Christmas carob a success story; Dairy-free Santas set to fill stockings.
DESPITE the date on the calendar, a Warwickshire businesswoman is already focusing on the Christmas market.
Barbara Burgess, who runs specialist confectioners D&D Chocolate, has found a market niche providing an alternative for people who cannot eat dairy chocolate.
Her carob creations are made from the pod of a Mediterranean plant and are available in a range of hand-finished novelties.
Her wares are produced at the Centenary Business Centre in Attleborough, Nuneaton.
The company was started after Barbara lost her job five years ago. Since then, sales have blossomed and she is now starting to produce the 3,000 Santa Claus novelties ready for people's Christmas stockings.
The sweet treats will be available through high street retailers including Waitrose.
Carob contains no caffeine or stimulants and can be of benefit to people who suffer from migraine attacks or are diabetic or hyperactive.
Barbara said: "My son has an allergy to milk and I was told he'd grow out of it but he's 26 now and he hasn't.
"I realised I could fill a gap in the market and went for it. That belief in the product has stayed with me.
"The market is growing fast and combined with the response we get from desperate mothers whose children can't normally enjoy Christmas tree chocolate novelties, it puts us in a good position to benefit from this."
YULE ENJOY THESE . . . D&Dchocolate maker Emma Woods with Centenary Business Centre manager Paul Kerr