Cadbury Dairy Milk Medley and our talented inventors and chocolatiers

Posted on: 27/06/2016

Birmingham-based inventors and chocolatiers Martyn Robinson and Hayleigh Perks share their background and exactly what it takes to invent a new Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with the launch of the delicious new Cadbury Dairy Milk Medley, at Mondelez’ Global Centre for Chocolate Invention in Bournville. The Research and Development Centre, located at the home of Cadbury, is the birthplace of every new exciting chocolate product created by MDLZ anywhere in the world.

Martyn Robinson


My background’s a little different. I left school, took an apprenticeship and worked my way up to be a chef for 12 years in a range of 4 and 5 star hotel kitchens throughout the country. Whilst I loved it, I decided to leave it because the unsociable hours didn’t fit with my family life. So, after this, I ran a bakery in the Cotswolds, selling cakes, biscuits, etc. to the likes of Starbucks and Café Nero. At one point, I had 24 people working there.

Focus on Quality

I remember when I was still a teenager and working as an apprentice chef, my parents and family were coming to the restaurant so I was making an extra special effort to make the perfect dish for them – it was my chance to shine. I put in the effort, made the meals to perfection and my parents were delighted. After that though, my manager pulled me aside and said that whilst my parents were there for a special occasion, everybody else was there for an occasion too and were all hoping for perfection. This was really powerful and has always stayed with me – I bring this to everything I do.


In 2008, the recession hit and I began to be more open to some of the offers from agencies that were coming my way. One of these was for a role at Cadbury and the rest is history. The RDQ team here at the time had a diverse team of scientists and engineers, and were looking for some creative input from somebody with a proven record of creating things from scratch and I apparently fitted the bill. So that was it, I went from a small independent to huge, global multinational.

Continuous Learning

A few years into my time at Cadbury, I was given the chance to take a BSc in Food and Consumer Science where I studied part time alongside working full time – I was determined to get a First so I put an enormous amount of effort into making it work. Fortunately for me, I was able to combine my dissertation research with a project I was working on at the time which was looking at chocolate brownies.

CDM Medley

Through my time here I’ve worked on a range of projects with a variety of different disciplines, such as consumer science, process, industrial design, packaging and so on. When you work in Product you really drive the project from start to finish and this was my place for Medley. I was given the opportunity to help launch a new platform – ‘End of Day reward’. So this meant I had to design a new chocolate line for that particular time and occasion – something a little more premium, a little more special, which consumers could enjoy after eating their tea, washing up, and putting their feet up in front of the tele after a busy day.

So, how did Cadbury Dairy Milk Medley start? We started off with ideation, where we came up with a load of different options and a lot of crazy ideas. From that, we started to pick out 6-8 ideas that might work, which we then produced in our pilot plant and test on consumers. From these insights, we funnelled down the ideas to 2-3 and tested on consumers again, before we then selected a lead product and a backup one. It was then a question of how much we needed to produce – so we put together the volume metrics, looked at the liking scale and determined the purchasing intent. After all this was done, it was time to sell it to the business.


The whole thing was quite cool – especially being in the pilot plant and making the perfect chocolate pieces to take down to London in a briefcase to have photographed for the packaging. The factory trials were another great experience too, because you spend so much time developing on a relative small scale that when you see the full production in the factory it’s a real WOW factor, especially when it’s your own creation. There’s an enormous sense of pride in that, knowing you’ve done it, and when you see it on the shelf too, you say to yourself “I remember making that”. It’s a great feeling sharing with your family and friends “That’s what I did”.

Hayleigh Perks


I was born and grew up in the local area, so I knew a lot of people who worked at Cadbury and I used to always come through Bournville to look at the purple street lamps and enjoy the smell of chocolate coming from the factory. I grew up being interested and curious about science but I did not realise you could use it to develop chocolate until I heard about the apprenticeships Cadbury offered. At the time, I was working part time in Cadbury World and jumped at the chance when I heard about the apprenticeships!

Chocolate for the Queen

So when I started as an apprentice, I worked as a Technician involved in a whole host of various projects and initiatives. One of the major highlights when I first started was that I used to assist in the production of chocolate for the Queen in our pilot plant. There was a specific recipe we had to follow for it and we even had to hand wrap it all in golden foil. It was pretty cool to be able to tell people you made chocolate for the Queen.

Travelling the World

Following my role as a technician I moved into the Global chocolate team a major highlight of this role was travelling around the world with various experienced colleagues and for various project during my first years in the department. This involved visiting countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and India to learn from our experts around the globe. As I’d finished college and completed a degree in Chemistry whilst working, I had never had the chance to take a gap year and go travelling so this was brilliant for me. It was great to experience so many different cultures and markets, and the way they view chocolate.


After working in the Global team for a number of years I decided to move to a regional specific R&D role in commercialization, helping our factories execute and scale up the ideas that our global teams have developed for market. This led me to work with a range of brands and products including CDM Marvellous Creations, CDM Bubbly, CDM Spoonful Egg, Marabou in the Nordics and Prince Polo in Poland.

Global Chocolate

Earlier this year, I came back to the global Chocolate team where I help design and choose our best products, their formats, and their recipe – ensuring the best combination of ingredients. This is where I came into contact with the CDM Medley project and Martyn.

Martyn was the lead developer and the creative force behind the product, and it was my role to help develop the right filling, so that it was suitably luxurious and smooth to meet the consumer need. A real highlight from this, was getting the consumer feedback from the tests – what they like and what they don’t like. It’s always interesting as you are always rooting for one.

I think another main highlight and satisfaction moment is the first time you see something on the shelf – when it comes to life and available to buy – that’s the most rewarding part. Although we work with chocolate every day, so that in itself is always a high point.

could you bring a new product to life?

Search for our global vacancies here.

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