We’re the world’s first fully plant-based chocolate factory producing a complete range of dark, non-dairy milk and white chocolate on modern European machinery at our factory in Bali. We started making chocolate in 2010 with the goal of producing premium, direct trade artisanal chocolate where the cacao is grown. Over the past decade we’ve grown from a small thatch roofed hut to a world class factory with modern machinery and international food safety management systems producing some of the best chocolate in the world.
In 2010 when we started making chocolate local cacao farmers had all but abandoned their farms. Pests were rampant, quality was poor and the price paid for beans was a fraction of market value. We spent two years working with farmers to develop a simple yet sustainable farming model using microorganisms and improved pest management instead of intensive chemical agriculture. We worked tirelessly to improve post-harvest techniques such as fermentation and solar drying to dramatically improve the quality of the beans. Within two years production in the farms had doubled and with much higher quality we were able to pay a much higher price – often double what farmers were previously being paid.
Coconut Blossom Sugar
From cacao we turned to other ingredients in our value chain. Our second biggest ingredient was sugar. In 2014 we started working with local coconut and lontar farmers to improve the quality of their sugars so we could use this much healthier unrefined sugar in our chocolate instead of white refined sugar. When we started working with sugar farmers the moisture content was high and the purity was low. Over time we were able to dramatically improve the quality of the sugar and subsequently pay a much higher price in addition to providing economic security with a stable market.
Cashews & Coconuts
Our third biggest ingredient was milk powder. Indonesia does not produce milk powder suitable for chocolate, so all of our milk powder was imported from Australia, New Zealand or Germany. At first, it was the carbon footprint of using imported milk powder that motivated us to develop a non-dairy alternative for milk chocolate. But when we became aware of the health benefits of plant-based foods and the environmental costs and cruelty inherent in the dairy industry we were convinced that plant-based was the future. Our goal was to create a non-dairy milk chocolate creamier and more delicious than regular dairy and we feel that we succeeded. To learn more about the benefits of going plant-based click here.
In 2017 we started to look beyond chocolate bars to other chocolate products and cacao derivatives starting with chocolate spread. Popular chocolate spreads can be over 50% sugar and contain palm oil which is responsible for the widespread destruction of rainforests and habitat loss for orangutan, elephants and tigers. We’ve seen this damage first-hand and wanted to create a spread in line with our philosophy of being plant-based, sustainable, healthy and delicious. This is why we created a line of delicious plant-based chocolate spreads starting with chocolate & peanut, chocolate & hazelnut, chocolate & cashew and finally a range of spreads reflecting the many natural flavours of our chocolate bars.
The Impact of COVID19
After doubling our sales and production every year for the past three years 2020 was the year in which we planned to double our factory space and construct a new visitor centre. While this was delayed what has not changed is our entrepreneurial mindset and ability to pivot in the face of crisis. 2020 will be the most challenging year in our company’s decade long history and we plan to come through it stronger, more diversified and more resilient to future shocks. We are doing this by growing online sales channels, developing new products for emerging trends and establishing new partnerships across the world. Contact Us for more information.
What the future holds
We remain committed to raising funds via a combination of direct investment, crowdfunding and debt in order to expand our factory facilities, bring our products to a global market and continue supporting local communities.
If you’re interested in investing or supporting our expansion plans contact us here.
Co-Founder & CEO
Director, PT Bali Coklat
Toby was born in Adelaide, Australia and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu & the Swiss Hotel’s Association in 1999 before moving to Bali in 2001 where he established his first business. After spending 5 years in tourism he sold his business in 2006 to develop projects and companies to protect forests and support communities through carbon trading, conservation and renewable energy. Toby spent the next 6 years working with Michael Robison travelling extensively across Indonesia and raising over $5 million for conservation and community based sustainable development including a carbon-based (REDD+) forestry conservation project that at its peak spanned 250,000 ha and an agro-forestry renewable energy project utilizing degraded land. He also served as an advisor on environmental policy to the then governor of Papua Province as well as to the Governors’ Climate & Forest Task Force through to 2011.
In 2010 Toby tasted fresh cacao fruit for the first time and together with Michael invested in small scale machinery to see whether it was possible to create high quality chocolate from Indonesian beans. With the impact of the financial crisis and the uncertainty of climate policy in 2011 Toby decided to make chocolate a full-time endeavor. The fact that chocolate was ‘recession proof’ made it all the more attractive.
Toby has an almost intimate understanding of the chocolate making process coupled with an entrepreneurial skill set focused on achieving scale through the development and implementation of systems that ensures he can focus foremost on the growth of the business and secondly on his passion for developing and perfecting products. His goal is not only for Pod to be the ‘future of chocolate’ but for Pod’s values and strategies of sustainability and profitability to help set a new paradigm for all businesses in the future.
In 2020-2021 Toby’s goals are to strengthen the company’s resilience through innovation and efficiency while continuing Pod’s exponential growth by developing international partnerships and raising funds for expansion. Toby is married to Inda and has two teenage children. Besides family and chocolate Toby loves nature and photography. You can learn more about Toby at www.tobygarritt.com.
Director, Bean to Bar Investments & Trading (HKG)
For over 20 years Michael has initiated and invested in technology companies and environmental projects including as Founder and Director of Climate Friendly (www.climatefriendly.com) which neutralizes greenhouse gas and developing a highly acclaimed sustainable estate in Australia (www.emeraldvalleyvilla.com). Michael sold the estate in 2010 when he moved to Asia where, together with Toby he became involved in conservation, sustainable development and renewable energy in Indonesia. This led to his investment into and co-creation of Pod Chocolate over the past decade with Toby.
IDA BAGUS NAMARUPA (GUSDE)
Director, PT Bali Coklat
Gusde has been involved in Pod since the beginning and became a Director and Shareholder of the company in 2016. With 24 years of leadership experience in tourism businesses Gusde has broad experience complimented and strengthened by his almost incomparable knowledge of Bali’s unique culture. As expertly as he directs Pod’s Edutourism activities he also coordinates and manages the company’s licensing and compliance requirements working between local and central government bodies facilitated by his long term and established networks. Gusde has three children and is an avid runner and nature lover. He is also Bali’s Coordinator for the 'Gerakan Relawan Kemanusiaan’ (Humanitarian Volunteer Movement) which among other humanitarian initiatives is currently leading Bali’s recovery from covid-19.
Inda Trimafo Yudha
Commissioner, PT Bali Coklat
Inda is from one of Bali’s prominent royal families and Granddaughter of National Hero and namesake of Bali’s airport, I Gusti Ngurah Rai. Following a successful career building her family business ‘A True Bali Experience’ encompassing Bali Elephant Camp and Ayung River Rafting, and Chairing the Bali chapters of JCI and HIPMI (Indonesian Association of Young Entrepreneurs) while developing an extensive national network, Inda ran for Badung Regency Parliament in 2019 and is now a sitting member of parliament (DPRD).
Commissioner, PT Bali Coklat
A retired Airforce General Pak Suratto has held extensive senior Board positions in national level state run enterprises ranging from Airport to Port Authorities. He is recently ‘re-retired’ as Commissioner of the National Port Authorities (Pelindo) having been brought out of retirement by the current President. His passion however is helping the less fortunate. Amongst his many personal philanthropic activities he has established a wonderful school (Sekolah Alam Cikeas), an orphanage for abandoned babies, a medical and dental clinic, a ‘free’ restaurant and renovated countless houses of disadvantaged communities.