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Fresh chocolate business Russell & Atwell appeared on last week’s edition of Dragons’ Den

Purveyors of hand-made fresh filled chocolates Russell & Atwell have attracted £90k of investment on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and brought in an industry heavy hitter to scale up its business.

Appearing on last week’s edition of Dragons’ Den, Russell & Atwell was backed by entrepreneurs Steven Bartlett and Peter Jones, who both invested £45k for 10% each of the Birmingham-based start-up.

At the same time as raising cash on Dragons’ Den the company has named confectionery veteran and ex Cadbury UK president Nick Bunker as non-exec chairman.

Co-founders Steve Russell and Giles Atwell are attempting to establish fresh chocolate as a mainstream product. Launched as an online business in 2021, the firm currently hand prepares five varieties of fresh chilled chocolates.

Atwell explained: “Whilst fresh milk, pasta and desserts have all migrated over into the fridge, chocolate has been left, quite literally, on the shelf. It’s high time fresh chocolate became the go-to standard for quality, simplicity of ingredients and indulgence.”

Former Pladis MD Bunker, who becomes non-exec chairman of Russell & Atwell parent company Upside Down Chocolate, commented: ““From tasting their early batches, I knew Steve & Giles were onto something with ‘fresh’ chocolate, I’m excited to be working with the team, as well as Steven and Pete to accelerate Russell & Atwell growth.”

Atwell commented: “We’ve known Nick for a few years, and he has kindly been unofficially mentoring us since inception – it’s great to now formally have his wealth of experience in snacking and thoughtful perspective in the business as we take this next step in our growth journey”.

Atwell, who received five offers on the BBC show, told the Dragons he saw “no reason why we can’t get to £50m or £100m in a few years”.

Peter Jones commented: “I’m a bit of a chocoholic and I’ve seen a lot of chocolate businesses come through the Den, but nothing tasted like Russell & Atwell – it seems so obvious that ‘fresh tastes best’, but to experience their chocolates fresh from the fridge was in a different league – I had to invest.”

Steven Bartlett added: “Chocolate is my ultimate guilty pleasure and salted caramel is my all-time favourite flavour, so the Russell & Atwell Fresh Salted Caramel chocolates really sealed the deal for me. The product is already incredible and has a strong USP, so I knew with a little guidance and marketing we could really make it explode.”