As of late November, all the bars in Undone Chocolate’s line are simply branded with the company name and their premium ingredients are printed boldly on the front label. For example, the bar formerly known as ‘arouse,’ which previously was wrapped in a dark label with a heart, is now wrapped in a deep orange with cinnamon, cardamom, chili and 72% cacao organic dark chocolate printed on the front in a crisp white font that pops.
Likewise, the company’s former ‘replenish’ bar is now wrapped in a saturated pink and labeled as 72% cacao organic dark chocolate with Himalayan pink salt. The firm also offers a blue wrapped bar featuring roasted almonds and Himalayan pink salt.
Each package also features illustrations of the key ingredients – cacao pods, almonds, chili peppers, cinnamon sticks or salt, for example – in an elegantly repeating pattern down the side. The images reinforce the new emphasis on the ingredients that make each bar special.
“We wanted to better highlight the ingredients in each bar” because that is how consumers were differentiating the products from each other and from competitors’ – not by the SKU names Undone Chocolate originally gave them, Founder Adam Kavalier told Food Navigator-USA.
He explained at a recent event hosted by Washington, DC-based incubator Union Kitchen that the company also elevated the packaging material to better communicate to consumers the products' value and position as a confection worthy to be a gift.
The new outer wrappers are thick paper folded into an envelope, which suggests the bars’ status as gifts. Inside, the bars now are wrapped in gold, instead of silver, which further “spruced up” the brands’ image and “makes it feel more gifty and luxurious,” Kavalier said.
The changes also help justify to consumers the bars’ higher price point of $8-$12 per 2-ounce bar, Kavalier said. He explained the premium pricing of the bars has been a sticking point for some consumers, but he argues it is necessary given the company pays at least 20% more for its cacao, which is sourced directly from farmers to ensure high quality and fair wages.
Undone Chocolate also spells out on the back of the packages what it means to source direct trade cacao to further explain the price.
The company also became USDA Organic certified earlier this fall as another way to justify the bars’ price to consumers, as well as the high standards to which the firm holds its confections, Kavalier said.
Becoming organically certified was arduous and included a 75-page document about the ingredients, facility in which the bars are made and “critical control points,” Kavalier said. He also noted it was expensive for such a small company, but that ultimately it is worth it.
He also said he would not pass along to consumers the cost of the certification. Rather, he is trying to offset the cost by buying ingredients and materials in larger amounts for less cost per unit. This move also is helping the firm meet demand as it expands distribution and ramps up for the holiday gift-giving season.
In addition to the new branding, Undone Chocolate is launching two new products: an artisanal dark hot chocolate mix that can be whisked with hot water or milk and a limited edition bar.
The hot chocolate is unique in that it is sourced from a single origin Ecuadorian cacao plant, Kavalier said. He added Ecuador is emerging as a go-to-source for premium cacao.
The limited edition bar is made wild Bolivian cacao that is sourced from farmers who harvest the pods from wild plants. This practice is a sustainable alternative to the “all too common expansion of slash and burn agriculture that threatens Bolivia’s Amazon,” according to a company release.
Kavalier also noted that by directly sourcing the cacao for the Wild Bolivian bar from farmers, Undone Chocolate is helping to support 300 family farmers in 41 communities.
Despite these benefits and the bar’s mild but complex flavor with caramel notes, Undone Chocolate opted for a limited production run because the cacao is more difficult to work with than some cultivated varieties. For example, the beans are smaller and harder to extract, Kavalier said.
As the young company continues to expand though, more new small batch and limited edition products likely will be on the horizon.