Big Interview: Matthew Stephenson

International Confectionery Editor, Roshini Bains, converses with Matthew Stephenson the managing director of Sweetdreams Confectionery.

  1. What do you believe will be the next big industry trend in confectionery? 

I think we are right in the middle of the next consumer trend. Consumers purchasing is increasingly savvy, conscious of what they’re buying, provenance and supply chains. 

Because of the social, environmental, and political changes recently; including Covid-19 and Brexit, the emphasis on being ‘Made in the UK’ could be a deciding factor for some consumers. 

There’s also a trend towards the more unusual confectionery, plant-based chocolate and also reduced sugar content.  

2.Could you outline more about the company’s history and its place in the local and international confectionery sector? Does the company follow any ethos? 

 Sweetdreams is a family-owned business with its roots in the Northeast of England. We’ve focused on continued programme of growth through diversification and innovative product development to disrupt and challenge the chocolate industry. 

Founded on the quirky and unique brand Choc Nibbles an unusual, unpolished confectionery product, yet produced with the finest ingredients. It’s fun, quirky, innovative, friendly and high quality; these values transcend the company’s culture and are applied to all aspects of our business and through our continued expansion. 

Choc Nibbles started very much as a regional product; first branded as ‘Northumberland fudge’. Over the years it has grown nationally and is now available in retailers across the UK.  

In conjunction with developing existing products, distribution channels and exploring new market opportunities. We’ve exported to Europe, Scandinavia, and Egypt. More recent changes in the international export landscape has made it more difficult and expensive to make an impact on international scale for SMEs. Whilst our roots are placed locally and nationally, Sweetdreams are looking to strengthen growth in export markets. 

In 2017, diversification of Sweetdreams portfolio continued with the introduction of a chocolate panning and coating operation. We now lead the market with unrivalled NPD in panning, working closely with customers and niche brand owners to manufacture small, white label, innovative trial batches of flavour profiles until it meets their exacting specification.  Sweetdreams strength in niche manufacture means rapid NPD turnaround, often within a day, to finished product, commercial scale up cost and nutritional specification, facilitating swift speed to market for customers. 

Just last month saw the delivery and installation of a new chocolate bar depositing line to build further on our diversification strategy. 

3. Sweetdreams follows the slogan of ‘distinctly different confectionery’ what makes Sweetdreams so different? 

Sweetdreams focuses on developing great relationships with our customers and get really excited about new chocolate ideas. It’s our NPD and innovation that drives us and our customers forward. Working with clients to create bespoke solutions to their confectionery ideas through new and innovative product development. 

Colombian based Luker chocolate, also a family run business, supply our chocolate. They are amazing for two reasons. Luker chocolate is one of the best you can get. Their chocolate is classified ICCO Cocoa Fino de Aroma, of which less than 8% of the world’s cocoa can boast.  

Luker espouse, and importantly can validate, sustainable values within the chocolate industry. Luker are very specific about their partner credentials, so we are very honoured to be part of the Luker portfolio of clients. 

Sweetdreams are also one of the few manufacturers who can offer plant based and ‘truly vegan’, oatmilk chocolate and dairy free products, free from the key fourteen allergens.  

We’re a UK-based, sustainable, and multifunctional manufacturer that values innovation and work with our customers to provide them with bespoke and exciting new products.

Read more of this article here: February 2022 Single Issue form – International Confectionery Magazine (

Media contact

Roshini Bains,
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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