A Highlands chocolatier is looking to raise £500,000 in a bid to become one of the UK's leading vegan chocolate businesses after securing a place in the famous $125,000 gift bags to be presented to the nominees at this year's Oscars celebrations.

The money will be used to invest in a bigger factory and more equipment to increase production of her Fetcha Chocolates, as well as staff to support founder Fiona McArthur who runs the Campbeltown business on her own with occasional help from her mum. Set up in 2019, Fetcha produces vegan and gluten-free chocolates in 100% paper-based packaging.

The Herald:

Ms McArthur has created a limited edition box of handmade chocolates for the "Everyone Wins" gift bags curated by luxury LA marketing company Distinctive Assets for the upcoming Oscars awards on March 10. Now in their 22nd year, the bags have become a staple of the awards season and include more than 60 deluxe gifts including a lavish holiday in St Bart's.

"Inclusion in the gift bag was sort of random," Ms McArthur said. "When I initially designed my packaging my leading thought was 'I want them to look elegant enough that they would be worthy of the Oscars nominees gift bags', but didn't think it would actually happen.

"Then last year I was contacted by the organisers of the gift bag and asked if I'd like to be involved, so I jumped at the chance."

The "Awards Collection" box features movie-themed chocolates inspired by the Oscar
nominated films "Barbie," "Poor Things," "Maestro," "Oppenheimer," "The Holdovers," and "Killers of the Flower Moon." They are vegan, gluten-free, and contain no alcohol to meet the demands of discerning celebrities.

Ms McArthur said setting up a vegan chocolate shop in a fishing and dairy-heavy area of Scotland was a big risk, but she had seen there was a gap in the market for giftable vegan and gluten-free chocolates. With a degree in environmental science from the University of Stirling, she was also bothered by the fact that most boxes of chocolate on the market used lots of plastic packaging.

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She described the business's growth to date as "phenomenal", and being included in the famed gift bag for Oscars nominees has provided a further boost.

"Creating chocolates for this gift bag is a dream come true for me," she said. "I am thrilled to be a part of this prestigious event and look forward to sharing our award-winning chocolates with big name Oscar nominees like Bradley Cooper, Emily Blunt, Robert De Niro, Paul Giamatti, Jodie Foster and Christopher Nolan."

She added: “As a young, micro business, I am delighted to be able to showcase Scottish produce on such an international stage.”

The boxes of chocolates to be presented at the awards have already been shipped to LA for the event. The "Awards Collection" will also be available on the Fetcha website and in-store from February 10.