In northern Iraq, stores are dashing to fill their cabinets with chocolates. The Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Festival of the Sacrifice, is approaching – and it’s far an crucial part of the yr for confectionery corporations.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, as elsewhere, the 4-day competition which starts on Sunday is a time for birthday party and feasting – and candies are very lots at the menu.
That’s properly news for Sulaymaniyah-based totally businessman Farhad Haseb, who sells confectionery to upmarket shops in Erbil and Dohuk, as well as other towns and cities inside the place.
“In our lifestyle, each person buys very sweet things to offer to their guests while they are touring their homes,” he says.
“Toffee is a completely popular desire for Kurdish human beings, especially at Ramadan and Eid.”
Iraqi Kurdistan profile
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And families throughout Iraqi Kurdistan could be tucking into goodies that have been made 2,six hundred miles away in Scotland.
Greenock-based confectioner Golden Casket, which is probably first-rate known in the UK for its Millions brand, is one in every of Mr Haseb’s important global providers.
He first connected up with the Scottish company numerous years ago at a confectionery trade show, and has been ordering growing quantities of its Halal-licensed fudge, chocolate eclairs and various toffees each year.
Iraq is now Golden Casket’s 1/3 largest export marketplace, after America and Ireland.
The circle of relatives-owned firm produces about 70 tonnes of toffees, boilings, fudges, goodies and chews a week.
So some distance this yr, it has sent greater than 60 tonnes of its Buchanan’s logo chocolates to the area.
So what’s at the back of the success of Scottish toffee in Iraqi Kurdistan?
“In our subculture, eclairs and butter toffees are very famous,” says Mr Haseb.
“We buy them from Belgium and Poland but Scottish toffee is the exceptional – it’s far extra chewy. We are promoting increasingly each 12 months.”
Mr Haseb, whose employer Arak Garden imports more than 200 tonnes of toffee and chocolate a yr, expects to place extra orders with Golden Casket this year.
The Scottish agency, which is also recognized inside the UK for its “One Pounders” bags, has been making modifications to cater for the developing Iraqi marketplace.
It these days set up new equipment to boost its chocolate eclair production ability.
The company has additionally been paying near attention to the packaging of merchandise for the Iraqi market.
Sales manager Stuart Rae explains: “Each jar of toffee or fudge has were given to be gold wrapped – gold being a sign of nice – and it has to be made inside the UK.
“That’s the excessive-stop stuff for the Kurdish marketplace in Iraq.”
Golden Casket’s dealing with director Crawford Rae, who’s also chairman of Greenock Morton Football Club, sees Iraq and the encircling vicinity as a “tremendous opportunity”.
He says: “We exhibited in Dubai for the first time in November – this is an emerging marketplace and one that we want to interrupt into, and export is sincerely a boom ability for us.”
The Kurdish link is a welcome one for Golden Casket, particularly as the general confectionery marketplace within the UK remains especially flat in the meanwhile.