Global confectionery giant Mars Chocolate North America is launching The Cocoa Exchange – a platform that allows 'curators' to host at-home product tastings.
The company has created a range of sample kits for the platform based around three of its sub-brands: Dove Signature, Pure Dark and Pod Bean. Each kit comprises a range of products belonging to each brand – from cocoa nibs to marinades. Sampled items can then be bought via an online store. Prices range from $12-36, with curators earning 25-40% commission on all goods purchased.
When ordering a sample kit, curators will receive enough product to host four to six 'parties'. They can pep up the occasion with themed events including wine and chocolate pairings, fondue dipping or brunch. It's hoped that these at-home experiences will help to engage potential customers.
This initiative taps neatly into activating at-home foodies, a shift explored in our Kitchen of the Future Industry Trend. This looks into how consumers can be impassioned to create sophisticated and satisfying culinary experiences at home.
It also aligns well with cocoa's ongoing status as a luxury ingredient, as explored in New Food Covetables. For more in-depth research into chocolate trends, see Creative Confections and Chocolate Trends 2016.