14 December 2022

The Chocolate Journalist x Lareka

Updated: 15 December 2022

“Does hand wrapping add any real value to the craft chocolate experience? Or is it just a waste of time?”. In collaboration with Sharon Terenzi, better known as the Chocolate Journalist, we discuss the misconception about the added value of hand wrapping chocolate bars.

As consumers, we all adore to see on social media the slow pace, craftsy and fascinating videos of craft chocolate bars carefully wrapped by attentive and loving hands. Witnessing the wrapping experience is just as exciting as the unwrapping experience once we get home. However, chocolate makers don’t have our same idyllic vision of this step: hand wrapping means dedicated employees, an allocated space in the factory, long waits that can slow down production, more efforts and potential problems.

It’s a tedious task, and many chocolate makers would rather dedicate themselves to more “core” and creative activities than hand wrapping.

Today I take the chance of partnering up with Lareka, a Dutch company with 20+ years of experience in chocolate wrapping machines, to start this conversation with you all. After acquiring many craft bean-to-bar chocolate makers as their clients, with famous names such as Dandelion Chocolate, Casa Cacao Girona, Vinte Vinte, Encuentro and Taucherli, here is their take:

“While scaling up to bigger bean-to-bar machines can objectively have a detrimental impact on the overall quality of craft chocolate, letting a machine wrap your bars doesn’t take away the craftsmanship inside the product. Customers will enjoy the same exact flavors, textures and nuances.

Actually, the feedback we received from our clients is that their chocolate’s quality has surprisingly increased, since our machine freed up a lot of time in their busy schedules to focus on new recipes, innovative flavors and R&D efforts. And since craft chocolate makers already wear so many hats, taking the wrapping task off their long to-do lists seems to be a big relief. Other important advantages of automating the wrapping process include:

  • Time saved
  • Employees allocated in more efficient tasks
  • Higher production capacity (therefore more wholesale opportunities)
  • More precise packaging with less mistakes and waste

We see medium-size chocolate makers still wrapping thousands of bars by hands, and it looks like a lot of effort that could be avoided.” So the question for you is: if you could afford a chocolate wrapping machine, would you buy it? Or would you keep wrapping by hand? 

© The Chocolate Journalist, 2022

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