Leading London-based chocolatier Paul A Young plans to expand his four-strong business to span from Scotland to the south of England.

The master chocolatier and owner/director of his self-named business plans to grow to nine or 10 sites “over the next few years”, driven by the state of the economy. Expansion will also depend on the effects of the rumoured chocolate shortage whereby demand outstrips supply and a number of factors are reducing the number or people producing the cocoa beans, such as poor prices at source.

“I plan to expand outside London over the next few years - if I can expand to run one outside London next year that would be fantastic,” Young told British Baker. “I don’t plan to expand very quickly as it makes it hard to retain the quality. They will have to be at the right time in the right places with high footfall and driven by what is going on in the economy.”

Young has ideas of where he would like his brand, which he owns with a business partner, to be represented in the future but locations are not yet certain.

The impending ‘chocolate crisis’, which has seen cocoa prices rise 25% in the last year from £1,600 per tonne to £2,000 per tonne (Barry Callebaut), may impact on his expansion plans.

“If the cocoa crisis does have a huge impact next year we will have to reconsider and might have to wait or diversify.”

Young runs four London businesses in Soho, Bank, Islington and within Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road.