Suffolk kids create new chocolate bar

In this section

Move over Willy Wonka. There are some new chocolatiers in town.

Children from Shotley Community Primary School have been giving the Oompa Loompas a run for their money by creating some exciting flavours – one of which is set to grace the shelves of their local East of England Co-op.

The youngsters, aged between nine and 11, took part in a competition arranged by the retailer  as part of a school curriculum project celebrating local food producers.

Now the winning candy bar is going to the Hadleigh Maid factory to be mass-produced before going on sale for in East of England Co-op stores.

Oli Watts, Head of Communications and Community at the East of England Co-op said: “We were so impressed by the ingenuity and creativity of the pupils at this school. All of them were keen to try out bold flavour statements.

“Children have incredible imaginations and the chocolate bars are testament to that. They were very interested in the process of food production and their lessons included advice on incorporating chocolate and sweets as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been involved in judging the competition and hope the experience has taught them a huge amount about how food is made and where it comes from.”

Winner of the competition was 11-year-old Olivia Cresswell who created Nutty Stars made with hazelnut, white and dark chocolate and marshmallows.

She will now be invited to the Hadleigh Maid factory to help created the product.

Gavin Bowie from Hadleigh Maid,  an artisan chocolate producer based in Hadleigh whose sweet treats are already sold in store, said: “It’s fabulous to get input from new talent and tastebuds and keeps us on our toes – thinking of ways to expand the range we already produce.

“The children were extremely enthusiastic, and we were bowled over by the unbelievable ideas they had. If we could have made all of them winners, we would have done!”

Other inventions put forward by pupils included a milk and white chocolate shortbread biscuit, and a milk chocolate covered chocolate brownie.

The competition was part of a wider initiative about food production.

The children sampled a range of chocolate strengths, had a visit from representatives from Pump Street Chocolate who taught them about taste-testing and learnt about the journey of chocolate from bean to bar.

They have undertaken market research, learnt about Fair Trade, explored the power of packaging, calculated costs, sales and profit margins and visited Felixstowe Docks to find out about shipping and exports.

The project culminated in the pupils designing and making their own prototype bars and presenting their concept to experts.

Anna Sterling, teacher for Year 5 and 6 at the school said: “This has been a magical project which has been exceptionally good fun and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the East of England Co-op and Hadleigh Maid.

“It’s been wonderful for the children to have the guidance of professionals and for them to be able to ask questions and understand the processes of how food is created – from a recipe to sourcing ingredients, trying out different combinations in the kitchen, looking at product marketing and how the goods end up on the shelf.

“We believe in hands on teaching that allows children to escape from a textbook and get their hands dirty – or in this case, chocolatey.”

The winning chocolate bar will be sold in five East of England Co-op stores.