Since our launch, we have focused in two distinct areas:

1. Improving livelihoods in cocoa farming communities,
2. Improving health through nutrient-dense snacks.


Neither of our partners processed in 2020 due to catastrophic flooding prior to or during their main harvest. Therefore, we are presenting metrics from 2019 or 2020, as appropriate.


Creating Upside

Only 8.2% of US food dollars are spent on growing food. Cacao for chocolate is estimated at 3-6% of the total value. The remainder is spent on processing, packaging, transport, wholesaling, retailing, and administrating those businesses. Performing a greater proportion of these value-added activities can multiply income by 5-10x for growing communities.

We remain committed to creating finished products in growing communities. Currently, we partner with COAGRICSAL for an intermediate step (peeling cacao beans) which commands nearly 3x the world market price at origin.


Men Handing off to Women

In 2019, we worked with:

4 male farmers: Jose MD., Santos, Apoligeno, and Jose HL, on the northwest coast in the Omoa, Cortes region of Honduras. COAGRICSAL cooperative collected, fermented, and dried their cacao in its facility. 

9 female food workers: Elsa, Hilda G., Hilda P., Indira, Maribel, Miriam H., Nolvia, Rosibel, and Suyapa sorted, peeled and prepared the cacao for export.



Revenue Sharing

We began revenue sharing with our partner communities in 2019.

Our female food worker partners jointly decided to invest their allocated 4% (matched by COAGRICSAL) in nine home improvement projects or alternative investments for those who don’t own their family home.


Flood Relief

Koptan Masagena, North Luwu Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

In July 2020, our Indonesian partners experienced the worst catastrophic flooding in over a generation. Our customers and company contributed a total of $2,214 in flood relief for: 1. specific household needs, and 2. rehabilitating soil and replanting two cacao demonstration plots (model farms where farmers can learn & practice) for the cooperative.


We remain committed to short / clean ingredients lists, all-natural, non-GMO and organic (if growers are certified), allergy-friendly, and plant-based products.


Nutrient Density

In an effort to find the literal and figurative “sweet spot” between healthy and tasty, in late 2019, we launched a 65% Cacao Content Harmony (9g sugar vs. 5g) to appeal to a broader audience. As hoped, we’ve gained new customers and many existing customers now purchase both the 65% as a “treat” and the 80% as a “healthy snack.”

Our metrics present the weighted average for our sales of finished snacks and chocolate only.


Our work is unique and pioneering in many ways, yet we are not alone! We're thankful for hundreds (perhaps thousands!?) of makers and growers worldwide actively pursuing change in the same direction. We hope the insights below will be helpful to customers and industry colleagues alike.

Our Coworkers - Where Value is Added

Our customers often share that we are “helping farmers.” There are actually two parts to the work we do:

1.  We trade directly with farmer co-ops. This is like going to the farmer’s market instead of a local grocery store. A growing number of makers trade directly. This almost always results in better pay for farmers.

2. We work with women for value-added food processing. This is the more unique, and arguably beneficial, aspect of our work. These women are NOT farmers and may or may not be related to farmers. Presently, they are shift-based workers hired to sort and peel cacao. They earn a good wage + benefit from additional revenue sharing. In Honduras, this work opens doors to full-time work with COAGRICSAL.

Sell Locally First

Selling value-added food products locally before preparing products for export has several benefits:

• Builds the local economy,
• Creates the opportunity for locals to enjoy the best of the harvest (it has historically been exported),
• Caters to indigenous vs. international tastes,
• Fosters local innovation, and
• Dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of goods.

Food Processing is Not Always a Priority

Food processing requires maintaining local licenses and facilities (different from agriculture).

Despite having done food processing before, when harvests declined in Indonesia in 2018-20, Koptan Masagena's leadership kept focused on working with farmer members to prevent yield losses and improve quality. For this reason, they chose not to renew export-oriented food processing licenses.

Sort By Farm, Not By Hand

Because small cacao beans are better for snacking, our partner cooperatives have identified specific farms that have genetically smaller cacao beans. This means that even though our volumes have increased, we work with far fewer cocoa farming families than three years ago (from 26 to 4).

This farm-based sorting more efficiently allows co-ops to reach their ideal market for higher payments: smaller sizes for snacking cacao and larger sizes for chocolate makers.

Our Role in the Future

As we prepare (with COAGRICSAL) to begin producing our finished snacks in Honduras, anyone between the grower and the end customer, including us, is just another “layer” in the chain.

While we’re likely years away from completely working ourselves out of a job, we are considering the best way to facilitate direct connections between community-based co-ops and their end customers.

Missing Pieces

Local, Fair Trade, Organic Sugar: As we increase our sugar usage with Harmony 65% and other 70% cacao content flavors in development, the gap between our commitment to sustainable sourcing of cacao (direct, fully transparent) and that of sugar (organic only) becomes more evident. We have not found a viable solution which can be purchased in less than 20 Metric Ton quantities.

Sustainable Packaging: Our current packaging is plastic P7, which while *technically* recyclable, rarely is in practice. The specific challenge is finding an environmentally friendly solution that keeps our product crunchy / protected from moisture.