From humble beginnings involving home ovens and hairdryers, to leading the way in clean and healthy chocolate – yes, it can exist! The team caught up with Glenn Yeatman about the evolution of artisan bean to bar chocolates.

What is your company background?

“Our story begins in the unspoilt environment in the Solomon Islands in 2006 when C-Corp Ltd established its cocoa business on the island of Guadalcanal. By 2014 C-Corp had become a totally integrated cocoa producer, processor and exporter working directly with our network of cacao growers who sustainably produce premium quality, naturally organic cocoa beans. We proudly oversee the entire chain of production from selecting and grading our cacao beans in the Solomon Island to roasting and producing our chocolate bars in our Mount Maunganui chocolate factory.”

How did you start the business and who are the owners?

“C-Corp NZ Ltd was started in February 2013 by business owner and managing director Clive Carroll and myself Glenn Yeatman as general manager. Clive had employed me as General Manager to oversee the Solomon Islands operation and whilst living there I was impressed at the quality of cacao produced in the perfect conditions that Guadalcanal provides. I bought home some of our raw cacao bean, roasted them in our home oven, broke up the beans with my fingers and blew off the husks with my wife’s hairdryer, blended the resulting nibs in the blender, and there started my vision for a quality pure unmodified chocolate bar! I bought back that idea to New Zealand and engineered our production line from raw cacao bean to wrapped bar over the past 4 years.”

What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“As true chocolate lovers we are passionate about preserving the distinctive Solomon Island origin of our prized cacao and bring to the market a pure product. We currently produce six different flavours of our Solomon’s Gold Single Origin 55g dark chocolate bars. These stand out in the growing chocolate market as a pure, gluten and dairy free, nut, soy and vegetable oil free healthy dark chocolate – we do not add anything to the pure cacao ingredient other than an unrefined coconut sap sugar, and then a natural plant based essential oil. This means our product tastes amazing as well is naturally high in flavonoids and antioxidants. Artisan bean to bar chocolates are becoming more popular as more people like to know where their foods come from and how they are sustainably grown and fairly traded – which our does.”

Has there been any company news?

“We were recently featured in an article the Nadia! Magazine. In 2016 we made Finalist in the Bay of Plenty Export Awards, we also feature in our local Seriously Good food show with chocolate for cooking demos and classes. Recently my supportive wife Angie joined us at the factory full time and now my grown up daughters are helping out too as we keep up with growth.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward?

“We are excited for the future as we establish ourselves in the ‘clean and healthy eating’ market of New Zealand. I would like to see our production line effortlessly and efficiently run on a large scale, educating the public on how real chocolate should be made and perhaps showcasing that in our tourist friendly Bay of Plenty. We are exploring overseas all the time and have a growing export market.”

Where are the products currently available to buy and are you looking at expanding your availability?

“Our range of chocolate bars are currently available in a wide variety of speciality stores and Cafes in Tauranga, Taupo and Hamilton, a number of the Hardy’s Health stores and Bin Inn stores nationwide stock our chocolate as well. In Auckland we are available in five of the Farro Fresh (Huckleyberry) stores. We have just been approved to supply the Foodstuff Company so will no doubt be available in health sections in their stores too very soon. We have a great website where market our products also.”