Late Night Rambles
I know, I know, I don’t update my blog often enough. And I always have so many cool things I want to write about, but never seem to find the time…If only I could just sit and write whenever the mood took me…but alas, there are many many things vying for my time. I have so many unread emails, and a rather overflowing tray on my desk…but help is on its way!
So what’s new in the world of chocolate?
Our little Kako brand has taken on a life of its own, and with the opening of our first ever retail store in Sylvia Park, we can barely keep up with production requirements. As a result, we are planning to take on more staff, implement systems that little businesses don’t need but slightly larger ones can’t do without, and expand our chocolate kitchen…yes, my office is to become part of the kitchen … I can always work on the floor I suppose…
On a personal note, my nephew turned three this month and I took time out to fly down to Wellington to spend time with him and catch up with family. He is such a wee cutie, with distinct personality traits – and his favourite food?? Chocolate! Cheeky wee lad too – yep, he is most certainly related to me!
We have a retail store now in Sylvia Park – this is going better than we anticipated, and it has been nice spending some time in there connecting with customers and being able to tell them about the chocolate we make. And of course, bribing them with free tasters. And having a store has spurred a new level of innovation with new products coming out every week. You must try our new Russian Fudge, it is proving a real hit. We are about to launch a campaign around the fair and ethical sourcing of cocoa, so watch this space.
Stepping back from Kako, and looking at world chocolate trends, we are seeing more and more companies embrace colour and shine, using the latest techniques that we are teaching in our chocolate school. Real Fruit seems to be coming more and more into vogue, and was identified as one of the top ten trends of 2015 for chocolate (http://www.confectionerynews.com/Markets/10-chocolate-trends-for-2015). We already know that real fruit tastes better than sweetened or artificial fruit flavours. And so, it would seem, do our customers!
Locally, the New Zealand artisan market is gaining traction, with a lot of new start ups – many who have come through our chocolate school for training. One of the most exciting things is discovering chocolates that our students have created that are a true reflection of who they are, and not just a copy of recipes taught in class. While we are in essence creating competition for our own brand, ultimately, we believe we are helping grow the market so we all benefit. Another really encouraging sign for the local market is the emergence of a strong and robust bean to bar industry – from Ola Chocolate (Samoan and very nice), Samoan Gold, Ocha Chocolate from Otago, Wellington Chocolate Factory, Hogarths, amongst others. My two favourites (and it’s hard to choose) would be Hogarths (see previous blog post – I am even eating some now as I type this) and Ola. But they are all good, and a vibrant artisan chocolate industry will always pave the way for a vibrant bean-to-bar market. It means consumers are embracing quality over quantity, and being more conscious about what they are eating, and instead of cheap mass produced chocolate, more and more are moving toward artisan chocolate, which is the fastest growing sector in the overall confectionery market right now. A good time to be in the artisan chocolate industry – I am excited for the future! And you haven’t seen all the little projects we are work
So a bit of a ramble – but it is almost midnight on a Monday night, so I am allowed a little leeway!
Let me know what new and exciting chocolate you have tried recently. Always nice to hear from you (even if my response rate is a little slower than I would like at present!)