Blazing their own path

Carol Oldbury

Carol Oldbury, Managing Director of Hames Chocolates, who won Company of the Year at Confectionery Awards, discusses navigating challenges and why chocolate is still part of our palate


Please introduce yourself and your role at Hames Chocolates? 

I’m Carol Oldbury and I’m the Managing Director of private label chocolate supplier, Hames Chocolates. My main focus is driving and expanding the business in line with our ambitious growth plan, but I also ensure we stay true to our company mission, vision and values in everything we do.  


What is the background and history of Hames Chocolates? 

Hames Chocolates began as a family venture and together we have been making chocolates in Lincolnshire for nearly 20 years. We now supply many well-known businesses and high street brands with bespoke branded and promotional chocolates for all occasions – from Christmas to Easter, Mother’s Day to Valentine’s – as well as for events, gifting and general retail.  


As such, we are possibly one of the biggest British chocolate companies you have never heard of. But if you love chocolate, I am willing to bet that you will have enjoyed something we have made – be that an Easter Egg, a chocolate on your hotel pillow, a chocolate gift, or an after-dinner treat in your favourite restaurant. 


We have customers across the leisure and retail sectors, including multiple grocery retailers, high footfall tourism attractions, leisure centres, holiday parks, as well as specialist chocolate shops, chocolate makers, garden centres and department stores. We offer bespoke personalised confectionery for both own label and promotional sectors, and work with many food service suppliers too. 


I run the business with my husband Andrew, and while my parents who started the business have now retired, they remain involved. We employ around 75 people across our two factories (one in Skegness and one in Blackpool) – and have a combined factory area of around 3000 m2. Our Skegness site produces a diverse range of chocolate products, while our facility in Blackpool produces candy, fudge and toffees.  


This year you were nominated and awarded Company of the Year by the Confectionery Awards. Could you talk about this? 

It’s an honour to be named the Company of the Year in this year’s Confectionery Awards and be recognised by our peers, and the wider industry. It’s a testament to our hardworking and passionate team, as they are the secret to our success.  


How does this award reflect your values as a business? 

The Confectionery Awards champions innovators and thought leaders who are blazing their own path, which is certainly something we aim to do at Hames Chocolates.  

As a forward-thinking and innovative private label chocolate company, we understand the importance of tapping into consumer trends, which is why we continually monitor consumer purchasing behaviour. We apply this knowledge to our new product development, as well as our customers to ensure the products we are making for them have stand out on shelf.   

From truffles, filled chocolates, chocolate bars, chocolate Neapolitans, Easter eggs, private label chocolates, bespoke chocolates, moulded chocolates, hollow chocolate figures and chocolate boxes. We also have our own graphics studio, which helps us offer an even more bespoke service for our customers. 


Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Hannah Larvin
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920


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