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Grimsby firm contributes to huge boost in chocolate exports

CHOCOLATE worth £245 million was exported last year, up by nearly 25 per cent on 2015.

Grimsby firm contributes to huge boost in chocolate exports

And one of those contributing to the cause was Grimsby grocery export business Ramsden International.

Second to Christmas, Easter is the busiest period for the award-winning team, led by Sean Ramsden.

And the businessman told how an "element of snob value" is helping British chocolate egg exports in some markets.

More: 9 unusual Easter eggs taste tested from Marmite to Pot Noodle!

"Easter eggs are a popular UK product and they're very exportable. The Easter eggs are not as advanced in other countries," he said, as part of a wider feature on the trade quirk by the BBC.

When the company first started exporting in 1970, as part of the long-standing Ramsden retail business, it was largely driven by expats. Marmite, brown sauce and baked beans were the items most in demand in the company's markets in Spain, Portugal, France, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.

Now it delivers to 130 countries from the Adam Smith Street base, calling on family spin off Nisa's Scunthorpe distribution, and turnover last year was £50 million. Mr Ramsden said the company's growth reflects demand from a growing global middle class.

"The food becomes premium by virtue of being imported. There is an element of snob value in certain markets."

More: Easter 2017 events guide for Grimsby: The best things to do with the family this weekend

The journalist spoke with Hong Kong-based Sharan Gill, who said he always buys imported eggs for daughters Eysha and Elyna

Particularly in Asia, he said, customers are keen to have "something a little bit different or a bit more exclusive" such as a foreign brand.

But he says many of its customers also have an international outlook, with second homes in the UK, for example, and a genuine affection for British food.

Exports of unfilled chocolates and chocolate products, which include Easter eggs, totalled just over £30m, up 3 per cent on 2015.

As previously reported, in order to meet overseas regulations, many products require repackaging or relabelling, with three-time Queen's Award winner Mr Ramsden establishing a dedicated centre in Grimsby for that back in 2010.

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