Sweet manufacturer fights back with move to South Yorkshire and plans to create new jobs

Dekapak's new premesis at Goldthorpe Industrial Estate.

Dekapak's new premesis at Goldthorpe Industrial Estate.

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A packaging and sweet manufacturer which almost disappeared after losing its main customer is fighting back with a move to new premises and plans to create new jobs.

Dekapak, which packed all of Cadbury’s selection boxes for the UK until last year, was left with just five per cent of its business after Cadbury moved its production to Poland.

The firm, which used to pack 250, 000 boxes a week between June and December for the confectionary giant, went into voluntary administration, changed its name to Dekapak Solutions, and decided to look for new premises after it was unable to sustain its 80, 000 sq ft building in South Kirkby, West Yorkshire, where it had operated for 30 years.

The company, which was forced to downsize from 250 to around 40 staff, has now moved into 31, 000 sq ft of food grade warehouse space at Goldthorpe Industrial Estate. It manufactures for Monty Bojangles, Creme d’Or, GF Foods and Hancocks among others.

The move has also enabled the firm to expand its production of boiled, toffee and chew sweets. The firm bought Leeds-based sweet manufacturer Candy Makers out of liquidation in 2013 and is planning to expand its sugar-free range.

Director Jim Gaskell said the company plans to appoint up to 20 new staff in the next 12 months.

He added: “Our main product is a sugar-free product so we are looking to expand that area.

“Over the last 12 months the sugar-free area has grown due to a change in people’s lifestyles.

“These aren’t just products for diabetics any more, it’s people who want to live a healthier lifestyle,”

Because the new site was a food grade warehouse, the company can pack both open and wrapped products, which it wasn’t able to do at its previous premises.

The firm’s turnover has dropped from £14m to £2m, although Mr Gaskell said its turnover had doubled in the last 12 months due to new business wins and innovation.

He said future growth would come from expanding the contract packaging side of the business as well as sweet manufacturing.

He added: “Hopefully we will have as good a year next year as we have just had.”

More than 80 per cent of the firm’s work is for the UK market but it also exports to Australia, Scandinavia and the US.

Commercial property agent Gent Visick negotiated and completed on the deal for Dekapak’s new premises.