Chocolate Pork Crackling - Cracking the NPD puzzle


If you ask a Dunedin local who Mike Cornelissen is you might receive a blank stare in return. If however you were to ask them if they knew the Bacon Buttie Man, things might be a little different. Operating out of his café, factory and farmers market stall, Mike Cornelissen (aka The Bacon Buttie Man) has been curing pork in Dunedin for over 28 years.

Looking to expand his range, Mike started innovating. This culminated with him dunking a piece of his famous pork crackling in a pot of molten chocolate, a move that would quickly motivate him to contact FoodSouth Otago based at the University of Otago to help him develop something “a little bit different”.

“I must admit I was sceptical when he first pitched me his idea” explains Alex Nicolle, the food technologist who assisted Mike with the development project, “but as the project developed I began to see that it was a winning combination”.

Mike was a prime candidate for the Dunedin City Council Economic Development Vouchers which provided funding for half of the project costs. These vouchers are available for all local Dunedin companies looking to access FoodSouth – Otago’s services and understandably, there has been a lot of interest from the area.

After solving thermal instability caused by fat migration between the chocolate and crackling, the final formulations began to take shape. Once some samples were produced Mike shared them around his friends and family looking for suggestions on improvement.

The final products came in several different forms: a decedent, two layered crushed pork crackling and white chocolate creation covered those looking for something a little bit fancy, while pork crackling coated in either milk or white chocolate is perfect for anyone looking for a sweet and salty treat.

Looking forward, Mike plans to approach local Dunedin chocolate manufacturers to scale up his production and find a path to market. So if you’re ever at the Dunedin farmers market and feel like treating yourself, say hi to the Bacon Buttie Man and prepare yourself for something a little bit different.