Green and Black’s Organic
Green & Black’s is a UK based chocolate company whose main manufacturing plants are located in Italy and Poland. Its unique factor is that its products are 100% organic. It is aptly called Green & Black as ‘green’ stands for the fact that it is natural and ‘black’ stands for the rich dark color of cocoa from which its products are made. Its products include; various types of chocolate, ice cream, drinking chocolate and biscuits.
Green & Black’s claims that it manufactures its products using the best organically grown and produced ingredient. This means that they do not use crops that are sprayed with pesticides or grown with artificial fertilizer. Green & Black’s claims that its products are 100% organic can be proved by the fact that its products are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). In addition to this, its naturalness is shown by the fact that it meets the standards set by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) (Clarence-Smith 22). The company also visits the farms where the cocoa beans are grown in the Dominican Republic (DR) in order to ensure that the beans are grown using the specified organic methods. The company believes that organically grown cocoa beans are of higher quality than commercially grown beans, and that they have a distinct delicious taste.
In addition to this, Green & Black’s also uses ‘green’ packaging materials. The company states in its website that it uses as much recycled and recyclable material as possible; the outer parcel, gift box, gift card, enveloped and brand booklet used in packaging are made from 100% recycled paper. Moreover, the void fill is completely biodegradable. Green & Black’s also uses water or vegetable based inks where possible in order to conserve the environment. Therefore, all its actions are environmentally sustainable; from the growing of the crops, to the manufacture and packaging of the final product. Green & Black’s works with its suppliers to ensure that they produce packaging that conforms to their specifications.
The culture and practice of Green & Black’s is ‘Created without compromise’. To this effect, Green & Black’s is constantly researching and implementing new methods of acting more responsibly towards the environment. One of the ways in which it has achieved this is by using natural ingredients only in the manufacture of its products (Johnson 56). No artificial chemicals and flavors or genetically modified ingredients are used in the production of its products. Additionally, Green & Black’s takes initiatives to ensure that farmers have the necessary material and knowledge to produce high-quality cocoa beans organically. These are the renewable practices that the company implements in order to ensure that it fulfills its responsibilities to the environment and to society.
Green & Black’s currently employs Fair-trade practices to 90% of its product range. The company realized that cocoa farmers do not often get a fair return for their efforts in growing the cocoa beans and therefore implemented the Fair trade practice in 1994, through its Maya Gold chocolate brand. Over the years, it has spread Fair trade practices across its entire range of chocolate brands. In the Fair trade agreement, Green & Black’s pays the cocoa farmers a premium price for the cocoa beans and an additional Fair trade price. The company has also entered an agreement with the cocoa farmers where it buys all the cocoa that they can produce. Thus, the farmers get a fair price for their crops and are able to maintain their families, therefore improving their standards of living. This shows that Green & Black’s acts sustainably to both humankind and the environment. Green & Black’s has committed to invest around ₤ 400,000 per annum for eight years to improve the welfare of the Dominican Republic’s cocoa growing communities. These monies will be invested through Fair trade premiums and direct investments. It supports the sustainability of cocoa growers in the Dominican Republic by improving the infrastructure in the cocoa growing communities. Currently, Green & Black’s is the world’s largest Fair-trade and organic brand by sales volume.
Green & Black’s has enjoyed tremendous growth over the years by positioning itself strategically in the market. In the early to mid 1900’s, Green & Black’s chocolates did not have a significant market share since people were unfamiliar with the concept of organic confectionary. It was stocked mostly in specialist stores and the organic section of supermarkets. Despite being well known in the market, majority of the market were not receptive towards it. However, in the late 1990’s the company repositioned the brand as a luxury premium chocolate by embarking on an aggressive advertising campaign where it portrayed itself as a unique, mature and premium product with a dark color and bitter taste to match these qualities. This strategy drew the market’s attention to the uniqueness of the products.
The positioning statement was a captivating ‘It deserves a little respect’ and this helped it to earn respect and recognition in the market. Green & Black’s changed the packaging of its products to the current high quality, dark outer parcel with its brand name inked in gold to reflect the new status as an affordable luxury. The company has also used good public relations to position itself in the market as a unique product that is acts responsibly and respectably towards the environment and humankind. It positions itself as an ethical luxury product, which adds to its uniqueness. The chocolate is available in 14 flavors, some rich and bold while others are playful and artistic thus it is a diverse brand.
Dagoba is a newer entrant into the organic chocolate market, which has gained a significant market share in many countries. Its marketing and positioning strategy has been to introduce new and unique chocolate flavors such as ‘Chai’, which has chai spices and crystallized ginger and dark chocolate lime, which incorporates a citrus flavor into the bitter taste of dark chocolate. Dagoba uses diversity and creativity as its main competitive advantage, and thus is able to compete for market share with larger manufacturers such as Green & Black’s. Green & Black’s chocolates are portrayed as mature and ‘serious’ whereas Dagoba chocolates are portrayed as playful, artistic and refreshingly different. The company’s positioning statement is ‘To open new flavor landscapes that delight and mesmerize all five senses’. It therefore positions itself as a creatively flavorful and ethical product. Despite Dagoba’s rising competitive ability, Green & Black’s maintains a higher competitive ability since it is available in ordinary retail outlets such as shops and supermarkets unlike Dagoba, which is only available at specialty grocers and organic product stockists.
Vivani, like Dagoba is sold in organic stores. It also markets itself as an artisan chocolate with unusual ingredients and flavors, and thus it defines itself by the uniqueness of its products. One of Vivani’s competitive strategies is that it targets each age group in the consumer market, unlike Green & Black’s which is positioned as a more serious and mature brand; and therefore appeals mostly to the adult market. The iChoc brand of Vivani for instance, targets the teenage and youth market and has a catchy slogan and captivating packaging in order to attract this segment. Vivani also uses unique packaging to set itself apart from other organic chocolates in the market. The painting on the packaging of each flavor is an illustration of the chocolate in visual form. The product’s competitive ability over Green & Black’s is enhanced by the fact that it is stocked in online shops. It markets itself as a quality artistic chocolate. The fact that it is currently the leading organic chocolate in the organic retail segment shows that with more aggressive marketing and positioning, it may be able to compete against Green & Black’s. Currently, Green & Black’s is the leading organic chocolate producer by volumes, and hence this proves that it outshines its competition.
Green & Black’s has been criticized by some people as not being committed to the fair trade movement as they claim to be, and they only use it to place a premium price on its products. This criticism is raised by the fact that in 2005, Green & Black’s was bought out by Kraft Foods. Kraft Foods, an American company, is viewed as being more concerned with making profits than producing organic foods and therefore it is questionable for a company with such high ethical and moral standing as Green & Black’s to generate profits for a company that does not share in its vision. Many of its customers found it paradoxical and therefore in order to show that it truly upholds its values of environmental responsibility, it should reclaim itself from Cadbury’s whose core values are different from its own (Dunning 121).
I believe that Green & Black’s claims that it is 100% organic are true. Institutions such as California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and National Organic Program (NOP) are responsible for ascertaining whether the ingredients that are used in the manufacture of a product are truly organic, and as such, they have affirmed that Green & Black’s adheres to the required organic standards. The company’s website also clearly outlines the ‘bean to bar’ process, which is simply an outline of the production stages from the farming of the cocoa beans to the manufacture of the organic products. It is a company that values honestly and customer value.
Green & Black’s pioneered the production of artisan chocolate and had 14 chocolate flavors. However, it is under threat from growing chocolate brands such as Vivani, which has over 20 flavors and Dagoba, which has 14 flavors. The company will thus need to develop more unique and captivating flavors in order to regain its competitive advantage (Nicholls & Opal 76). Additionally, the company will need to reposition itself in order to increase its appeal factor to each market segment. Green & Black’s has currently positioned itself as a producer for chocolate for the mature adult market, but in order to increase it competitiveness, it should also target other age groups such as teenagers and children. This can be done by developing chocolate flavors and brands that appeal to these markets.
Clarence-Smith, William. Cocoa and Chocolate. New York, NY: Routledge. 2003. Print.
Dunning, John. American investment in British manufacturing industry. New York, NY: Routledge. 1998. Print.
Johnson, P. S. The Structure of British Industry. New York, NY: Routledge, 2002. Print.
Nicholls, Alex & Charlotte Opal. Fair trade: market-driven ethical consumption. Southampton, MA: SAGE, 2005. Print.