Nick Herbert celebrates West Sussex chocolate maker's anniversary
Nick Herbert visited the home of West Sussex Fairtrade chocolate makers Cocoa Loco in West Grinstead on Wednesday (1 April) as they prepared for Easter and their tenth anniversary this week.
The Cocoa Loco team welcomed the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs to their ‘Chocolate Barn’ factory during one of their busiest production times when they make a range of special chocolates for Easter.
Mr Herbert visited Cocoa Loco to congratulate the company on their recent Sussex Food and Drink award for Best Food Producer. Their business and reputation has continued to grow since they opened in 2005. Last year Cocoa Loco opened the UK’s first Fairtrade chocolate shop in Horsham.
Sarah Payne started the business when she was looking for a way to earn money after having children. Sarah sold her homemade chocolate brownies at local farmers' markets and through the internet, and the success of those sales encouraged her to branch out. Sarah’s husband Rory soon joined the team after taking a ‘leap of faith’ and leaving his job in the City.
Ten years after they first started, Cocoa Loco now create a vast range of chocolate products. The chocolate they use is made from cocoa beans from a Fair Trade co-op in the Dominican Republic. The Fairtrade ethic is an important part of the Cocoa Loco philosophy which ensures that the cocoa farmers are paid fairly for their harvests.
Mr Herbert chatted to staff before being invited to make a special one-off Election 2015 chocolate bar to take home for Easter.
Rory Payne said: “We are proud to be a part of vibrant community in Sussex and it is great to know that this is supported by Nick Herbert.”
Nick Herbert said: “It was a real treat visiting the Cocoa Loco production site and meeting the team. It is tremendous to see a local, family-run business becoming such a success in the food world.
“Rory and Sarah are an enterprising couple who have grown their business and provided local employment. They make great chocolate and thoroughly deserve their award.”