Rural Foodies is the home of award winning artisan chocolate brand Coco Pzazz. Based in Powys they develop and produce chocolate and fudge at their very own chocolate factory at Caersws Village Workshops.
Employing six members of staff they are always on the lookout for new exciting flavours and partnerships. Their products use local produce from across Wales, such as Welsh sea salt and coffee from Snowdonia. They also have a strong ethical and environmental background, for example working with local artists to provide packaging designs, and pride themselves on giving something back to their local community and charities.
Building on this, in late 2019 they underwent a rebrand resulting in them strengthening their eco-credentials further by using bio-film instead of plastic and only sustainable cardboard from certified sources for their chocolates.
Coco Pzazz products sit comfortably in the artisan food marketplace and are popular in a range of retail environments, for example farm shops, delis, garden centres and gift shops, as well as with hamper companies and the hospitality industry. Coco Pzazz products are also found in speciality chocolate shops and a growing number of hotels and cafes.
SUPPORT RECEIVED FROM FOOD TECHNOLOGY CENTRE
Under Project HELIX the company contacted the Food Technology Centre for support in their annual SALSA Gap Analysis.
Susan Allison Lane, Food Technologist,
We have worked closely with Rural Foodies over many years and the team now have all the necessary quality management systems in place to meet the high SALSA standards and with the excellent staff at Rural Foodies they have an exciting year ahead of them. The knowledge transfer as part of Project HELIX allows them to become more self-sufficient and hopefully more opportunities with the SALSA accreditation in place.
BENEFIT OF THE SUPPORT
Founder and Director of Coco Pzazz Lori Whinn,
Since we became accidental chocolate makers in 2013, our range of chocolate buttons and bars has constantly evolved as we’ve welcomed new flavours and packaging. As we are a small food producer we cannot be a specialist in every field, so having the Food Technology Centre on hand to make sense of everything has been invaluable.
Over the years we have expanded and needed the SALSA accreditations for our larger customers, therefore the Food Technology Centre was our first point of call. Initially we were alarmed about the prospect of the audit but they have expertly guided us along the way.
The process has been great, their food technologist comes to do a pre-audit and then trouble shoots our systems to identify any weaknesses. And now we have completed four annual audits and sail through them every year.
Throughout our journey they have always been our sounding board, they are always there for any questions we have on product development, product labelling and research. They bring a wealth of experience to the table which is priceless for a small food business like ours.
Now we have glowing SALSA audits which would not have been possible without their support. Looking forward, we always know they are there for any future development we want to do like new packaging or products, or moving to larger premises.