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Chocolate Needed!
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bean
London, United Kingdom
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June 19, 2006 - 2:38 pm
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Help needed! Can anyone please help us to locate a small company or a talented individual who would help us firstly to develop and supply on an ongoing basis a range of very high quality chocolates for a new luxury brand that is currently in research? We can find lots of couverture but not many companies that will supply the finished product at a high enough standard! Any thoughts given will be very gratefully received....

Bean

Bean
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Sebastian
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June 19, 2006 - 5:08 pm
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Need much more information than that my friend. What type of product(s)? What annual volume do you expect? What are your packaging requirements? What are your quality standards?

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bean
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June 20, 2006 - 9:36 am
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Hi Sebastian, thanks for your reply.
Ahhh the eternal volume question that we can't answer until we are up and running!! It would be so much easier if we knew what to expect! Basic rundown is: myself and a girlfriend are at the research stage of setting up a new brand to be sold primarily on the internet, and to key high-end retail outlets. We currently run a publishing house producing a portfolio of British food magazines and we have between us 30 years of experience marketing food products both editorially and commercially. We would like to offer the ultimate box of chocolates (the perfect selection). Obviously the product must be delicious but we would like to market the product with integrity and honesty and that obviously means finding a supplier that insists on the best ingredients. We have researched the merits of high cocoa content, single estate beans, the 'grand cru' type chocolate etc etc. We are now slightly overwhelmed by the various blends available and are bowled over by the knowledge of the experts we have talked to! (Is there any information available to help with terminology?) We have sourced a good packaging company, and we ideally would like to talk to a company that can supply, pack (we will provide packaging) and send out the boxes of chocolates within a fairly short lead time. We would also longer term like to develop various ranges of chocolate with the supplier and would love to work with a company that is small enough to be able to work creatively. We would be very interested to talk to people who might be able to help. Many thanks for any responses! B

Bean

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Sebastian
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June 20, 2006 - 4:16 pm
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It's a bugger, i know, but volume drives economies of scale. The less you want, the more it will cost, and since chocolate is such an involved, complicated product to make, many processors simply won't want to address the very small volumes, even if you're willing to pay well for them. That's obviously a generalization, but i think you'll find it true more often than not. From what you've described - and i may be wrong - please correct me if that's the case - you'd fall into the 'very small' category (likely usage < 20,000 lbs/year). If that's the case, i think your best bet it to locate a supplier who you're comfortable with and who has a stock product(s) that appeal to you, and go that route. A good supplier will be able to help you locate packaging and processors who can accomidate your requests. I'm happy to help you out with the terminology, and can direct you to some suppliers (chocolate) in the EU if you're looking for assistance there as well.

Given the anticipated difficulties in having someone custom create new products for you on a small sale (again, i'm inferring here, correct if i'm wrong), you may wish to consider blends of your own. It's quite common to find products you enjoy and blend them in ratios that are specific to you - sort of like blending 3 wines at 5, 15, and 80% to develop something unique for you. That way, you're still buying stock products that are available, but you're able to make it your own. Note that some of the smaller houses that do special estate blends may only be making 10,000-14,000 lbs of finished product, but they're selling it for somewhere between %100-%150/lb. And that's their price, w/o a markup to you or transportation..

Remember that 'best' is a subjective term, and if you ask 100 people what it means, you're going to get 100 answers. You likely have done this already, but if not, it would be worthwhile to define what that means.

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wrks4choc
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June 20, 2006 - 6:11 pm
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bean, it is too bad you are not in the states, otherwise I might be able to help! Good luck, I think Sebastian has given you some great advice, there are a lot of companies that will do customized products for you, depending on volumes, etc. You may want to concentrate on the smaller suppliers, i.e. local shops and smaller companies, they would be more willing to take on that kind of account, the larger ones, unless you can give them concrete large numbers they will not be interested. Good luck!

Keep it Sweet!

Keep it Sweet!
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bean
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June 21, 2006 - 9:45 am
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Morning Sebastian thanks for your reply. Where are you based? You sound like a master of chocolate! I'd love to get up and running with basic product from a suppliers and then start playing with blending as we start learning the business. Can you give me any direction as to who might be interested in supplying us in the UK? Is blending your own a complicated process to set up eg equipment, health and safety etc? Many thanks Bean

Bean

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bean
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June 21, 2006 - 9:50 am
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Hi there wrks! thanks for your reply. I'll keep you posted! Do you make choc in the US?

Bean

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Sebastian
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June 21, 2006 - 3:05 pm
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Bean, moving discussion to your email.

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wrks4choc
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June 21, 2006 - 5:53 pm
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bean- Yes, I do, I've been doing it for love for over 20 years, and professionally about 7 years. Glad to help if you have any other questions!

Keep it Sweet!

Keep it Sweet!
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Martin Christy
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July 6, 2006 - 10:40 pm
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Bean, drop me an email if you can, or if you did already, try again!

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
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Chocolate Needed! | Chocolate business | Forum