Choc on Choc (www.choconchoc.co.uk), a small artisan Bath-based chocolatier and family business, this weekend opened discussions with M&S, as the retailer launched a product that bore more than a passing resemblance to their own innovation.
Marks & Spencer’s ‘Perfect Match’ box of chocolate matchsticks, on sale ahead of Valentine’s Day, offers Swiss golden blond chocolate matchsticks stamped with the wording “Perfect Match”. Choc on Choc, who was alerted to the product being on sale by one of its customers visiting an M&S store, believed the gift bears too similar a resemblance to its own Perfect Match product, which the brand has been making since 2015.
After calling out the retail giant on her social media channels, Founder Flo Broughton, who started the artisan chocolate business with her father in 2003, received thousands of messages of support from consumers and fellow small businesses. The posts sparked the attention of M&S, who, after consultation over the weekend with Choc on Choc, has now committed to sell the Bath-based company’s chocolate matchsticks. Broughton also agreed a further deal with M&S that Choc on Choc will make a range of Mother’s Day and Easter products for the supermarket.
Flo Broughton said: “One of our customers first spotted the Perfect Match Chocolates in Marks & Spencer earlier this month and alerted us to the similarity of the product.
“After posting about it on social media on Friday and Saturday, M&S contacted me, and said they wanted to resolve this. On Sunday lunchtime we had a video conferencing call and came to an agreement.
“As well as resolving the current situation regarding The Perfect Match product, M&S has also committed to my request to accepting more ideas from small businesses through their Small Supplier Programme. This is a huge step for all small businesses, as an iconic British retailer commits to supporting us.”
The M&S team were incredibly responsive when this was brought to their attention, and following this resolution, Broughton plans to call on other large UK retailers to open their doors to smaller businesses and make it more viable for them to sell their products through their platforms.
As well as encouraging retailers to harness some of the amazing innovation artisan businesses can offer, Choc on Choc wants to push for fairer deals such as seven day payment terms, something that Marks and Spencer has announced recently to support small businesses.
Choc on Choc takes its name from the patented production method invented by its founders, which decadently layers chocolate on top of chocolate, producing completely unique confectionery. The company was founded by father and daughter duo, Kerr Dunlop and Flo Broughton, around the family kitchen table in 2003. Flo is a mother of two young children and launched the business shortly after graduating, growing the organisation from the original pair to a team of 35.
London food and drink PR & Digital Marketing agency Palm, has had a long-standing relationship with Choc on Choc, and is proud to represent disruptive businesses, that have innovation at their heart. The resolution and partnership with Marks & Spencer recognises the brand’s fantastic and unique innovation – and is the perfect ending to this independent business’ story.