Calum Haggerty, founder and director of the company that was established in 2013, is our next guest on our Creative Conversations podcast - and in an illuminating discussion he tells us how COCO is “a broad canvas for artisans and artists alike”.
COCO says it meticulously crafts its portfolio of contemporary chocolate with the world’s finest Colombian cocoa, ‘before enveloping them in original designs by independent artists. It is a place where creativity and cocoa collide, no compromise on style or substance'.
“As the name suggests we are a chocolate business based up in Edinburgh and what we do that's slightly different from maybe other businesseses is we have quite strong USPs,” says Haggerty.
“If anyone has seen any of our products the first one is quite obvious ... it’s our visual identity. Basically every product we make is a collaboration with an artist or designer. So we almost have like a gallery description type of label on the front of each one of our products where we put the artist and designer at the front and centre of the product”.
Apart from the aesthetics, Haggerty says the other unique aspect of COCO, which only deals in couverture, is how it sources its ingredients – he says that’s not a unique USP in the industry per se, but COCO does strive to source its cocoa only from origin countries, mainly Columbia.
“I guess to understand why this is different ...you need to understand how the industry currently works. So predominantly 60-70% of the raw commodity, the beans, will come from West Africa … Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana - and is sent to Belgium or Switzerland in order to be produced.
"We're taking the lowest value product from origin and then creating all the value in the developed economy. So what we try and do, the way we source our products, is we have the couverture produced in origin, actually in Colombia, so it creates more value at origin ... they have a larger tax take and they are creating a bigger skill set there. And, like I said, it's really about keeping more of the value of the finished project at origin.”
Haggerty says that running COCO is a challenge, but one that he loves. The company exports its products to over 16 countries and he is continuously looking at expanding its brand portfolio into other markets, particularly vegan and gifting, in the future.
- Listen to the interview in full – and if you would like to be featured as a guest send an email to editor Anthony Myers.