Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, a 35-year old chocolate manufacturer based in St. Louis, Missouri, set out to take a bite of the growing chocolate bar market by launching 10 uniquely flavored chocolate bars. In order to correspond with their brand identity, the debuting chocolate bar cartons needed to exude a “craft” image – artisan, handmade, and high-quality.
“We take pride in making a premium product, but packaging is what the customer will interpret first,” says Dan Abel Jr., VP operations at Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company. “So we need to make that hook and get the customer to pick our bars up.”
For this, the team at Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company called Tap Packaging Solutions, a domestic packaging designer and manufacturer in Cleveland, Ohio, to print and manufacture 10 versions of the chocolate bar folding cartons.
“The packaging came in on budget, and the quality was beautiful,” Abel Jr. says. “The term warehousing, inventory and cash flow, everything together was just a great partnership. I can tell that Tap has the experience to bring the first draft to the table of what we want to run with.”
Entering the chocolate bar market has meant major changes, like installing high-end Swiss automated chocolate bar production equipment. However the company still maintains its original technique, based in the craft method of making chocolate – hand topping, hand decorating, and stirring the fillings in copper kettles. Their approach uses only natural, clean ingredients, and the sugar and chocolate they use is trade certified.
“I think the bar line is going to be the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” Abel Jr. says. “We run 12 bars per minute. And that’s our pace without even pushing it. It could go faster.”
Stylized with “abstract” photography, numbering, and strategic use of color for visual merchandising, the packaging that Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company’s creative team chose shied away from sheen or embossing, to correspond with the new craft branding. And of course, the bar boxes convey their motto: “changing the world with chocolate.” Abel Jr. says that 20 percent of their plant’s energy is solar powered, and all of their cardboard is recycled or donated to a shelter workshop.
The Abel family, founders and owners of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, are a dedicated group of creative business professionals. They have been doubling in size for the past few years. All five members of the Abel family are in the plant every day that they’re producing.
“We’re primarily about two things: family and chocolate,” says Abel Jr. “And we make that message clear in the new packaging.” The company is even named after the Abel’s three kids -- one “chocolate” for each.
Abel Jr. is grateful for his partnership with Tap Packaging Solutions. The 10 versions of the Craft Chocolate Bar boxes were printed digitally on Tap’s HP Indigo 30000. This was the perfect solution for them, because he wasn’t yet sure how many versions of bar boxes he needed for an unpredictable new product.
“Packaging has absolutely had to do with our growth,” he says. “I used to prefer traditional printing, but with the quality of [Tap’s] HP Indigo Digital Press, it just amazes me what it has done.”
“Always keep developing,” he says. “As soon as you stop innovating, you’re done. So we love to keep coming up with new products and innovating. It’s just part of our everyday jobs.”
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