Celebrity following helps Norfolk-based Booja Booja chocolate to grow
06:00 09 March 2016
A growing celebrity following has helped a Norfolk chocolate brand extend its reach over social media and achieve 25pc growth.
Booja Booja, based in Brooke, south east of Norwich, manufacturers organic truffles and ice creams which are sold in health food stores, selected supermarkets and high-end shops Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
Launched 16 years ago by Colin Mace, the brand now employs 35 people at its factory and is growing 25pc year on year.
Instagram “shout-outs” from celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Nigella Lawson and Tom Fletcher – from boy-band McFly – have sparked further growth, according to marketing and communications manager Louise Truswell. “If Tom Fletcher takes a cute photo with our product there can be a thousand or more people liking it,” she said.
While a celebrity following extends the reach of Booja Booja, managing director David Abbott, who joined the company four years ago, said it was not about fast growth at any cost.
“It’s about getting people to understand our value and products,” he said.
That is why the firm is selective about which supermarkets stock the product. It is not available in Tesco or Asda, and only recently in Sainsbury’s. And it is not seeking outside investment, choosing instead to grow organically. “We are growing at a rate we can accommodate,” said Mr Abbott. “We don’t want to be dictated to by supermarkets.” But the firm is still ambitious. Mr Abbott said: “The health food market is growing at a dramatic rate. Steadily it’s become more of a lifestyle.”
A £150,000 investment last year extended the firm’s home in Brooke Industrial Estate.
About 25pc of the 100,000 units sold each month are exported through a German-based sister company. Chocolate is imported from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, before it is blended with organic ingredients from 12 countries.
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