One of my biggest passions in life (in addition to good food) is helping animals in need. That’s why I was immediately drawn in by the packaging for Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC). Be it ESC’s superb marketing strategy or a keen eye for consumer preference, this company is one to watch in the retail space. To my delight, I happened across the ESC booth at Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) last month, and was even lucky enough to get an inside scoop on the company's newest product: Oat Milk Chocolate.
“When we saw oat milk products popping up everywhere from ice cream to coffee creamer, we wanted to see what it could do for the chocolate bar. All three of the new flavors contain 55 percent cocoa and use nothing but real ingredients—cane sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and milk made from real oats. The addition of oat milk coupled with the benefits of dark chocolate brings a healthier option to the marketplace. Through research, we discovered that there were not only health benefits but also an exceptionally smooth and sweet taste that rivals milk chocolate,” said Whitney Bembenick, Director of Innovation.
Having brought home one of each flavor from WFFS, I can sincerely attest to this chocolate’s unrivaled flavor. The creamy oat milk gives way to decadent dark chocolate, making for an eating experience that is truly unique. The original Oat Milk and Dark Chocolate, Oat Milk Sea Salt & Almonds and Dark Chocolate, and Oat Milk Rice Crisp and Dark Chocolate bars each represent an endangered species, taking the guilty out of “guilty pleasure.”
“All of our packaging received a reboot in 2019 to better align with consumer expectations and put a stronger emphasis on our real ingredients and exceptional taste while still maintaining a focus on our mission,” said Tod Dalberg, Director of Brand and Marketing. “The oat milk line’s packaging features each ingredient prominently on the front while also putting a spotlight on an endangered species inside and outside of the packaging with zebra print on the original bar, bumblebees on the sea salt and almonds bar, and gorillas on the rice crisp bar.”
According to Tod, the oat milk line is available now in Whole Foods Markets nationwide. It will soon be available to additional retailers starting April 2020. ESC is supporting the launch of the Oat Milk Chocolate line with its most extensive marketing campaign ever, including a social media campaign, digital advertising, public relations efforts, product demos, employee educational materials, sales, and promotions.
“Changing consumer trends are really the reason this product exists today. Our innovation team pays close attention to our consumer desires through extensive research. You could say our consumers really dictate where we take any new product line,” Tod told me. “Consumers are seeking dairy-alternative products, but they don’t want to compromise taste in the process. Oat milk, in particular, has become the darling of the milk alternatives. It doesn’t have the nutty flavor that almond or coconut milk brings. Instead, it gives the smooth and sweet taste that most milk chocolate lovers prefer.”
ESC has done extensive research to better understand its core consumers, including who they are, what their journey to purchase is, and where the best places to reach consumers are. Understanding consumers is critical to marketing efforts and provides ESC with an effective and efficient approach to marketing.
“The industry and consumer response have been extremely positive. Consumers have been leaving positive reviews and comments about all three flavors on our social media channels and have been reaching out to their friends and family encouraging them to try it,” Tod concluded. “We just got back from the WFFS in California and nearly everyone who stopped by couldn’t get enough of it.”
All three oat milk flavors are available in 3 oz bar size. In addition, the Oat Milk + Dark Chocolate flavor is also available in a smaller 1.5 oz size. Retailers, if you’re looking for a product that is sure to win over the hearts and mouths of consumers, take a closer look at Endangered Species Chocolate’s delectable products.