Expanding Ocho can provide tours, but not Jaffas

The Roberts St building where Otago Chocolate Company (Ocho) intends expanding its ‘‘ethical’’...
The Roberts St building where Otago Chocolate Company (Ocho) intends expanding its ‘‘ethical’’ craft chocolate-making business from the existing site in Vogel St. Photo: Linda Robertson
Otago Chocolate Company (Ocho) now has resource consent for its new factory premises in the Dunedin waterfront area.

Ocho’s "ethical" craft chocolate manufacturing operation is still based in the company’s existing Vogel St premises in the city’s new warehouse precinct.

But earlier this year, Ocho bought a larger building, previously occupied by Woodstock Furniture Makers, in Roberts St.

Speaking from Brisbane yesterday, general manager Liz Rowe said they had just received resource consent for the new premises.

"The next step will be applying for building consent and, once we have that, work can get started on making the necessary alterations."

Production of Ocho’s chocolate in the new factory would be "up and running" sometime in September or October, Ms Rowe said.

And once production had started in Roberts St, the company intended offering tours of the operation.

"They won’t be as extensive as the tours Cadbury used to run. But they will be in-depth, showing people where our cocoa beans come from and telling them about our suppliers."

Asked if Ocho might consider making a product that could replace Cadbury Jaffas in an event like the Baldwin St Jaffa Race, Ms Rowe said Ocho did not have the type of machinery needed to produce something like Jaffas.

"We don’t do confectionery items," she said.

But, the much larger size of the new premises meant a 10-fold increase in their chocolate production with the equipment they already had, and "with room for more".

"And we’re still going to be a craft chocolate operation."

Ms Rowe has spent the past couple of weeks in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, catching up with Ocho’s suppliers and meeting the farmers who grow the cocoa beans.

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