House of Dorchester to stop production of Duchy Original chocs

Sales of organic chocolate have fallen in the past year

Premium chocolatier House of Dorchester is ceasing production of the organic chocolate range it makes for Waitrose’s Duchy Originals brand.

The confectioner, which is based on the Duchy of Cornwall estate at Poundbury, Dorset, manufactured Duchy Original chocolate under contract but said poor margins on organic chocolate were forcing it to end production later this month.

“The premium for organic chocolate is huge,” said House of Dorchester MD Mark Swanwick. “It makes it a very expensive product to produce.”

Waitrose said it would continue to carry chocolates under the Duchy Originals brand but refused to comment on alternative sourcing arrangements. “We are constantly looking for ways to develop all our ranges, and Duchy Originals from Waitrose is no exception,” said a spokesman.

The retailer became the sole seller and distributor of Duchy Originals after rescuing the then ailing organic brand in 2009 as part of a investment deal.

According to Kantar Worldpanel data, overall value sales of organic chocolate have fallen 6% in the past year on volumes down 10% [Kantar 52 w/e 9 June 2013].

Swanwick said the company, which hand-makes products under its House of Dorchester brand and for own-label ranges, had no plans to produce organic products but would maintain its Soil Association accreditation. He added that it was committed to sustainability and ethical sourcing.