Áine Handmade Chocolate


Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background

Sector
Confectionary / Snacks

Product Range
Impulse Range (50g, 100g bars, 18 flavours), Gift Boxes, Truffles, Sugar Free Range

Specialists In
The creation of smooth and creamy handmade chocolate.

The company was founded in 1999 by Ann Rudden, a passionate master chocolatier with 23 years’ experience in the chocolate industry.

Her vision was to create chocolate as it should be: mouth-watering magic that is made with only the purest, freshest, all-natural ingredients sourced locally where possible.

Today, Áine’s Chocolate employs a team who shares that passion for producing heavenly handmade chocolate, leading to 25 Great Taste awards.

All products are gluten-free, with sugar-free products also available.

Unique Selling Points

Not only does this award-winning chocolate have a unique taste, it is crafted with natural ingredients (GMO-free, gluten-free), and is widely considered to be the chocolate lover’s choice.

Awards & Accreditations

  • Finalist in National County Enterprise Award
  • Great Taste Awards – 25 in total
  • HACCP
  • BRC

Case Study

Sustainability headlines

  • Stretch target to directly source from cocoa bean farms and process at the company plant.
  • A 10% reduction in energy consumption over the lifetime of their Origin Green plan.
  • Creation of a biodiversity zone on site.

Background

Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates was founded by chocolatier Ann Rudden and has been making handmade Irish chocolate since 1999.

Who we are

Located in Stradone Village in Co. Cavan, Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates employs a team of 10 people who share the passion of its founder for producing the highest-quality chocolate. All products are free from artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives, additives and GM ingredients. They are also free from gluten and hydrogenated fats.

Year-on-year investment in new machinery, staff training and a passion to source quality ingredients has created an innovative approach to new product development (NPD), delivered with the highest standards.

Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates has listings with Ireland’s largest retailers, and through its distribution network, the company also supplies the UK, Russia, Dubai, China and Spain. The launch of an online shop in 2007 further strengthened the company’s international profile.

Our sustainability credentials

Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates is fully compliant with all environmental legislation and is not required to operate under an IPPC or waste permit. The company’s main energy inputs are electricity and heating oil, and to ensure optimum usage of both, a monitoring regime focuses on improving both efficiency and staff awareness surrounding their usage on site. The company sources its water from a local group water scheme, which is strictly monitored by Cavan County Council to ensure a clean and secure supply.

Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates is proactive in the reuse, segregation and recycling of waste. General waste such as cardboard, plastic, tins, cans and paper is reused where possible. Furthermore, broken chocolate in the production area is supplied to retailers for use in the production of hot chocolate, thus eliminating food waste and reducing packaging.

Origin Green in action

The company’s participation in Origin Green revolves around a number of key objectives:

  • Reducing energy usage by 10% through sustainable energy management;
  • Reducing waste generation and recycling materials as extensively as possible;
  • Using, where possible, local resources to reduce carbon footprint;
  • Ensuring suppliers employ sound agricultural practice, as well as promoting sustainability in the cocoa bean and chocolate industry (see stretch target below); and finally,
  • Protecting and enhancing biodiversity at the company’s premises.

Meeting these objectives will occur within the context of growth for Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates, as the company aims to increase production by 10% by 2017, whilst reducing costs per unit of output produced.

Pivotal to the company’s participation in Origin Green will be a stretch target investigating the potential of being supplied directly by cocoa bean farms and processing the cocoa beans at the company plant. This is a major undertaking that will require extensive research and investigation at both supply and processing level, as well as trials to ensure that the resulting product meets the high standard of taste and quality required by the company. The involvement of Enterprise Ireland will be central to the investigation and successful integration of this process on site.

Social responsibility

Áine’s Hand Made Chocolates believes strongly in local employment and understands the importance of providing opportunities and work experience for younger generations, regularly offering young people and students the opportunity to work with the team, learn the business and gain valuable work experience. The company is transforming 120m2 of unused land on-site into an area of relaxation and enjoyment for all staff, as well as providing habitats and ecosystems for native plants and animals.

Ann Rudden provides a one-day mentoring class on entrepreneurship, as well as a handmade chocolate-making course and will increase the number of classes per year, with proceeds going to charity, as part of the company’s deeper involvement with the local community. The company is regularly involved in fundraising activities and donates chocolate products to local schools and churches, as well as providing chocolate for charity events throughout the year.

In the coming years, it will increase charity donations by 5% year-on-year based on 2012 levels.

What we’re doing better

In order to identify and assess areas that use the most energy on site, the company is developing an energy map to track usage; with target areas including lighting, heating, air-cooling and refrigeration systems. The making of chocolate is highly energy intensive, requiring both rapid heating and cooling in production. In order to effectively manage consumption, a climate management system is being invested in by the company, with staff being trained to effectively operate and manage the system. It is expected that better management and awareness alone will reduce energy consumption by 5% by 2017.

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