In a very organic collaboration, luxury confectionary brand The Grown Up Chocolate Company has signed a supply deal with national online grocery supermarket ocado.com.
The partnership came about after the chocolatier making business entered ‘Britain’s Next Top Supplier’, a campaign by Ocado that invited small food and drink business to present a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch. While The Grown up Chocolate Company didn’t make it past the second round, they were approached by the online grocer anyway as the products seemed right for the Ocado customer.
The GUCC is an innovation founded by James Ecclestone who woke up one morning with the idea to create luxury chocolate inspired by childhood favourites. The bars are quirkily packaged to elicit nostalgia and are made up of ingredients to suit the tastes of the adult palette. Recipes are conceived and the bars hand-crafted in-house by a team of chefs led by chocolatier Sylvie Oidtmann.
So how will these high end chocolates appeal to a nation quickly becoming more health conscious?
“They’re indulgent” Ecclestone tells Retail Gazette, “and what’s really interesting about Ocado is that they have data which allows us to recommend our products to customers who tend to buy into luxury already.”
Ecclestone originally owned a north London delicatessen which sold imported chocolates from Europe because there was nothing of the same quality available in the UK. Seeing the gap in the market, Ecclestone created Casemir Chocolates, the only British supplier other than Artisan Du Chocolate, to sell fresh cream chocolate in high volumes. Casemir did incredibly well, with high-end clients like Claridges, The Dorchester and The Savoy but with The Grown Up Chocolate Company, Ecclestone is now able to offer “a chocolate bar that goes with coffee at the end of the meal – I’ve taken traits from Casemir and made tiny versions”.
Because the chocolate bars are handmade, the price point is inherent. “We’ve created products using the best ingredients and then worried about the price of them” Ecclestone adds. What they haven’t done, is used cheap chocolate and rejects of nuts or caramel in a bucket.
The Grown Up Chocolate Company has essentially created a new demand, especially with 70% of what is made being exported. With the rate that consumers are consuming, businesses have to stay innovative.
Of the new supply deal, Ben Higginson, confectionary buyer at Ocado said “The competition allowed us to uncover some really great suppliers like the Grown Up Chocolate Company. Ocado customers love getting delicious treats with a twist delivered right to their table, and The GUCC offers both. The branding captures a cheeky sense of fun associated with eating chocolate that we think customers are really going to enjoy.”
With whimsical names like ‘Crunchy Praline Wonder Bar’ and ‘Fruit and Nut Hunky Dory’, the chocolate bars are like something straight out of a Roald Dahl novel. The Grown Up Chocolate Company currently has 9 bars, with 3 new flavours out in October. Ocado will stock four of the brand’s bars retailing at £1.49 each.