Suffolk bakery moves to larger premises after rapid online growth during lockdowns

Hilton Macarons

A Suffolk family's macaron making business has taken off in the past year allowing them to move into a new facility - Credit: Hilton Macarons

An award-winning Suffolk bakery has moved its operations to a new purpose-built commercial kitchen after a rapid growth in business.

Hilton Macarons, which was launched in May 2019 by husband-and-wife team James and Andrea Hilton with a vision to create the perfect macaron, last year saw its sales double month-on-month all year.

It has now moved to new bigger premises in Framlingham.

Hilton Macarons

Hilton Macarons have been hard at work prepping their new Christmas flavours - Credit: Hilton Macarons

In early 2019 the couple had the idea of making macarons and James then cooked and scrapped thousands of meringues before finally launching in May at an Essex food festival, selling out on the first day.

Throughout 2019 the business grew rapidly, selling macarons at events, food festivals and subsequently selected shops but when Covid-19 hit, everything stopped.

By the end of March 2020 it had no sales prospects or pipeline.

Recognising that the business had to pivot to survive lockdown, Andrea suggested a website and so they asked their son to build one to sell macarons online.

Most Read launched a fortnight later, just in time for Easter 2020. Online sales took off and sales doubled month-on-month for the rest of the year.

Hilton Macarons

Hilton Macarons have also set up stall at places like Aldeburgh Food Festival - Credit: Hilton Macarons

Though this success created its own challenges around packaging and sending out fragile macarons by post and ensuring that all packaging was environmentally friendly.

The second challenge was to find a commercial kitchen to cope with the rapid growth in volumes.

Unable to find anything they took on a shell building and built a commercial kitchen dedicated to macaron production in Framlingham moving in a year to the day after the March 2020 lockdown started.

Hilton Macarons

Andrea Hilton, James Hilton and chef Victoria Monaghan outside their new kitchen in Framlingham - Credit: Hilton Macarons

James said: "After a year of frenetic growth we are delighted to have moved into our new purpose built, and much-needed, premises. This should provide us with the platform to take Hilton Macarons to the next level and critically to deal with what we hope and expect will be a really busy Christmas."

Early industry recognition has come from success at the Great Taste Awards in 2020 for the Orange and Lemon macarons and again at the Great Taste Awards in 2021 for the Blackcurrant and Hazelnut flavours.

The meringues are made from local Suffolk free-range eggs and British sugar, and the ganache fillings from Belgian chocolate and only natural ingredients.

Hilton Macarons

A selection of Macarons from their September box - Credit: Hilton Macarons

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