Article By Douglas Yu
Chocolatier Goodio is sourcing $5 million to $10 million so it can use blockchain technology to make cocoa supply chain more sustainable.
Goodio was launched by Finnish entrepreneur Jukka Peltola in 2015 with a mission of bringing positive change to the cocoa industry – “more transparent, sustainable and healthier,” according to the company’s COO Jussi Salonen.
The company created the world’s first line of chocolate with added oat flakes that contains 60% less sugar than traditional milk chocolate last year.
Salonen noted that an ideal partnership could either be with a venture capital or a private equity firm, but the most important thing is to find investors who share the same value and vision with Goodio.
“There are two investors who have invested in our company, and the latest round was €1.5 million ($1.7 million USD) back in fall . Our main investor is Mikael Hed,” the former CEO of Angry Birds’ developer Rovio Entertainment, said Salonen, adding that a number of private equity firms focusing on CPG brands is lining up, yet Goodio is still in the early stage of developing a partnership with them.
“Our plans are open at this point, but we are hoping to raise Series A funding later this year or the beginning of next,” he said.
Sustainability model combining certification and technology
A good amount of Goodio’s new funds will be used to adopt blockchain technology, which the chocolatier believes can more effectively solve the sustainability issues in the cocoa industry than certifications.
The reason is that consumers misunderstand sustainability with other logos such as organic and non-GMO on packaging, although they are willing to buy more sustainable food, according to Salonen.
“The challenge with sourcing [cocoa beans] is the need to communicate with the consumer in an understandable way. A better supply chain is fair to all parties,” he said, noting that Goodio does not bear Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance logo, and it sources beans directly from farmers in Peru, Ecuador and Congo.
To be more transparent, Salonen added that chocolate makers need to open up their entire sourcing process so consumers can know exactly where those farms are located, and whether the environment is protected.
“Blockchain can actually create smart packaging with a QR code or an NFC (near-field communication) chip to make farmers’ information accessible to the consumer. You can scan your phone over the packaging and open a website automatically,” he said.
Goodio is reportedly in talks with London-based blockchain technology firm Provenance for a potential partnership.
“Bigger CPG companies have started doing this. It will take some time for us to build the system… We are not quite there yet in terms of how it will work, but the technology is already there,” added Salonen.
Back to Nordic roots
Another part of the new investment will support the launch of Goodio’s latest chocolate line that reflects its Nordic roots.
The line includes four flavors that are printed in Finnish on the packaging: Metsä (forest), Kukka (flower), Meri (sea) and Marja (berry), and they are only available in Finland Food Market Herkku, and online via Goodio’s own website.
Salonen explained that the Nordic vision, mentality and design have always been the building blocks of Goodio from the beginning, but with these new products, the team can finally bring their regional flavors to life, although the main ingredients are still from Latin America such as Arriba beans from Ecuador.
“We are doing a tribute to Nordic nature. It’s spectacular and magical. For example, with the chocolate Meri, we use tar,” an ingredient that is unique to the Finnish cuisine, he said. The edible tar, also known as terva in Finnish, is made from tree sap extracted from burning wood.
“The cocoa nibs sprinkled on top of chocolate are dipped in tart liquor. For the Kukka flavor, we stone grind birch sugar and roses in our Helsinki factory and create tiny pieces of crystals and sprinkle them on top of chocolate,” Salonen added.
“All these products are vegan, gluten-free and are made without white sugar or lecithin.”
However, the U.S. consumer may have to wait until next year to taste Goodio’s new products since there is a limited amount of available Finnish ingredients due to the shorter summer season.
“We don’t have an official retailer partnership nailed down in the states yet. Although we have worked with Whole Foods, Lolli and Pops and some of the smaller chains on the East and West Coast, but the ideal retailers for the Nordic line are William Sonoma, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and some of the independent chocolate shops,” Salonen said.
Goodio is expected to double its global revenue to $3 million by the end of 2019.