Belfast Telegraph

Chocolate toy going global

Russia latest country to import Ulster's Magic Choc treat

By Clare Weir

Customers from all over the world are rushing to snap up a unique chocolate product pioneered in Northern Ireland.

Already exporting to 40 countries in Europe and the Far East, Newtownards-based Choc-o-Bloc has now secured its first sales in Russia for its edible children's toy, Magic Choc.

The company has pioneered technology that allows children to shape Belgian chocolate into models and then eat them.

Choc-o-Bloc is now working with a leading international toy wholesaler and distributor, The In Thing, based at Accrington in Lancashire, to grow sales of its products, including the recently launched Moshi Monster toys.

The company employs eight people at its manufacturing plant at Kiltonga and also sells products through Toys R Us stores in key international markets.

Stephen Lennie, managing director and founder of the business, said the products are the result of five years of research, using his previous experience as an engineer and developing a change in the melting point of chocolate.

"Our technology allows the chocolate to be handcrafted into various models without melting in the process," he said. "The products offer children, especially those aged from six to 12 years, a fun and clean way to play with and enjoy quality chocolate.

"Our packaging also shows children fun ways to make a range of models, including Moshi Monsters, and then eat them when they feel like it. We use only the best quality Belgian chocolate, milk, dark and white, in all our products which are produced in our plant in Newtownards.

"The relationship we have established with The In Thing is giving us great access to this company's knowledge and established network within the international toy industry."

Invest NI has provided the company with a range of support and advice on branding and packaging and intellectual property issues.