While soap has seemingly little to do with vegan chocolate bars, Dr. Bronner’s new Magic All-One Chocolate range is a way of expanding the brand’s offering by drawing on an existing network of 800 suppliers – in this case fair trade farmers in Ghana, with whom the company has partnered on other projects and many of which were already producing cocoa beans.
With a longstanding commitment to tackling social and environmental issues, the brand’s iconic Pure-Castile Liquid Soap stands for more than a versatile household staple, but also boasts an award-winning status alongside meeting the sustainability and ethical needs of Americans, who purchase the product approximately every 2.2 seconds.
It’s no wonder that the company is worth US$190 million and is tapping into a lucrative market – vegan chocolate – that is gaining worldwide appeal from major chocolate industry players relative to an increase in consumer demand.
4 companies targeting vegans
Swiss-based Nestlé is launching vegan KitKat bars this year – made with sustainable cocoa – in response to consumer demand, following the release of dairy-free condensed milk in 2020. Interestingly, the brand has also successfully introduced plant-based seafood options onto the Swiss market.
Hershey’s is unveiling its first-ever vegan chocolate within their ‘better-for-you’ category, partnering with ASR Group to introduce healthier alternatives.
“Hershey will expand its future portfolio to deliver more reduced sugar, organic and plant-based alternatives while also continuing to build its classic array of beloved products,” the brand stated in a recent press release.
Luxury Swiss chocolatier Lindt has similarly caught onto the plant-based, sustainability trend with vegan milk chocolate bars made using an oat-based substitute available in Germany since last year, catering to lactose intolerant and flexitarian individuals.
With an ever-growing portfolio, Mondelēz invested US$340 million to secure Hu Master Holdings, a leading alternative chocolate brand, as the company continues to expand into the premium snack market, which makes strategic sense.
The decision for a company to diversify its portfolio is anything but simple, but for some brands launching a new line of products develops quite naturally.
As a family-owned business operating since 1948 and a Certified B Corporation since 2015, it is the principles underpinning Dr. Bronner’s that explain how soap and chocolate can find common ground and which ensure a unique brand positioning.
“We want to model a move away from extractive capitalism to a truly constructive model. This thinking is at the foundation of Dr. Bronner’s decision to bring our magic chocolate to market,” explains Gero Leson, Vice President of Special Operations.
According to Constantinos C Markides, Associate Professor of Strategic and International Management at the London Business School, managers unsure whether or not to diversify need to ask themselves, “What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market?”
For a Dr. Bronner’s chocolate bar, that represents a rare combination of regenerative organic agriculture and fair trade practices coupled with high-quality organic ingredients, the company is setting the bar high when it comes to elevating cocoa industry norms, wrapped up nicely within recycled paper packaging to add to its list of positive attributes.
“We’re both a soap company and a socially minded entity. That is the legacy that we have to live up to. The ideals inspire us as a for-profit business with the soul of a nonprofit to measure how we’re doing and where we can focus on getting better,” says Michael Bronner, President at Dr. Bronner’s.
The Magic All-One Chocolate will be launching onto supermarket shelves in the US from 1 August and online later this year with six different flavours to choose from – Roasted Whole Hazelnuts, Crunchy Hazelnut Butter, Salted Whole Almonds, Salted Almond Butter, Salted Dark Chocolate and Smooth Coconut Praline.
The 70 per cent Ghanaian and Ivory Coast cocoa is sweetened with Indonesian coconut sugar, delivering a “a rich, delicious dark chocolate that elevates soil and community health, as well as quality of life for everyone in the supply chain,” says David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer at Dr. Bronner’s.
Read Next: Nestlé launches sugarless chocolate bar