Exclusive: Chocxo confectionery growth drive with recently appointed president
Chocxo, the North American-based low sugar, organic and Keto diet-friendly chocolate business has been continuing to make an impact with its brand within the region, as editor Neill Barston discovers, with an exclusive QandA with its president Peter Higgins.
The company, which has its headquarters in the US, and manufacturing facilities in Canada, as it seeks to expand its presence, amid a continuing boom in the better-for-you product market.
In 2021, the company, that was established in Irvine, California back in 2014, has focused on delivering simple organic ingredients and low sugar ranges, has recently sought to enhance its production operations with a new bar wrapping and advanced caddy packaging line which enables the company to offer more snacking SKUs.
As previously reported by Confectionery Production, Peter Higgins (below), joined the business as president early last year, and is responsible for continuing to build people-first teams, bolstering the company’s direct-to-consumer business, and growing distribution, as well as expanding customer connections.
How has Chocxo responded to the apparent rise within the fast rising healthier-option segment, and how challenging is it to stand out from the crowd with your offering?
A: While we do not have any products specifically within the plant-based space, our products meet the mentioned need of better-for you chocolates. Chocxo consistently delivers truly indulgent, lower sugar, organic chocolates to help meet these consumer demands. This is a unique space in the marketplace as many others either deliver organic while being high in sugar or achieve lower sugar levels without the organic credentials and natural, simple ingredients. Chocxo has successfully cemented a unique position amongst competition.
What do you enjoy most about your role as president, and what are your most significant tests in the role?
How could you not like working in a chocolate factory every day? I’ve been in the chocolate industry for more than two decades and I particularly love being part of our team creating new chocolate innovations! My passion for chocolate dates back to my childhood where I have fond memories of making chocolate fudge with my father. To this day I can recall the pure chocolate magic that comes from those emotions, family connections, and memories that chocolate brings up.
My excitement to lead Chocxo, a brand that evokes the same positive feelings, and help chocolate lovers around the world realize they can have better-for-you chocolate with low sugar and an amazing taste is a dream come true. In my role, I’ve been working to strengthen and expand the leadership team, bolstering Chocxo’s direct-to-consumer business, and growing distribution with the right partners to develop deep customer connections and of course developing new innovative indulgent and low in real sugar chocolates. When you are in growth mode, every day presents new challenges, but we have a fantastic team that collaborates to take them on and stays focused on solutions.
Presently, the US, as much as any market is facing supply chain challenges – how has the business been dealing with these?
Chocxo’s supply chain has remained consistent and with few interruptions thanks to our strong pre-planning and strategy. We are transparent about any product delays and find ways to improve our customer service despite any obstacles. At Chocxo, we make all of our own chocolates and being vertically integrated is an incredible benefit that enables us to not have very few challenges within our supply chain We have been able to keep up with our customer demand and we look forward to introducing our consumers to our new Dark Chocolate Coconut Cups that are currently in inventory to ship to the U.S. early this year.
There has traditionally been resistance from many consumers to lower sugar ranges – how do you go about educating shoppers about your options, and the wider market?
We are seeing incredible pickup and interest in Chocxo because we offer a perfect balance of true chocolate indulgence while being low in sugar. Our chocolates are truly indulgent, lower in sugar, and always organic. We embrace every opportunity to educate our shoppers on this messaging through everything we do — from our packaging to our website and customer interactions. We are committed to engaging with customers to let them know that all Chocxo products have significantly less sugar than mainstream alternatives and do so without ever using artificial sweeteners.
Consumers are trying to always be better and get more from their food. With higher cacao dark chocolates made from carefully-selected quality ingredients, they can get true indulgence and feel good about it – a win-win. Studies have shown that properties of dark chocolate have powerful health benefits, especially when those products are not overladen with added sugar. We’ve spent years developing and refining our recipes and sourcing the best-tasting ingredients to make the most delicious, truly indulgent chocolates and by sourcing the best organic ingredients, so we could make chocolates with less sugar that taste amazing.
What are your hopes for 2023 in terms of the confectionery sector’s growth?
ChocXO is a growing better-for-you chocolate company with a goal to be available everywhere chocolate lovers shop, we look forward to partnering with retailers to grow the availability of our core portfolio of truly indulgent, lower sugar, organic chocolates. Together with dedicated retail partners we can continue to meet consumer demand for great-tasting, better-for-you chocolates and help drive category growth. We also look forward to continuing to bring forward-thinking innovations to the category, continuing to demonstrate to retailers and consumer alike that there are great things to come from Chocxo.