Ground-breaking candy-cane machine launches in Blackpool
A collaboration between two successful Blackpool businesses have been developing an automated machine, the only one of its kind, for three years in a bid to bring the art of candy cane production to the UK, in the country’s traditional home town of sugar confectionery.
Coronation Candy, Blackpool’s largest rock making factory and manufacturer of handmade confectionery has joined forces with Loynds, worldwide supplier of candy, chocolate and wrapping machinery, to create a bespoke machine, designed by Loynds’ in-house research and development team and engineered and manufactured in Blackpool.
The production of candy canes, more than often produced in North America and China, is a labour intensive skill and can take an army of people to ensure the perfect bend in the candy cane. The new machine creates the bend in the candy through a precision, mechanical engineering process of heating and blast chilling, allowing the candy cane to be produced in large quantities with just four to five operators on the production line.
There are other automated machines on the market but they are super high production and the manufacturers using the high output equipment currently have a monopoly on the supply. The new machine will enable Coronation Candy to produce a minimum of 300,000 candy canes a day and will be a massive boost to British export of the candy cane, enabling Coronation Candy to tap into the international market of over £4 billion candy canes sold worldwide per year. The company have taken on 4 new jobs in the last few months and plan to take on another 20 by the end of 2019.
Colin Levene, Finance and Strategy Director at Coronation Candy said, “The launch of the new machine comes at a significant time of growth for us a company, as we continue to expand our lines throughout the international gifting and confectionery markets. We had a record month last year and we expect this to increase in line with the new product outputs and diversity of new lines and flavours.”
“Without the machine, we simply couldn’t justify the levels of man power needed to create the candy cane by hand. We are extremely excited about the capabilities the new machine brings and the international trade opportunities that it opens up to us.”
Colin continues, “The engineering and manufacturing of the new machine has been a complex and interesting process and we are incredibly pleased to have worked with Loynds on this project, drawing from the wealth of specialist knowledge and expertise from this established and well-respected local business.”
Coronation Candy currently exports its handmade confectionery worldwide to clients such as Harrods, Eiffel Tower, Alton Towers and operates the only production line in Europe that produces bespoke embossed lollies. It has also been working with University of Central Lancashire on new research and product development, looking at sugar substitution and the inclusion of natural ingredients such as honey.
Blackpool Council’s Business Team (known as Blackpool Unlimited) has played a significant role in helping Coronation Candy, who are based on Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, with their expansion plans by helping them to develop a strategic business plan, accessing finance streams and jobs creation. The company has also launched a young apprenticeship scheme for sugar boilers, an artisan skill that has been slowly dying out and an expertise that the company want to safeguard for future generations.
Loynds, based at Blackpool and Fylde Business Park employs 19 people and supplies confectionery machinery to over 100 countries worldwide and also has expansion plans with the manufacture of more specialist machinery, increase in management capacity and further investment in skills, training and technology. Loynds are continuing to work with Coronation Candy on another bespoke new machine, a spiral lolly maker that is due to launch summer 2019.
John Loynds said, “The development of the candy cane machine for Coronation Candy has been a great success but our journey doesn’t stop there as we’re always looking for new ways to improve technology and systems whilst championing the quality and reliability of Great British engineering.”
Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development said, “It is fantastic to see Blackpool as a centre of excellence in food production and manufacturing. There are some fantastic businesses in and around the Fylde Coast that are championing our home grown skills and talent within an overseas market.
“It is important that businesses such as Coronation Candy and Loynds continue to receive the recognition they deserve and that artisan skills such as sugar boilers are supported and promoted. We need to preserve and ensure that these unique skills don’t die out with the next generation and that Blackpool Rock remains an iconic British export that is synonymous with the UK’s home of candy.”