This is a particularly important step for us as a company because from day one we were extremely uneasy with plastic in our packaging.
While our envelope with the plastic window was a necessary evil to get the ball rolling, we’ve spent the past 4 years researching and testing alternative friendlier to our planet.
Beside compostability’s huge advantage, we are very excited about the shape, colour and art of the new packaging!
What was the challenge in doing this sooner?
For the chocolate to arrive safely with you, it must be in packaging which is food safe and air-tight - especially in Hong Kong’s high humidity. Many organic materials allow some air through and in a humid environment, this means potential damage to the chocolate’s quality and safety.
Growingly, there are more biodegradable materials for air-tight packaging - but almost none are “food grade” meaning safe to store food in. The good news is that scientists globally are hard at work to improve this and we are hopeful that science will develop better food packaging solutions.
Many materials which claim to be biodegradable actually do not break down when we, or third parties, tested them in real life under the conditions described by the manufacturer.
Some do - but they also break down in stable conditions meaning they will decay in the shop and expose the chocolate to the elements.
Lastly, many of these are expensive to buy, as well as to customise to size, and to work with, and as a smaller company we could not afford their minimum orders to import back when we started.
What is the plastic-looking internal wrapper made of?
The wrapper we chose for the new packaging is made of wood pulp cellulose, it composts in 60 days in anaerobic conditions - meaning it does not need oxygen but it needs moisture and natural-occurring microorganism to break it down. A good way to degrade is to stick it in the soil of your potted plants or compost, even faster if you cut it up first.
While this wrapper breaks down easily after usage, it stays safe and stable in the air and keeps the chocolate air-tight on the shop shelf or in transportation.
We import this material from Australia at the moment. We try to avoid long supply chains for their carbon footprint so hopefully similar options will be available closer to Hong Kong soon.
What about the beautiful external pack?
Visually, the paper envelope is pretty awesome. It carries so much of our initial vision we could not be happier right now.
Its main purpose is to protect the chocolate from light and the warmth of hands, making it also easier to store and ship.
Starting with the art on the front: The original five art pieces our old packaging carried were made by Alison Tan who captured our essence over one breakfast and has since become a friend for life.
The new designs, and the adaptations of the original five were made by Celine, my co-founder and life partner. Celine has never studied or worked in design so I am extremely proud to see how she rose to the occasion and applied her superb sense of taste to a completely new set of skills. She did not only learn graphic design but also the skills required to manufacture a new shape, which creates a complete 3D shape once folded to close.
You may notice the back of the envelope is cut in a staircase pattern. This shape was always a part of our branding in subtle hidden ways. This shape represents the Mayan pyramids. The ancient Mayan people were the first to create a culture of consuming cacao, with evidence going back 5,000 years (cacao beverages were only one of their many incredible inventions). It is important for us to recognise and show our gratitude to them.
The internal art piece and drawings of the chocolate-making steps were made by Merakilya, an independent creative agency. We met Ophelia over dinner with friends and found her style so captivating we had to work with her on this project. She came into our chocolate lab and researched cacao cultivation to illustrate the steps accurately.
The drawing in the centre depicts a magical, serene scene in the South American jungle, with a hidden mayan pyramid surrounded by colourful animals found in our packaging and plants. Our relationship with food has always brought us back to nature and we wanted to represent this inside each pack.
Where to find these?
We have the pleasure of having many, many products. We are transitioning products to new packaging as we finish the old, as to not throw away bags of packaging. Since starting in July 2022 far we’ve converted Yuzu, Salt & Caramel, Hazelnut, Dark Milk Chocolate, and Sichuan pepper, and plan to have all our products in compostable packaging by the end of December 2022.
We can’t wait for you to try these and share your feedback!
To find our bars, please see this page.