Budding young chocolatier’s winning idea hits shelves

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Left to right; Anna Sterling, teacher at Shotley Community Primary School, Olivia Cresswell, Sharon Mayhew, Branch Manager, East of England Co-op Holbrook Food store, Sally Chicken, President, East of England Co-op.

A brand new chocolate treat has hit shelves following a creative collaboration between the East of England Co-op, a Suffolk chocolatier and local school pupils.

Last summer, children from Shotley Community Primary School gave Willy Wonka a run for his money by whipping up a host of exciting new chocolate flavours as part of a competition run by the East of England Co-op in partnership with local chocolatier, Hadleigh Maid. The competition, created by the retailer to celebrate local food producers, challenged the youngsters, aged between nine and 11, to design a new chocolate bar, with the winner’s idea to be made a reality and sold in East of England Co-op Food stores.

Olivia Cresswell beat some stiff competition to be crowned the winner with her ‘Nutty Stars’ design. Incorporating hazelnuts, white chocolate, dark chocolate and marshmallows, Olivia’s idea quickly made its way to Hadleigh Maid’s test kitchens, where the recipe and packaging were refined, perfected and made retail-ready.

True to real-life product development, the project wasn’t without its hiccups. When COVID-19 took hold around the country, the project was temporarily suspended amidst social distancing restrictions. Olivia and the project team worked together to find new ways to keep on track and bring her exciting design to life.

Olivia’s winning ‘Nutty Stars’ are now hot off the production line and winging their way to selected East of England Co-ops in Suffolk. With three tasty stars in a pack and all wrapped in plastic-free packaging designed by Olivia, it’s a tasty conclusion to a fun collaboration.

Sally Chicken, President of the East of England Co-op said:

“The original aim of the project was to explore the full life-cycle of food production. We wanted the students to be able to explore, in a real hands-on way, how the food they see on shop shelves is designed, created, packaged and transported. The project has been a huge success and really brought to life the whole process in an exciting and engaging way. Olivia and her peers have seen first-hand all the work that goes on behind the scenes to get food from local factories to our customers’ baskets. What a fantastic end result. I can’t wait to sample one of the winning stars myself.”

Olivia’s ‘Nutty Stars’ can be found in the East of England Co-op’s Manningtree and Felixstowe supermarkets, as well as their Holbrook, Hadleigh and Rushmere Food stores now, priced at £2.99.

Sharon Mayhew, Branch Manager at the East of England Co-op’s Holbrook Food store said:

“It’s a privilege to be one of the stores stocking Olivia’s creation. The Nutty Stars look fantastic on our shelves and it’s wonderful to know they were designed so near to us – just 6 miles away – by a talented local school pupil. Unsurprisingly, they’re proving quite popular!”.

All profits from the sale of the limited edition, locally made treat will go to Shotley Community Primary School, with the East of England Co-op pledging to bolster the amount so at least £500 is donated to the school.