What this means for chocolate companies that sell fine chocolate to consumers
Many have started to think about the future of the industry with the growth of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in America over the last decade. Many have suggested that the development of other “specialty food” segments, such as coffee, craft beer, and wine, could lead” to the rise of” bean-to-bar chocolate. Twenty years ago, $5 for a specialty beverage of coffee would have been laughed at. Today, this is a part of many people’s daily routines. Craft beer makes Friday nights with friends, even people.
There are similarities between fine chocolates and other industries. They both deliver a better quality product and a unique one than the multinational conglomerates that currently control the category. They have a multinational respect for the craftsmanship of food and the knowledge about where it comes from. And they’re willing to pay more. The fine chocolate industry looks to the craft beer industries for inspiration, which is great, but it also gives us hope that we will reach this level one day if more people appreciate fine chocolate and are willing to pay $6, $7, or even more for it.
We’ve spent time and energy strategizing to “get there” as an industry. CWe’veer education can be a controversial topic in the “industry. Some people believe that we should turn everyone into chocolate connoisseurs, while others say that it doesn’t matter; as long as the chocolate is good, they will continue to buy. Much information should be included on the packaging. How much data is enough? The cocoa percentage, origin of the sugar, farm name, type of sugar, etc. It can become overwhelming very quickly.
One big difference
There is a big difference between fine chocolate and coffee, wine, and beer. This idea came from a conversation I had with EC grads (see, they are so smart!) Sarah Hartman. As an adult (some of us may be younger than others), you can appreciate coffee, beer, and wine. Most people have not had much exposure to these products before their 20s.
Most of us eat chocolate as a child. When we become adults, our relationship with the chocolate has evolved from a light flirtation into a full-blown love affair. From a reward for good behavior to baking chocolate chip cookies to celebrating holidays and birthdays, chocolate is always there. In times of sadness, chocolate can be a comforting companion or a pick-me-up after a bad time. When we are adults, we have already developed a strong relationship with chocolate.
We aren’t just asking them to try something and see if it suits them; we aren’t helping them learn what chocolate is. We are almost marketing a new but with a lot of positive associations. We need to change their perception of chocolate. Yes, we know that you love M&Ms and Hershey’s Kisses. Cadbury Dairy Milk is your favorite chocolate. They can make Hershey’s a special place in your heart. Try THIS chocolate. You’ve never tasted anything like it before. What do you taste, exactly?
You have the real challenge: How do we convince consumers to abandon some of their preconceived notions about chocolate and accept what we ask of them?
It’s important also to highlight why this is so. It is important to choose its makers. No one gets into the bean-to-bar chocolate business hoping to become rich. However, if these chocolate makers can’t make a profit, they won’t have many. Some small chocolate producers cannot make ends meet, and they will not survive. It’s also important for the cacao farmers, their families, and themselves. It has become a commodity, and, in most cases, large multinationals don’t really care about the quality because they will addmultinationalsrdon’tedients anyway. Most cocoa farmers are poor or near poverty. Many farmers decide to remove their cocoa trees in order to plant more lucrative crops like rubber or bananas. We shared a story a few weeks ago about a friend & colleague who sold his farm to a neighboring pineapple plantation.
We must pay farmers more to encourage them to continue growing cacao varieties so we can maintain the diversity of flavor and quality. This means that chocolate makers will have to pay a higher price for their beans. This means that consumers will have to pay more money for chocolate bars made with these flavorful, high-quality beans. This all happens in a complex economic, social, and political climate, but the underlying principle is simple.
What are some of the strategies that will help chocolate businesses succeed? How can we help consumers change their childhood chocolate habits, and how do we educate them?
Here are some strategies that chocolate makers and chocolatiers we know are using to survive in a highly competitive market.
Maximize production efficiency
The change will come only one dollar at a time. We want consumers to pay $2 for a bar of chocolate in the grocery store, $4 for a brand from a drugstore like Lindt (progress has been made in this price range), and $6 to $12 for an expensive bar at a health food or specialty store. Chocolate makers must be as efficient as they can while this change is taking place. By keeping an eye on your production and labor costs, you can maximize profit. Make the machines as autonomous as possible.
Be mobile responsive
It’s no longer enough just to put up a Facebook page or a website and expect to bring in the money. You want to make sure that your message is easy to read, understand, and purchase from the tiny screen. Please don’t make your customers suffer by forcing them to use a website that is nDon’tbile-responsive. You can’t rely on Google Adwords or Facebook to drive traffic to your website isn’t don’t have the budget. Google’s results are regional, so even if you don’t do a great job with Google’s SEO efforts, they will only show your results in your local area. It’s no longer possible to be seen in the top 10 developments across the country or province.
Focus on your best flavor and educate the consumer whenever possible to maximize penetration
Your consumers’ taste buds can be a catalyst for change. One of the best ways to get consumers interested in fine chocolate is by allowing them to sample chocolate made with quality and care using cocoa beans of different origins. To begin to appreciate those flavors that are beyond the sweet, sugary chocolate many of us grew to love. We help them relearn the meaning of chocolate. Many companies do a fantastic job at this. It’s not as simple as it sounds to taste chocolate if the maker doesn’t have a shop or factory where they can offer samples and guide tastindoesn’tcolate makers who sell wholesale or online to retailers miss out on the opportunity to meet their customers. It is important to provide inexpensive tasting packages and discounts on the first purchase. You can do anything to get a sample of a great flavor into someone’s mouth.
We must continue to tell our markets, through advsomeone’sand promotion as well as packaging, that not all chocolates are created equal. Over and over. In most countries, we are still only ten years old. It will take some time before another generation understands the difference. Good news: Consumer interest in transparency and better health will help support this change.