Chocolate company alters website amid Pineapple Lumps re-coating claims

Tue, Mar 14

A Kiwi chocolate company accused of repurposing other lollies has removed some references to its products being handcrafted from its website.

It comes as the Commerce Commission has now received several complaints about Levin-based Potter Brothers Chocolates.

The chocolates had been marketed as a premier range of "handcrafted" Kiwi classics, made using a 25-year-old family recipe.

However last week, Courtnay Adele on TikTok claimed the chocolates are re-coated Pineapple Lumps.

She had messaged the company with her concerns, but was blocked.

The company has since changed some of the messages on its website.

The word "handcrafted" was replaced with "small batch" on its homepage. It has also removed a section that said "Hand Made. Every chocolate has been individually crafted for you!"

Potter Brothers Pineapple Pieces

Adele also pointed out in a new TikTok that there was new detail in the 'about' section saying "we are proud to bring you an outstanding selection of Kiwi classics covered in our creamy chocolate".

In a statement, owner Joseph Potter referred to the starting of the business five years ago.

"At that time, and in the period immediately following, one of our processes involved hand-coating a bulk product which is only commercially available to make our Pineapple Chews, however 50% of our other fillings were made fully in house. Today, we have 16 products in our range and 80% of the fillings are made by us, fully inhouse.

"As our business has grown, thanks to the support of our customers, we have been able to invest more in our operation, skills and capability. We now make core ingredients, like pineapple nougat, ourselves, at our factory in Levin, using a hands-on process.

"When we started, we were young, excitable and naïve, and didn’t consider how the use of some words in our content may not be appropriate."

A year ago it changed the words handmade to small-batch on its products, to better represent the products, Potter said.

"Updating our website to reflect this personal and professional growth has been an ongoing, long-term project, but we acknowledge that there has been a particular focus on this in the past week."

Mondelez New Zealand, which owns Pascall, said it's been following the story with interest but doesn't have a relationship with Potter Brothers.

It says lots of people buy Pineapple Lumps in bulk, for many reasons.