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Pacari Chocolate: Building a Brand that Brings Joy from Tree to Bar

Summary

The case describes Carla Barbotó and Santiago Peralta’s journey building a premium, ethical chocolate brand – Pacari – in Ecuador, that has won over 160 awards including “World’s Best Chocolate” for five consecutive years. A fair-trade, Kosher and certified organic company supplying top chefs worldwide, with expected net sales of US$6 million in 2021, Pacari now employs a staff of 77, is present in 42 countries and sells 67 SKUs from cocoa powder to chocolate bars. Determined to make their chocolate “tree to bar”, the founders question why hitherto Ecuador exported its beans and imported chocolate made by foreign brands. The case explains how they made Pacari 100% Ecuadorian “from the farmer to the consumer” – encouraging farmers to grow premium beans and improve their farming methods by offering training programmes and higher prices. Their next challenge is to take the brand to the next level, convinced that Pacari has the potential to earn US$20 million in revenues by 2026.

Teaching objectives

The case allows for several strands of discussion: 1.How a small business can enter and build a brand in a market dominated by global giants. 2.How a firm can weave its mission and values into the brand-building process to create differentiation based on purpose, and which aspects can be leveraged to do so sustainably. 3.How engaging with small and marginal farmers poses challenges and creates opportunities for building a differentiated business that is sustainable. 4.How to balance a B2B with a B2C approach, manage it carefully, and the marketing levers that can be applied despite resource constraints. 5.The challenges of growth and the need for strategic focus if a small business is to expand. The case can be taught to MBA, EMBA and executive audiences in programs/courses focused on branding or marketing strategy, a session on brand purpose as a source of sustainable differentiation, a session on how small businesses build a branded business on a limited budget, or in a program on sustainability on how to engage with small farmers to build a business while alleviating poverty.

Keywords
  • Cocoa Cultivation
  • Chocolate Industry
  • Sustainable Farming
  • Branding
  • Ecuador
  • Cocoa Supply Chain
  • Sustainability and Brand Differentiation
  • Biodynamic Farming
  • Brand Communication
  • Social Impact
  • Balancing B2B with B2C
  • Leveraging PR
  • Brand Purpose
  • South America
  • Q12022