Selling off the family seat to enter chocolate war

  • @robhastings

When Kraft announced it wanted to buy Cadbury, the great-granddaughter of the confectioner's founder said the idea of selling off one of Britain's oldest and most cherished companies to an "American plastic cheese company" was a "horror story".

Felicity Loudon wasn't able to stop the sale going through; the firm's shareholders caved in to Kraft's hostile takeover and accepted a bid of £11.5bn in January 2010. But now she has had enough – and has sold her £30m Cotswolds mansion to launch her own rival chocolate company.

"I would love it to be a success, love it to be seen not as a replacement for Cadbury, but in a way as a memorial to my grandfather," she said.

Mrs Loudon gave up her family's Cadbury surname in 1996 when she married her artistocratic Dutch husband, John. But looking at what she has had to give up to fund her new venture, Mrs Loudon's nostalgia for her family's heritage is evidently as strong as ever. The Grade II listed Pusey House is quite a sacrifice, even for patriotism and family pride.

Indeed, she admits that she does "cry about leaving".

It has taken almost two years to find a buyer for the mansion, but now Mrs Loudon has the money in her bank account she is determined to make a success of her new company. "I'm not going high-end, which is what everybody thinks I'm doing," she told Birmingham's Sunday Mercury.

"I want it to be affordable. I want it to be quirky. I want a child to want to buy it. I want it to bring out the child in you. I want to get away from additives.

"Everything about it, apart from the cocoa bean, has to be British – and that caused huge problems."

Kraft did not respond to a request for comment.