Chocolate dream not over for Dunedin despite withdrawal

The dream to keep production of Kiwi treats such as Pineapple Lumps and Jaffas in Dunedin has been shot.

Jim O'Malley launched a campaign with Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings (DMH) to gauge public interest in the proposition of taking over the production of Mondelēz's Cadbury products.

Up until the weekend, public interest was high with nearly $6 million pledged from the public towards the idea.

However given Mondelēz's requirements to ensure continuous production and supply of those products, DMH says it couldn't access the equipment and people needed to establish operations in the short timeframe.

"We believe that any commitment of capital to pursuing the third-party manufacturing contract of Kiwi Gems would be at high risk and for that reason we regret that we are withdrawing," a DMH spokesperson said in a statement.

"However it is clear that there is enormous support for saving chocolate production in Dunedin."

Although it won't be producing the Kiwi favourites, DMH says it still have plans for chocolate production in the deep south.

"We are moving to a new business plan of abandoning confectionary manufacture and advancing straight to making high quality chocolate," the statement read.

"Over the next four months we will develop a business plan to produce high-quality short-run batch chocolate production."

Mondelēz's has praised Mr O'Malley for his efforts, saying it reflects his passion for Dunedin.

"Jim has done a great job building interest in his initiative which reflects his passion for Dunedin, local manufacturing, and the heritage of the [Cadbury] site," a spokesperson said.

“We’ve been clear from the beginning that the timelines for any potential Kiwi manufacturer would be challenging as we cannot have gaps in the supply of products to Kiwi consumers."

DMH says it is its intention to keep the OwnTheFactory website open to update visitors with its business plan as it develops. 

"Once a solid plan is in place we will contact all the people who have pledged and invite them to invest."