Theo Chocolate rebrands to highlight dedication to Fair Trade, show organic always means non-GMO

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chocolate, Natural products expo

Subtle changes to Theo Chocolate’s packaging that debuted at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore earlier this month aim to better communicate the bean-to-bar brand’s commitment to fair trade and organic ingredients as well as help it standout in an increasingly crowded category.

Among these changes are the addition of a bold, yet simple color swash, new photography to better highlight key ingredients and a revised non-GMO certification that reinforces the brand’s existing USDA organic certification.

“This is a little bit more of an evolution than a revolution in package design,”​ that was born out of “deep consumer research”​ and an honest look in the mirror to identify what is and is not working for the brand, said Jason Harty, Theo Chocolate’s chief marketing officer.

He explained that while brand’s logo didn’t change because consumers love and recognize it, they did ask the brand to better communicate its dedication to Fair Trade labor practices. The company complied by calling out its Fair Trade status in print across the top of its packages and by continuing to include the Fair Trade Certified logo on the bottom of its chocolate bar wrappers.

In addition, he said, “we did a lot of things kind of associated with fair trade with the brand, organic with the product,”​ such as add a bright color “swash, which we use a reveal device  as you can see some inclusions are tucked in and under it. We wanted to kind of give you a peek about what is inside the bar.”

A new way to talk about non-GMO

The brand also changed how it talks about being non-GMO so as to better lift up the value of its USDA organic certification, rather than potentially dilute it or confuse consumers with a duplicative Project Non-GMO certification as on its old packages.

“In our old packaging, we had the USDA Organic and The Project Non-GMO Verified seals and to us it seemed a bit confusing because inherently all USDA certified organic products are also non-GMO. So, it didn’t seem fair to collect certifications for one reason or another when USDA Organic certification is the golden seal that means we are always non-GMO and a whole bunch more,”​ Harty said.

With this in mind, the company swapped The Project Non-GMO Verified seal with a new seal created by Organic Valley that says organic is always non-GMO and it added an in-depth explanation to its website.

“We wanted to use it as a teaching moment,”​ Harty said.

New products accompany the new look

In addition to the new look, the brand also debuted three new products at Expo East, which when combined Harty said the brand hopes will help it win additional distribution.

The new products include a Coffee Toffee chocolate bar that combines organic coffee with house made butter toffee that launched this month. It also will introduce in December two new pairing cups, which are filled chocolate hearts. These include peanut butter and jelly and coffee and cream.

Between the new products and the new look, Harty said the company is hoping to expand its distribution footprint.

“We are in 100% of the natural class of trade, but just about two-thirds of the conventional grocery trade. So we have some room to make up there,”​ Harty said.

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