Former Mondelēz executives bolster vegan confectionery firm

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Two former Mondelēz executives to join the board of PLAYin CHOC.
Two former Mondelēz executives to join the board of PLAYin CHOC.

Related tags: vegan

Two former Mondelēz executives are to join the board of vegan confectionery start-up PLAYin CHOC.

Cesar Melo, an ex-president of Mondelēz’s global chocolate division, and Greg Beardwell, who spent 18 years working with Cadbury and its seasonal gifting market, will take up their new roles on 1 September.

The ethical and sustainable brand, which launched 18 months ago and secured £250,000 via CrowdCube last month, sells organic chocolate containing 100% recyclable and biodegradable children’s toys.

The products are made at its Uxbridge facility, which has the capacity to produce up to nine million units annually.


Maya Simler co-founded the business with her husband Dominic, after becoming frustrated with the harm caused to the natural world by plastic and excessive packaging.

“What immediately stood out was the great design work and attention to detail of the product that Dominic and Maya had brought to market,”​ Beardwell said. “They have not only created a fantastic tasting high-quality organic allergen-free chocolate, but they’ve also added a fun educational toy box that is sustainable and fully recyclable.

Having launched chocolate products for more than 17 years I know how difficult it is to just get one part of these things right – the way they have managed to bring it all together into a product that people want to buy and at a price that they want to buy it is very impressive.”


The vegan-certified organic chocolate is made from three ingredients: Peruvian cacao beans sourced from small family-owned farms, Madagascan Bourbon vanilla and Ugandan coconut.

The business currently employs up to six permanent staff and 40 temporary workers.

Meanwhile, Irish protein snack bar company Fulfil Nutrition plans to ramp up its “aggressive”​ expansion in the UK and Europe after securing minority investment from US confectionery giant The Hershey Co.

Related topics: Confectionery, Start-ups, Operations

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