So much crazy things have happened so fast in past few weeks, I can hardly contain my excitement as I’m typing this. First up, I want to wish everyone Gong Xi Fa Cai and happy Valentine’s Day! Chocolates make perfect gifts during Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day and everyone seems to agree because the first three batches of chocolate totally ran out. Thanks everyone for treating your loved ones to great chocolate!
If you’ve followed our Instagram and Facebook posts, you’ll also know that I’ve just roasted up the last of our stash of Tumbes cacao. Once these last few pouches run out, they would be gone…until we bring more of these cacao in that is. However, looking at the upcoming planned lineup, it doesn’t look like our warehouse would have sufficient space for more cacao.
Oh, did I just mention warehouse? Yes, that’s right. we are finally moving into a proper production facility in the Food Zone, complete with a mini warehouse! No more ghetto chocolate making in the home kitchen. Sighs of relief from my family who have been enduring loud noise from the machines. We’re now just finishing up with some paperwork with the landlord and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). New machines, new moulds and more cacao would also be brought in as soon as the paper work and renovation is done.
Setting up a food manufacturing business in Singapore is not the easiest in the world, as I’ve found out in recent months. There are basically two options.
The first option is to be a food manufacturer operating out from a production facility in the government designated Food Zone. This model allows the products to be sold through retail partners and exported internationally. Now, food zones are limited in supply, and the completed facility and process flow needs to be certified and approved by AVA. Very troublesome for the manufacturer, but as a consumer, I do feel safer knowing that my food is produced in a properly outfitted facility with stringent checks by the authorities. Food should be wholesome—that’s very important. The issue with this model is that Food Zones are typically located at the most far flung corners of the island. Our facility is in the furthest Western side of the country, just one street away from the ocean. Hardly the most convenient place for curious visitors to swing by for a factory visit—something we intend to host in the future.
The second option would be to operate a production-retail shop at a more convenient location. However, chocolates produced in this facility can’t be sold through any other retail locations and can’t be exported internationally. Rental cost of retail shops at prime locations is currently over the roof, and I don't think we're going to be making enough to cover cost.
So there, all things considered, we are going with the first option. As soon as the pieces are all assembled, we’ll be going full force ahead. You can expect to see our chocolates up on more retail fronts in the near future. If you’re a retailer who would like to carry our (really awesome) chocolate, give us a holla!