This year, Easter goes digital: Callebaut® supports artisan chocolatiers with new online platform ‘Not Without My Chocolate’
Even during lockdown, Belgians can treat themselves and their loved ones to the finest Belgian artisan chocolate
3 April 2020 – With the key Easter retail period approaching, Covid-19 has hit our Belgian chocolatiers hard – but the industry is putting up a fight by letting loose its creative side. To give extra support to the nation’s artisan chocolatiers, Belgian chocolate brand Callebaut is bringing the online platform 'Not Without My Chocolate' to Belgium – and it’s counting on consumer support to make it a success: "This year, more than ever, buy your Easter eggs and chocolate delicacies at the chocolatier around the corner and support local business."
Spring is a peak period for Belgian chocolate
The impact of Covid-19 on Belgian traders is unprecedented, and our country’s chocolatiers are going through a difficult period. As food stores, they are able to keep their doors open for their customers while ensuring that they respect the measures taken to tackle the virus – but unfortunately, many stores are deserted. The timing couldn’t be worse: Easter is around the corner, the beginning of a peak period for the Belgian chocolate sector.
Kristof Bastiaens, Sales Director Barry Callebaut Gourmet Benelux:
"Easter is one of the busiest periods of the year for our chocolatiers, accounting for 30% of their annual revenue. Many chocolatiers have been preparing for weeks. Other festivities such as Mother's and Father's Day are also coming up. The presence of Covid-19 at this time of year is a serious blow for these local businesses. The online platform 'Not Without My Chocolate' has been set up to support our chocolatiers. By joining this platform, artisan chocolatiers can continue to reach their customers in this period of 'social distancing' – and Belgians can continue to enjoy Easter eggs and Belgian chocolate."
This year, Easter goes digital
Every chocolatier in the country can join the new platform: all you have to do is create an account and a profile. Retailers can also specify the services they offer (home delivery, online ordering and/or collection in the shop). Thanks to an extensive search function, customers can easily find their own neighborhood’s chocolatiers and pastry chefs, and can filter by place of residence, name and type of shop and delivery method. Once they have found their preferred chocolatier, they can place their order of Belgian chocolate through the chocolatiers' own channels.
"Today, we already have 73 Belgian chocolatiers signed up to 'Not Without My Chocolate'. The platform has been very well received by our clients, and we hope that more and more chocolatiers will join in the next few days. These days, many chocolatiers are focusing on online sales, orders by phone or email and home deliveries, but not everyone is at the same stage. With the platform, we want to give them extra support. Thanks to 'Not Without My Chocolate', even chocolatiers who have had to close their shop will still be able to continue working. We want consumers to know: "your neighborhood shop is still there for you – do not forget them".
Creativity equals visibility
Stephan Dumon, chocolatier at Puur Chocolat Brugge (St. Andries), has already joined the platform. "Of course, we would prefer to see our customers face-to-face in our shops – but exceptional times call for creative solutions. Thanks to our partner Callebaut, we maximize our visibility towards our customers and can continue to serve them during this difficult period. In addition, we also take orders by phone or email, and are communicating via social media more than ever. We’re also seeing that our customers are becoming more creative themselves: for example, there are companies that order postal packages so that they can send their employees Easter eggs at home instead of at the office. We also want to give those initiatives a boost with 'Not Without My Chocolate'.”
Callebaut also supports chocolatiers in 7 other countries with the platform. In times of corona, the #NotWithoutMyChocolate campaign brings together chocolatiers from all over the world.