Meet the trader: Joel Manuvelpillai from Goüter

Did you know bread is one of our most commonly wasted foods in the UK? Around 9 billion slices end up in the bin each year. Yikes! 

It’s a scary stat but on a positive note, there are lots of great-tasting solutions to reducing that number, as you’ll discover if you head for the Goüter stand at our next market. Founder Joel Manuvelpillai chats about creating their delicious chocolate cluster snacks using leftover loaves in this Q&A.

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How did you end up working in the chocolate world and starting your own small business?

After my PhD in Chemistry from Bristol University, I worked for a start-up and quickly realised that I loved developing goods for consumers and making an impact. I then applied for an R&D role at Cadbury which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve spent the last 15 years developing chocolate products for well-known brands like Cadbury, Milka, Godiva and McVities, to name a few.

But I became frustrated with the lack of chocolate innovation that was positive for the environment. I therefore decided to quit to launch my chocolate business with the hope to have a positive environmental impact.

Your products feature an unusual ingredient for chocolate snacks: bread! How did you come up with your recipe?

Growing up in France I used to eat baguette and chocolate as a snack or even for breakfast. This is very normal in France. If you think of pain au chocolat that’s some sort of bread with chocolate.

I saw a beer brand called Toast Ale producing beer from leftover bread. I then made hundreds of recipes with a friend of mine and got feedback from friends and family and ended up with the Goüter recipe.

Where does the leftover bread you use come from?

I use fresh bread offcuts from a company based in Avonmouth called the Real Wrap Co. They are the biggest sandwich manufacturer for universities and hospitals in the UK. They are also the first manufacturer to be carbon negative. I collect their fresh bread whenever I need to produce a batch of chocolate.

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What do you love about Bristol and what makes it a great place to run Goüter?

I studied in Bristol and lived here for five years but I had to leave because of my jobs. I always told myself that I would come back and raise my kids here because it has exactly the right environment for bringing up kids and to have a great quality of life. I have lived in many cities in Europe and Bristol is always a place where my friends and family have come to visit several times!

What will people find on your stand at the Better Sundays market?

They will find out how I make the product. I like to bring the raw ingredients so people can see it’s straight forward. My Goüter clusters are made by mixing three simple ingredients: bread, chocolate and nuts. I also have samples so people can try as it could be intriguing having bread in chocolate.

Come for a taste of Goüter at the Better Sundays Broadmead market between 10am and 5pm on 21st August!