Skip to main content

Russell & Atwell sets sights on delis to “democratise” fresh chocolate

Posted: 24 January 2024

By Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Russell & Atwell

Russell & Atwell is looking to independents to help introduce its range of fresh, chilled chocolates to more British consumers. 

Launched in 2020 by third generation chocolate entrepreneur Giles Atwell and chocolatier Steve Russell, the concept revolves around fresh ingredients – organic cream from the Costwolds, British honey and sea salt, and sustainably-sourced cocoa. 

Since securing funding on Dragon’s Den in 2022, the pair have sold more than a million chocolates – most of them online, but also via a dozen retail outlets – including Booths, Fenwicks, and Panzer’s.

The next step, Atwell told FFD, is to get their product into more independents. “They’re a great place for us to start – because so often that’s where big new ideas like ours are born.” 

The hope is that committed retailers will help reframe the notion of refrigerated chocolate – because despite studies showing that half of all consumers keep their ‘long life’ chocolate in the fridge, that’s not where they go looking for it in shops. 

“You need to be visible, because chocolate is an impulse product. People rarely walk into a store thinking, ‘I’m going to buy chocolate’,” Atwell said. “We work really well in a deli or a farm shop where the owner or the manager is a fan, so they actually can recommend it.”

Retailers can choose from the core range of milk, dark and nut-based chocolates, as well as from limited edition lines – like the Great Taste award-winning Seville Orange variety, which are only available in the winter, and a new Passionfruit flavour due to run from Valentine’s Day through to summer.

Led by Steve Russell, the producer tests out new lines at The Foodworks SW in Weston-super-Mare – a development and innovation hub fitted out with specialist kit like chillers and chocolate tempering machines. And although these micro-batches sell out purely off the back of social media buzz – like the Wimbledon-inspired Strawberries & Cream chocolates, which sold out in under an hour – they do help inspire new permanent lines. “And it actually helps us to reduce the risk for [retailers] in terms of stocking one of our products, because we’ve already seen that there’s a nice bit of demand,” Russell said.

The producer is also trialling on-the-go pouches for cafés, and catering tubs for foodservice.

This article first appeared in the January-February 2024 edition of Fine Food Digest .