On Packaging and Small Business Transparency

The following is an Instagram post that received a lot of great traffic and I wanted to share it here.

I’m glad my banana leaf green packaging got such positive feedback! I had some excellent and thoughtful comments, so I just wanted to add that this green packaging is meant as a temporary solution to those mindful consumers who want to reduce waste but also take responsibility for their purchases by either 1) eating it immediately (why not?😂) and/or 2) by storing it in an airtight container in a cool place as soon as they get the product home. Packaging is a big consideration for us makers, we know and gladly accept most consumers don’t want to think about how to store their chocolate and they assume we’ve done that leg work for them. Which, of course, is how it should be. Chocolate packaging is debated a lot in our industry and there are many others (makers and non-makers alike) who can debate it far more elegantly than myself, but for my part, I would like the opportunity to say the following:
I did the best I could with my budget and with what the local packaging industry could offer me. Packaging is a massive expense to us. Massive!! And Thailand is waay behind in green packaging solutions and what little there is would have to be completely customized and at HUGE costs 💸💸💸. So, want to get in on the ground floor of a soon to boom industry in Thailand? Create green packaging!!! Use corn fibers! Rice husks! Cacao shells!! Please someone 🙏🏽
I used to be able to get cellulose fiber cello slips when I had a business in the US, but if I wanted that here, I’d have to ship them from the UK. So, let’s weigh the exorbitant costs, the carbon footprint and my profit margins shall we (yes, gasp, I said it: profit margins)? I had to tip the scales and say, I direct trade with farmers. I use local produce almost predominantly. I educate consumers on Thai cacao. I am a transparent small, no, nano business with a supply chain that I’m proud of. I do my best with the money I have and, you guessed it, it’s not a lot. Just like many other makers out there. (I’m sorry for being so uncouth by shattering the fourth wall by talking about 💵, people.) 

When it’s time to do a rerun of my Xoconat retail packaging, I hope to do better. Right now, I will offer this Badass Banana Leaf packaging in-shop. But let me tell you, it’s not 100% sustainable. The stickers are not compostable and neither is the wax paper. 🤦🏽‍♀️ While my small business is totally transparent and pays farmers fair prices, how about I challenge The Big Five (Kristy Leissle, Cocoa): Mars Inc, Mondelēz International (Cadbury), Ferrero Group, Nestlé SA and The Hershey Company to create sustainable packaging and flood global shelves with that?? Do I even NEED to mention their abhorrent business practices? And guess what, as of 2015, their market share was **61.8 billion**. So when I ‘see’ some eye rolling and gentle tsk tsk’ing at small craft makers that their packaging is not appealing for one reason or another or not sustainable, I just want to say: Trust us, we are doing are best.
The Big Five though? Very highly debatable. Excruciatingly debatable. And you know what? They’re even profiting off the market small craft makers built. We’re building a market that they have seen a marketing power in — and they’re doing it! Ritter Sport shamelessly is piggybacking with a bar range called “Cocoa Selection” (the use of “cocoa” could spark a whole other debate). I found a 74% “ INTENSE” (their caps, not mine) with cocoa mass from Peru and a 61% “Fine” From Nicaragua at a local supermarket for less than $3. They’re so brazen that they use “cocoa mass” as an appealing identifier! And “Fine”? They know they can’t call themselves “fine chocolate” so they just figured Fine is good enough for the average consumer. That’s how little they think about their customers. 💢
So, pick your battles people. I know I have to. Every. Single. Day.

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