Chocolate fever hits Waikato Management School

7 October 2010

mellow melt group

Chocolate Sensation: Waikato Management School Dean Professor Frank Scrimgeour (left) with Hero Liu, Andrew Gerland, Juliette Holdgate and Donovan's Chocolates CEO Mark Donovan.

Chocolate mouth guards, chocolate flavoured cough medicine, chocolate greetings cards, chocolate scented hand sanitizer – all products on offer at Waikato Management School’s Semester B Marketing Trade Show.

Teams of first and second year marketing students had to come up with a new idea for chocolate and develop a marketing strategy for their product. Their work was then judged by Waikato University’s Marketing Department lecturers and chocolate expert, Mark Donovan CEO of Donovans Chocolates.

The winning product overall was Mellow Melt, marshmallow with a chocolate centre – perfect for putting in hot chocolate because the marshmallow foams and the chocolate melts in the drink.

Andrew Gerland, part of the winning team says the team got the Mellow Melt idea from S’mores, which are big in America. Gerland knows about S’mores. He comes from the US where he’s studying business management at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and currently on student exchange at Waikato University. “S’mores are made by putting chocolate and marshmallow between two thin biscuits or crackers and then heated so the chocolate and marshmallow melt,” says Gerland.

“For the trade show, we made a prototype, doing away with the crackers, and they worked really well when we put them in hot chocolate.” His team mates were Juliette Holdgate and Xingyao (Hero) Liu.

Judge Mark Donovan was impressed with the show and the winning product in particular. “Mellow Melt was a stand out because it ticked all the boxes. I can see a product like that having huge growth potential across multiple channels of distribution, driven by its unique characteristics and novelty appeal.”

mellow melt display

Mellow Magic: The Mellow Melt teams tradeshow display.

Donovan says if his company had the equipment to make it and were not so focussed on building their own brand around boxed chocolates and chocolate bars he’d be strongly in favour of pursuing a production and marketing plan to deploy Mellow Melt into the extremely competitive confectionery market.

Overall, he thought the show was fantastic. “I felt privileged to be invited along to help judge – there were so many great displays and new product ideas that I could have spent hours looking and talking with all the students – we often make comment that chocolate and confectionery markets are whole lot of fun and the students showed that emphatically.”

The prize for most innovative product went to Ezy Squeezy – a spoon that dispenses chocolate sauce.

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