“Nobody knows where they were made or how they got into the boxes, we have operators watching the production line at all times.” Shaheed Khattak, 22, an engineer on Cadbury’s one and only Creme Egg production line, speculates about the mysterious, and unknown, origins of the now-famed white Creme eggs.
HuffPost UK is speaking to Khattak on the phone from the floor of the iconic chocolate factory in Bournville, four miles outside of Birmingham, just weeks after the country embarked on a mission worthy of a Roald Dahl novel - to track down the limited edition white eggs, with the chance of winning £2000.
Khattak - who has worked at the factory since he was just 16 years old - and his apprentice Althea Stephenson, 19, both agree: “We must have a mole somewhere. Someone must have been paid off!”
Given they only have a team of eight working on the Creme Egg floor, they are convinced it was an outside job. “We suspect someone from head office came in, found the fondant and the chocolate, and took it elsewhere to be made,” says Khattak as the secret recipe (which neither employee will divulge) is only made in this location.
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So what about access to the specialised machinery? The 30-year-old piece of equipment - designed to produce the exact chocolate shell moulds and dispense fondant cream in precise quantities - is located in the Bournville factory, where it’s in use 51 weeks of the year. “We can only guess they were hand made,” Khattak says, suspiciously.
When news of the white Creme Eggs broke, the UK went full Willy-Wonka to try and track down the 350-400 winning eggs. Accusations of shoppers and staff deliberately opening the eggs in store - as you can easily open the foil wrapper - were rife. It was clear people were really invested.
In fact, Khattak and his colleagues were even offered bribes. “We had so many people come to us and say we’ll go halves [on the prize] if you give us a white egg. But we honestly didn’t know where they are or where they are made,” protests Khattak.
We suspect someone from head office came in, found the fondant and the chocolate..." Shaheed Khattak
Even now, months later, the team of workers are no closer to solving the enduring mystery of the white egg hunt - how did they come to be in the boxes leaving the factory when no one even knew they existed?
And for the rest of the country, the hunt continues - with eggs available until 1 April - in Sainsbury’s Local, Tesco Express and Co-op. If you discover white chocolate upon opening your egg, you’ll need to call the phone number printed on the voucher under the foil to claim your prize.
As well as the top prize of £2,000, which is hidden in a egg at the Co-op, there’s also prizes of either £100 or £1,000 at other stores. Full details can be found on the Cadbury’s website.