Confectionery expert Andy Baxendale is working together with Colombian chocolate producer Luker to help it develop a deeper understanding of the UK market as it expands the supply of its products into the country.
Andy has been invited to visit the company’s cocoa farms and chocolate factory in Bogota to give him first-hand knowledge of the operation and how the company’s Chocolate Dream community project is benefiting the country.
Luker will also be able to use his extensive knowledge of this country’s confectionery sector to help its growth in the UK market.
Andy’s trip will include a tasting session, factory tour and presentations at the Luker Chocolate Factory in Bogota before visiting Pereira and the Granja Luker Cocoa Farm.
The trip will also take in the El Rosario Cocoa Farm and The Chocolate Dream project in Necocli (www.thechocolatedream.co) including visits to local primary schools and community projects.
Paul Morris, European Sales Manager for Luker Chocolate said: “We wanted to give Andy a deeper understanding of Luker and the ethos of the company but also utilise his invaluable experience as we move into the UK market.”
The 113-year-old family company was built on a dream where chocolate is the source of inspiration and the opportunity to transform communities.
The Chocolate Dream is a 15-point long-term vision made up of goals and principles closely aligned with the UN’s program for Sustainable Development.
In Colombia there are 38 thousand cocoa-producing families that were, in the past, victims of the country’s armed conflict and are subject to poverty.
Luker focuses its efforts on contributing to change in these regions in order to improve the quality of life of the farmers and their communities.
Andy – known throughout the industry as The Sweet Consultant – said: “Luker and the story of how it has helped drive change in Colombia and create sustainability is a fantastic example to other businesses and I am excited to find out more and to help the business with its future plans.”
Andy Baxendale, from Wigan, has 25 years’ experience in the confectionery business with a Master of Science (MSc) in Advanced Food Manufacture.
The former product development manager for Chewits in the UK is a respected national consultant in every aspect of confectionery production, with extensive knowledge of regulation and legislation in the industry, advising companies on everything from recipes to staff training and enhanced production techniques.
He was one of the stars of the hit BBC 2 confectionery show The Sweet Makers.
He is currently working to set up a National Academy of sweets to teach a new generation the art of confectionery production and development.