Dear Alter Eco fans,
If you're reading this letter, you probably saw our new packaging and immediately wondered what was going on. Maybe you even noticed some slight changes in the flavor of your favorite chocolate bars.
And if you're anything like us (food-obsessed, devoted to environmental responsibility and social justice), you've probably got a lot of questions. Did Alter Eco sell out to Big Chocolate? Did we start cutting corners on our ingredients? Has our commitment to social or environmental responsibility wavered?
Absolutely not! We are as fiercely independent as ever, we've actually upgraded the quality of our ingredients, and our commitment to fair trade and creating an organic carbon neutral product is still unwaveringly strong.
So what's going on? Here's the deal: we had to transition to a different chocolate-making partner. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that if we didn't make the change, it would have put our whole company at risk. Change is never easy, but along with the change in chocolate-makers, we were able to introduce some really good things that we'd been wanting to do for years.
Our new chocolate-making partner is a master of the same traditional Swiss methods that you've come to love in our bars (like extra-long conching times to create an amazingly smooth bar without any stabilizers or additives). But along with this traditional know-how is a passion for innovation. Here are just a few of the new things you'll see - check out our FAQ for more info.
- We've started using the prized Ecuadorian "Nacional" beans from the progressive Fortaleza cooperative - some of the finest beans in the world. We know their fruity-malty taste is a little different than what you might be used to, but after a year of taste testing, we're pretty excited about this one. We've made slight adjustments to our recipes to harmonize with the new flavor profile; we hope you like them!
- We've introduced a bar that's a bit thinner. This shape has been used in Europe for a while now - the increased surface area allows for the bouquet of the chocolate to be fully released, which makes for a more intense and sensual experience.
- We're going to be able to innovate with new products a lot more in the months and years to come. We have so many ideas we can barely contain ourselves. Our newest bar is the Dark Coconut Toffee bar with butter and sea salt. We're pretty much addicted to this one. Watch the shelves for more, or sign up for our newsletter for the inside scoop on what's to come.
Since we were already changing the shape of our bars, we decided to give our packaging a makeover at the same time. We really wanted to celebrate the color and vibrancy of our co-op partners all over the world, and infuse our packaging with the feeling of the wonderful flavors and textures inside. We also wanted something that felt more hand-crafted, to reflect the artisanal care that goes into all of our products-we were inspired by local murals from around the world, and the amazing art of sign-painting.
We know that it's always a bit unsettling when a much-loved brand goes and changes things up, and we just want to reassure you that we're still the same 'conscious foodies' as always - just a little more evolved! We've been testing our new bars and packaging with our team and customers for a year, and the feedback has been great so far.
Thanks so much for your support over the years. We sincerely hope that you continue to enjoy our foods. We'd love to know what you think - please feel free to reach out with thoughts, comments, questions, or if you're just feeling chatty. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on facebook at AlterEcoSF.
On behalf of the entire Alter Eco team, thank you.
Mathieu and Edouard, co-founders of Alter Eco