In May 2018, the company launched a brand refresh, which included updating the corporate logo, using local artist illustrations on its wrapping, and taking the company’s name to heart. “The Pacific Northwest and Seattle have become super hip, cool places, and people want us, with our name, to own that,” says Kirsty Ellison, director of marketing at Seattle Chocolate. This resulted in a new tagline: May chocolate be your umbrella. “We’re acknowledging that it rains here and laughing about it in our own way,” says Thompson.
The Seattle Chocolate brand refresh includes new bars such as Hikers Trail Mix, embracing the Pacific Northwest.
Paying it forward
As much as she loves her products, Thompson wants her company’s legacy to be more than an indulgence. That’s why, in 2012, she started jcoco, a premium brand of solid chocolate bars for the foodie adventurer. Whereas Seattle Chocolate focuses on safer flavor combinations, jcoco pushes the flavor profile with ingredients such as toasted edamame beans or a combination of white chocolate, orange and cayenne pepper. The real story, however, comes from giving back.
“Everybody always asks for chocolate at events and fundraisers,” says Thompson. “And we always say, ‘Yes.’ But it felt like we weren't really making a difference anywhere.” Thompson refocused her corporate giving efforts. “Chocolate is a food, and one in six Americans are food-challenged,” says Thompson. “While our food is nice to have, people are living without their lunch."
In response, Thompson decided to partner with food banks, donating a serving for every bar sold in areas where the company has distribution. Currently, that means New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. The goodwill program includes a partnership with Alaska Airlines in which the airline gives away a jcoco bar to its gold members. To date, they’ve provided more than 2.7 million food servings, with the goal being 10 million. “We’re passionate about supporting our community,” says Thompson. “Chocolate is one of the few foods where you share and commune around it. Why shouldn't we have the ability for neighbors to help neighbors by giving back?”
In 2012, Seattle Chocolate started jcoco, a premium brand of solid chocolate bars for the foodie adventurer.<