Gap in the market for organic chocolate? I should cocoa

Danish-Scottish couple’s range of eco choccy is thriving, both in Denmark and internationally

A Scottish-Danish couple are revolutionising something everyone holds dear: the chocolate industry.

Founded in 2010 by Richard O’Connor and Birgitte Hovmand, Chocolate and Love generated 9.4 million kroner in turnover in 2014 with its award-winning chocolate, and is predicting a turnover of double that for 2015. 

Not only is Chocolate and Love reaping the rewards ofthe festive season – most of its major stockists ordered Christmas chocolate as early as August – but also of a growing trend in the industry to favour chocolate made from ethically-sourced products. 

About more than money

Chocolate and Love uses neither child labour nor pesticides in the production of its goods. 

“As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa,” explained Hovmand. 

“On average, cocoa farmers earn an income below the poverty line. As a result, they often resort to the use of child labour to keep their prices competitive. This is not acceptable.”

Chocolate and Love sources its cocoa from South America and the Caribbean, where forced child labour is traditionally not used.  

As well as this, Chocolate and Love takes pride from its connection with reforestation organisation Weforest – meaning the more chocolate you eat, the more trees are planted in areas suffering deforestation. Over 22,000 trees have, been planted so far through the association. 

Appetite for feel-good food 

This charitable and healthy approach to chocolate has helped make the brand popular in Denmark, where organic produce is popular, and increasingly further afield 

“We believe that people will increasingly seek out organic chocolate all over the world,” said Hovmand.

This increasing trend, and the success of the chocolate awards-wise, means the goods are stocked by some of the most prestigious food outlets worldwide, including Harvey Nichols and Planet Organic in the UK and Mad&Vin and Arnold Busck in Denmark. 

“It has been a strategy of ours to go for trophy customers in a new market,” Hovmand explained.

Doing well in Denmark 

The brand is doing well in Denmark, which Hovmand attributes to a growing curiosity in Danish tastes. 

“It takes a while to establish a brand in Denmark. The Danes can be very loyal to existing brands and therefore it can be difficult for a new brand to break through,” Hovmand continued.  

“But we think this is changing thanks to the wave of great restaurants behind the new Nordic kitchen, and we think Danes will be more curious to try out new brands as well.”

And while the coffee flavour is “doing slightly better in Denmark than it is in China”, she concedes, Denmark’s favourite bar, the caramel and sea salt flavor, is the same as the other 37 contries the chocolate is sold in.

A truly international company

Its wide global reach is fitting of a company that is involved in a great deal of international co-operation. 

Cocoa from South America is made into chocolate in Switzerland, before being packaged in a design influenced by an artist in New York. The chocolate is then sold across the world by a sales team working in Denmark, the UK and South Africa.

The future’s dark 

The founders are certainly not resting on their laurels, as they have many ideas for the future.

“It is definitely a trend to have a very high content of cocoa and thus less sugar,” Hovmand contended. “We are working on 85, 90 and 95 percent cocoa bars and will maybe make a 100 percent one in the future.” 

In Denmark, Chocolate and Love will begin selling small 40g bars in coffee shops and delis next year.

Meanwhile it is promoting its second brand chocolate, Choco-Stars – a humorous range of lighter chocolate bars that feature animals dressed as celebrities. The bars are produced in Germany, made with cocoa from Ecuador, and have expanded rapidly into 38 countries since their launch in October 2012


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