Who are we?
Mary Gray was started in Christchurch in 1949 by two ladies, May White and Bertha Thornton. The sweets being handmade proved very popular and Mary Gray shops were opened in various areas and the kitchen moved to larger premises to cope with demand. As the retail trade got more sophisticated the company steered more towards production and distribution and left retailing to retailers.
What do we do?
Mary Gray makes a wide range of confectionery both chocolate covered and non-chocolate products. We as a business concept try to be innovative. To achieve this we use a food technologist to enable a constant supply of new product development. The confectionery market loves new products due to the fad effect giving higher than normal sales. This level of innovation keeps us well on the side with our customers (being the retailers and corporate clients).
How do we do it?
All our products are handmade. There are degrees of handmade with the highest level being the homemade system. The homemade system provides a fresh-tasting product however very rarely do you get the same results twice. As a business, we need to produce at a sufficient volume and with consistent quality to ensure success. As such we use a commercial homemade system which incorporates technology such as digital thermometers with alarms to ensure critical temperatures are complied with to the nearest 1/10 of a degree, automatic mixers to ensure constant stirring results, being highly critical for proper results as well as obviously very large pots and high-pressure gas burners.
However all that aside we are basically a larger version of a homemade system.
Why do we do it?
The advantage of a handmade system is the ease with which innovation can be introduced. The cost of setting up machines to do new products is very high. We also like the taste of a handmade system. If we could find a machine that can cook, process and package our products as well as our people can, we would buy it.