Divine previously was stocked mostly in natural retail chains such as Whole Foods Market and World Market in the US.
Now the firm has secured additional SKUs in Harris Teeter supermarkets, seasonal listings in Target, and new distribution in Kroger, Meijer, Roundy’s and Ahold as well as in a specialty shipper in CVS’ California estate.
Retailers drawn by ethics and quality
The company - 33% owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farming cooperative in Ghana - claimed that supermarkets were drawn by the brand’s ethical stance and premium positioning.
“Not only has Divine’s farmer-ownership and ethical credentials made the brand a success in the natural channel, but its excellent product quality and flavors, as well as beautiful packaging, has meant Divine has also been able to break into the specialty and grocer sectors,” Charlotte Borger, communications director at Divine Chocolate, told ConfectioneryNews.
Divine established a US subsidiary in 2007 and 30% of sales currently come in the US – that proportion is now expected to grow.
Borger said that Troy Pearley, formerly of Ghirardelli and Godiva, had played a big part in securing the new deals since he joined Divine in 2013. He was promoted to vice president of sales in July 2014.
Pearley said: “Our growth in high-end chains like Harris Teeter is a further testament to the great quality of the product, while moves into Kroger and Target fourth quarter seasonally sees Divine taking its place alongside the premium chocolate big players.”
The US premium chocolate market is led by Lindt, through its Lindt USA subsidiary and Ghirardelli and Russell Stover businesses.
Divine’s range in the US includes 15 100g bars and two 14 g bars as well as seasonal offerings. The company recently added new flavors such as Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Mango and Coconut, and Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Truffle.
Borger said that Divine would continue to work with its third party manufacturer to supply the additional demand.
Divine posted $6m in sales in 2013, up 16% on the previous year.