Chocolatier Fort & Cole’s is introducing three luxury chocolate tablets into the independent channel.

“Having connections with Ivorian smallholders, we wanted to create a premium chocolate specifically for the independent sector,” said founder Jon-Paul Costoya. “Keeping independents alive is at the heart of our campaign. Fort & Cole’s is all about making premium chocolate more accessible for consumers, allowing independents to compete on quality and value.

“Retail outlets are switched on to creating more space for premium confections,” he continued. “For example, Tesco now give over 25% of chocolate tablet space to premium chocolate and consumers are trading up to this sub-category. And it’s not just the top four grocers, with discounters Aldi and Lidl giving considerable shelving space to their own premium chocolate label brands.”

Currently the wholesale and independent sector are not getting their share of sales within the growing category of premium chocolate, claims the firm. “However, this is not down to a lack of consumer demand but rather the lack of a wholesale and independent sector focused brand,” said Costoya. “Fort & Cole’s is fully focused on unlocking the opportunity for the wholesale and independent sector.”

The range consists of three flavours: a classic 70% cocoa dark chocolate, a 70% dark orange chocolate; and a lower cocoa milk chocolate variant. Each 100g bar retails at £1.49.