Relax Agency, a Los Angeles-based creative agency that works with cannabis companies and connects them with celebrity clients, forged the partnership, according to a press release.
Chong’s Choice was founded by what many consider a “pioneer” in the cannabis industry, Tommy Chong. Its existing products include per-rolls, flowers, oil cartridges and THC strips, for sale in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
“As a swiftly growing and ambitious cannabis company, we work hard to find premium partners… And in Défoncé, we know we have found a fantastic collaborator,” Chong said in a statement. “These bars are like rectangles of munchies heaven.”
The new chocolate bars produced by Défoncé include crunchy munchies, wake ‘N’ bacon, cereal bowl, mellow milk and dark daze, according to Défoncé’s CEO Eric Eslao.
A tone-downed partnership?
As a former iTunes producer, Eslao told ConfectioneryNews that Défoncé developed the entire suite of chocolate products from the ground up.
“From sourcing the chocolate to package design to even distribution, we worked hand-in-hand to develop these products,” Eslao said. “The ingredients sourced for Chong’s Choice are unique to this brand - meaning, we didn’t just repackage our Défoncé bars.”
However, Défoncé’s logo only appears in fine print on the packaging of finished products, as the company wanted the focus to be on Tommy Chong.
“When it comes to high end brands, I believe there is power in modesty. So we toned down the partnership on the actual packaging,” Eslao said.
“Outside of utilizing some of our printing finishes, mainly the soft touch black which I love, Chong’s Choice lives as a separate brand, but is now part of our Défoncé family.”
2017 is a transitional year
BDS Analytics’ latest report shows that the current edible chocolate market value, combining the states of Colorado, Washington and Oregon, has reached $35.93m, among which chocolate bars are worth $28.19m.
The cannabis industry speculates the market will grow several times bigger in the coming two years as more states are potentially legalizing marijuana.
The booming edible market, along with the lack of market data, have made it difficult for edible producers, like Défoncé, to measure their year-on-year growth, Eslao pointed out.
“We’ve been working on quarterly rolling forecasts, which we don’t divulge publicly,” he said.
“We’re 100% focused on the recreational market, so we’re looking at 2017 as just a transitional year for us,” Eslao added. “We have additional products ready to launch, but we’re waiting for the right time to bring them to market.”
Even though California has voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, The Bureau of Marijuana Control will have to wait until the beginning of 2018 to issue licenses to marijuana-selling dispensaries, according to nonprofit advocacy group, Drug Policy Action.
The current state law prevents Californians, who are legally able to possess and grow marijuana, from buying it legally.
“I can say that, with recreational sales starting on January 1, 2018, we’re preparing for a five to seven times increase in sales,” Eslao said.
No interest in gummies anytime soon
Défoncé has also started investing in a few candy lab production lines, but mainly for other brands, Eslao said.
“These products will not be sold until the recreational market opens up, solely because the lead-time on new candy equipment is long and it’s an entirely different process from chocolate making.”
Eslao admitted that he does not consume too much candy and that Défoncé products are a reflection of his “personal tastes and design predisposition.”
“You won’t see Défoncé gummies on the shelves anytime soon, unless I pick up a sweet tooth,” he said.