow within Fife, and secure a further £30m of investment by the private sector.

“The new units are a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and those in Glenrothes are already filled up with a range of businesses, helping them reach their aspirations and vision. They provide a superb base for new and fledgling businesses – as well as for those looking to expand into new premises."

As part of Fife's Industrial Innovation Investment programme, seven single storey business units on land at Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Dunnikier Business Park, Kirkcaldy were recently completed. The cutting-edge buildings include solar panels and are located to key transport links including public transport.  A few units are still available for local small enterprises Dunnikier Business Park (investfife.co.uk)

The latest development due for completion in late summer is at West Way, Hillend, featuring 8 units. Visit Westway, Dalgety Bay (investfife.co.uk)

To find out more visit  https://www.investfife.co.uk Leasing enquiries can be made to fifemeansbusiness@fife.gov.uk

Fife’s ten-year £50m Industrial Innovation Investment programme (i3) is being delivered as part of the City Region Deal’s innovation theme, and is providing much-needed serviced employment land and new industrial, office and business space.  The programme is creating 1,000 new skilled permanent jobs and almost 600 short-term construction jobs over the 15-year lifetime of the City Region Deal. Joint working between the region’s universities, Fife businesses and Fife Council means more high value, better paid, skilled jobs locally.