Premium chocolate start-up secures investment only to walk away from deal afterwards 


23rd December 2018: Love Cocoa, a premium chocolate start-up developed by James Cadbury (the great-great-great grandson of the original Mr John Cadbury) went head-to-head with BBC’s Dragons’ Den investors on Sunday night, securing two offers from Peter Jones and Tej Lalvani before accepting the latter’s deal. 

Love Cocoa was set up by Cadbury in 2016 after he left his job as a city trader to pursue his business dream, following in his family’s footsteps. His luxury handmade chocolate brand reinvents British favourites with contemporary twists, (think Gin & Tonic, Earl Grey and English Mint) delivered through your letterbox the very next day.  Cadbury was in the den asking the Dragons for £75k for a 5% share of the business. The money was to be invested in two key areas of the business: developing new products including those using online personalisation, and expanding the Love Cocoa team.

The deal with Tej Lalvani saw Cadbury revert to the infamous wall twice to think about his options before finally accepting £75k for a 15% share. However, following a series of lengthy discussions and having met Lalvani several times after the episode was filmed, Cadbury has since decided to go it alone.

Love Cocoa received a unanimously positive response from the Dragons who all praised the quality of the chocolate and the brand’s ethical and sustainable credentials (10% of profits go to the Rainforest Foundation). Viewers also saw an open and frank discussion about previous investment in the brand. 

Cadbury commented: “It was a tough process that was also incredibly nerve-wracking; I felt the pressure of having to uphold the family name. To be invited onto the show was an amazing experience both in terms of the potential investment and exposure, but the final deal was not quite what I wanted. Tej is a great entrepreneur and a true gentleman; he completely understood and we left on good terms.”

Since filming in May 2018, Love Cocoa has seen substantial growth driven by new stockists such as John Lewis coming on board, as well as a focus on exports, which now account for 30% of the business’s revenue. With turnover upwards of £700,000 and the brand due to launch in Paperchase and Ocado in the new year, the future looks bright for the Cadbury heir.

Read on at BQ Live


About Love Cocoa

Love Cocoa reinvents British favourites with contemporary twists to produce luxury handmade chocolate delivered through your letterbox the very next day. Created by James Cadbury, the great-great-great grandson of Mr Cadbury, James is on a mission to share his ancestors’ ambition to create quality, ethical products. The brand takes great care in sourcing its chocolate from sustainable sources and guaranteeing cocoa farmers a higher than market price. That’s why 10% of profits go to the Rainforest Foundation, the charity that supports people living in and around the world’s rainforests to protect their environment. Love Cocoa is available online and via John Lewis, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. Read more about Love Cocoa's Story here. 

Love Cocoa Product Image


  • Darren Young

    Your story is a great one and I wish you all the very best . Your grandfathers business and how they operated with a social Consious is amazing and how businesses should operate . Your stance against Cadbury tax dodging is quite right.

    Wish you all the the best of health and success in your venture


  • Vanessa Eden

    Good luck to your company. Have the jealous comments some posters are referring to been removed, as I can’t see any? Best of luck for the future.

  • Roy Tyler

    Great to see this story unfold! Your chocolate is wonderful. Maybe Peter Jones could have accelerated you further but you’re going to do well whatever! 😃

  • Jason Hughes

    Amazing News,well done James and the team!!

  • John Bagley

    Met Peter Cadbury in Obuasi Ghana whilst I was working there I have not partaken of the brand name chocolate since the takeover I have tried your love cocoa Have you considered either crowd funding or small shares ?

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