Chocolatier hatches new export business

Handmade Easter Eggs from Baxter Murray Creative Chocolate in Belfast are proving to be a tasty gift to staff and clients from some of the UK’s biggest companies. The Belfast gourmet chocolatier, an Invest Northern Ireland client company, is enjoying a 300 per cent growth this year in sales of its custom-made eggs to businesses in Great Britain.

The east Belfast company, a winner of five UK Great Taste Awards for its gourmet chocolates, now sells more than 70 per cent of its chocolates to companies and design houses in Great Britain, mostly in the greater London area.

Michael Murray, Managing Director of Baxter Murray Creative Chocolates, says: “We’ve had more enquiries this year than ever before from companies asking us to design and make Easter eggs from them. What appears to be happening is that companies want to acknowledge the contribution made by employees without appearing to be spending a lot of money at a time when margins are under intense pressure and staff are either facing wage freezes or short-time working. They are being used as small but delicious tokens to show appreciation.

“One client approached us to design and make eggs for 150 employees to coincide with a move to a new office building. We designed, made and packaged eggs for their first day in the new offices.  We make our own moulds which enables us to produce virtually any shape of chocolate. This gives us the flexibility to be able to respond quickly to the requirements of clients.

“In addition, we offer a full colour packaging design and production service, overall, business has been holding up well in today’s very volatile market conditions,” he adds.

Mr Murray, who formed the business in 1995 with wife Karen, pays tribute to the support the company has received from Invest NI.

“Invest NI’s advice and practical support for our business has been hugely important over the years. We’ve been encouraged and assisted to develop the business and to explore and exploit new market opportunities. We are currently working on new product ideas following extensive training at our chocolate supplier in Belgium,” Murray says.

Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, says: “This is an entrepreneurial business with a good track record of success in its target sector. Winning five Great Taste Awards is an impressive achievement which shows the high quality of the chocolates it makes for its clients in Great Britain and the Republic.”

Baxter Murray Creative Chocolates currently employs eight people in the design and manufacture of specialist corporate, personalised and promotional chocolates for clients in advertising, publications, retail and corporate sectors in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.