As the Bennetto team wraps up 2023 and form plans for 2024, we have taken a moment to reflect on all we have been up to this year. It's more than we thought, so we would love to share some highlights.
February: Bennetto takes on Europe
- Lucy travelled to Nuremberg, Germany, to attend Europe's biggest organic trade show, Biofach. She spent a lot of time with our Swiss manufacturer on their trade show stand, talking to people about chocolate. Getting positive feedback about Bennetto chocolate from many people at the show was amazing.
- From Germany, Lucy headed to Switzerland to sit with our manufacturers and develop new products. And out of this, the new truffle squares were born. Some of you may be enjoying these now. We have been so pleased that the feedback has been all positive.
- The next stop was London, where Lucy laid the foundations for launching Bennetto chocolate into the UK market.
March: Talking the talk at home
- More trade shows, but this time a little closer to home – Hamilton and Sydney.
July: Retail wins and expansion
- B Corp Certification! This was a proud moment. We are certified as a B Corp company and have joined a global community that believes in business as a force for good. Together, the movement aims to transform the global economy into one that values people and the planet as much as profit.
- We launched in Woolworths supermarkets (formally Countdown) throughout New Zealand, adding to existing retailers, Fresh Choice, New World, and more.
- A sell-out! Our beloved 30gm mini raspberry bars sold out in July and we've been unable to get more since because of the packaging. Unfortunately, the problem was due to it being compostable. There are huge challenges with packaging. We want it to biodegrade but we also need it to keep our chocolate in perfect shelf-life condition for the buyer. There's nothing that does this right now.
August: Partnerships and purpose
- Lucy travelled to Melbourne with an NZTE trade delegation for female founders. The purpose was to network, inspire, and better understand the Australian market. We learned a lot about indigenous Australia and how Australians are starting to embrace their ethnic diversity. The highlight was a small, intimate lunchtime performance with NZ singer-songwriter Bic Runga.
- Launched two new websites, Bennetto.eu and a new site at Bennetto.co.nz. Check them both out.
- Truffle squares launch! A brand new product hit the market. Our new truffle squares come in mint, raspberry and passionfruit. Passionfruit was the tricky flavour. First, it was hard to get organic passionfruit as an ingredient. Then, the dried passionfruit pulp we got sadly clumped together during processing, so we had a lot less than planned. In the end, we could only make half the amount we'd wanted to, but this is just part and parcel of doing things naturally – things don't always go as planned, and consistency can be challenging - especially when using natural products.
- Drinking chocolate gets a revamp and a new partnership with the New Zealand Endangered Species Foundation sees 10% of sales go to supporting the NZ Fairy Tern (Tara Iti in Maori), which is Aotearoa's most endangered bird, with only 37 worldwide, as well as the NZ dotterel (tūturiwhatu). As for the revamp, we changed the packaging and the recipe by swapping out coconut sugar for parnella sugar, which is rich in molasses, low GI and is easier to source as a Fairtrade ingredient.
- We hosted our first community event: 'Words Matter: Strengthening Parent-Teen Relationships'. Teacher and teen development coach Kate Lindsay came up from Invercargill to deliver a workshop to parents on alternative ways to communicate with their teens. Of course, it has nothing to do with chocolate, but what an excellent opportunity to support an important cause.
- We released our Original Dark bar in new packaging to support the NZ rock wren through Forest and Bird. We think it’s our cutest bird yet!
November: Bennetto goes to the Brits
- UK launch! We got our first foothold in the UK market when we launched our online store on Amazon.co.uk. At the same time, we introduced our new 80-gram range. New Zealand and Australia will get their first sneak peek from April 2024.
It's exhausting just reading all that, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. There are too many other small wins to mention, not to mention countless day-to-day obstacles to jump.
So, what's on the horizon for 2024? Currently, we're looking at our new 80gm chocolate bars reaching more markets in the UK and Europe. We certainly seem well-aligned with the trends we saw at the trade show in Nuremberg.
We will also bring out the perfect mini easter egg, which will be soft in the middle and crisp on the outside from that snap of chocolate and with all natural ingredients. We're focusing more on the international opportunities that come our way and seeing where that takes us. Ultimately, the main aim is to create a more significant positive impact through our charity work and Fairtrade commitments and to bring as much Fairtrade organic chocolate as sustainably possible to the masses.
See you in 2024!