Kinnerton operates Marks and Spencers Easter egg production site. Graeme Robertson went to see how the confectioner makes Alfie the bunny

Kinnerton, a confectioner based in Fakenham, Norfolk, was founded in 1978. Marks & Spencer has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the firm, working with it since 1990.



Chocolate is delivered to the site up to six times a day in a 24-tonne tanker. The recipe created for M&S is exclusive to the retailer, and contains a minimum of 30% cocoa solids. This is then poured into an eight-tonne vat.



The chocolate is tested once it arrives. During the Easter period, Kinnerton will use 634 tonnes of chocolate to produce products for M&S.



First-draft concepts were sketched well over a year ago a collaboration between Zoe Kaill, below, Kinnertons senior innovations manager, and Marks & Spencers Easter developer, Katy Patino.


There are numerous amendments to the mould design before Alfie comes to life for the first time. Zoe and Katy travel the world together to look at chocolate and packaging trends and are already sketching out ideas for 2018.

I eat, breathe and sleep confectionery innovation. So much so, I have a writing pad and pencil by my bed so when I sit bolt upright at 3am I can jot down the next new idea before its gone. A lot of my inspiration comes from trawling shops around the world, packaging and chocolate fairs and reviewing future trends. Im really looking forward to the new challenges for Easter 2018 Zoe

Development kitchen


Once there is agreement on a final sketch, Kinnerton briefs its mould manufacturer who in turn creates a single mould of Alfie Bunny. This allows a sample and trial to take place in the test kitchen. Kinnerton employs a team of experts who work with M&S to make sure that its ideas can become reality.



  • Testing in the development kitchen.

Baking and confectionery arent just my job, theyre my hobbies too. I bake cakes in my spare time and then when Im here,I spend all day experimenting with moulds, chocolate and confectionery to discover whether a character we have our heart set on can become a reality. Sometimes a great idea doesnt translate into reality, but when it does, its a great feeling Sue



  • Sue Simpson, senior development chef and Jon Benefer, assistant development chef.

Its really rewarding to see an idea come to life, be successfully creative here in the kitchen and then be upscaled and produced in the thousands for customers across the UK Ben