Divine Chocolate is a successful model of a social business. Since its launch, in 1998, the company’s main goal was to accomplish an ambitious social mission: to empower the cocoa small producers in Africa and the chocolate lovers.
Photo source: eloiseasmith.prosite
Although it is based in UK, 45% of the company is owned by Africa’s most successful cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo. The cooperative is based in Ghana and includes 65,000 cocoa farmers.
The route of success
The story began in 1997 when farmers from Ghana decided to launch a fair trade chocolate brand of their own. With the help of a Tim Trading, The Body Shop, Christian Aid and Comic Relief, Kuapa Kokoo cooperative sets up The Day Chocolate Company.
In 1998 Divine milk chocolate is launched into the UK confectionery market. It was not an easy task to enter the market. UK has one of the highest consumption of chocolate in the world with a chocolate market filled with hundreds of brands.
Since the beginnings, Divine used celebrity endorsements. The first who helped promote the brand, was English comedian Ben Elton, who appeared in a Divine ad in 1999.
A very close approach to the kids and young people was another strategy. The company launched different successfully competitions. In one, young people were challenged to express their view and ideas in lyrics. Top writers like Jaqueline Wilson, Adrian Mitchell and Michael Morpugo helped choose the winners.
The story behind Divine Chocolate was a great advantage in positioning the brand on the market. Divine executives, even few farmers, visit buyers and tell them the story of Ghanaian co-operative.
In 2007 the company changed its name to Divine Chocolate Limited. A brand new livery featuring traditional West African Adinkra symbols made the products more attractive. In the same year Divine Chocolate opens for business in USA.
In 2009, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, Sophi Tranchell, is awarded with the first Dahrendorf Award for leadership in social enterprise by FIRST magazine in London.
The story of Kuapa Kokoo, the co-operative that uses most of the profits for children education and poverty alleviation become great attraction for the West. Tony Blair and Melinda Gates are among those who visited the Ghana community. Coldplay’s lead vocalist, Chris Martin also meet Kuapa farmers in 2005 when he promoted Make Trade Fair campaign organized by Oxfam.
In 2005, Divine Chocolate run the first national advertising campaign featuring young women from the Kuapa Kokoo community. The ads run many years and had great success.
Divine Chocolate gives farmers not only share of profit, but a stronger voice in the cocoa industry. Kuapa farmers representatives often came from Ghana for different business meetings held in UK. Also, one of four Board Meetings every year is held in Ghana.
The Divine chocolate products are made in Germany. The products are distributed through grocery, specialty stores and online at www.divinechocolate.com.
Have you ever bought a fair trade chocolate from Divine?
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