July 5 2024  |  Confectionery & Fine Foods

Valrhona's culture of gifting spotlights personalization and engagement

By Alison Farrington

Gourmets & Co is a new retail offer combining Valrhona, Villers and Weiss brands, showcased at TFWA Asia Pacific which places a strong focus on sustainability and traceability

Valrhona has introduced a dedicated travel retail concept called Gift Atelier that the company says embodies the spirit of regional festivities and cultural nuances, and creates a unique and personalized gifting experience that aligns with local traditions.

“By offering tailored gift solutions that incorporate traditional elements and regional aesthetics, Valrhona enhances its appeal during festive seasons,” says Zeyneb Larabi, Head of Global Retail & Travel Retail at Valrhona. “This customization opportunity not only fosters a deeper connection with consumers but also positions Valrhona as a thoughtful and culturally attuned brand,” she adds.

The Gift Atelier is a bespoke option for travelers designed to curate bespoke chocolate gifts that will resonate with local customs and celebrations. Larobi highlights that is will significantly bolster the brand’s gifting strategy, in order to drive growth and loyalty within diverse markets.


Valrhona trialed aa Gift Atelier personalisation concept for travel retail customers to ‘enhance brand appeal during festive seasons’

Find Your Chocolate

Brands are relying more on digital services and activations to increase personalization. This trend is encapsulated by Valrhona’s new interactive ‘Find Your Chocolate’ installation that is expected to enhance engagement and increase sales.

Valrhona’s latest digital innovation allows customers to engage with the brand in a personalized manner, by guiding them through a sensory journey to discover their ideal chocolate match. The data gathered from these interactions provides valuable insights into consumer preferences, enabling the brand to tailor its offer further, by region or demographic profile. “This personalized approach is expected to drive sales by creating a memorable and interactive experience that encourages repeat purchases and word-of-mouth promotion,” says Larobi.

Valrhona is introducing more emotive and premium gifting options for travel retail

Healthy options

The chocolate category is diverse and largely follows trends in line with the wider food and confectionery category in terms of consumer preferences, according to Larobi. “We are seeing a noticeable shift towards healthier and more sustainable diet choices. Consumers are increasingly seeking chocolates that are organic, low in sugar, and free from artificial additives. There is also a growing demand for plant-based and ethically sourced products,” she says, adding it’s important to maintain an evolving portfolio that is relevant to health-conscious and ethically-minded consumers.

Fair trade practices

Promoting its sustainable production processes is an ongoing marketing strategy for the company as Larobi says it aligns with consumer preferences to choose ethical products. “Valrhona is committed to sustainability throughout its entire production line. We source our cocoa beans through direct relationships with farmers and cooperatives, ensuring fair trade practices and supporting sustainable farming methods,” says Larobi. In its production facilities, the company is focused on implementing energy-efficient processes and reducing waste through recycling and reuse initiatives. Valrhona’s packaging is designed to be environmentally friendly, using recyclable and biodegradable materials.

Having been a certified B Corporation® since January 2020, Valrhona secured the certification for the second time in December 2023. “This distinction serves as recognition of our sustainable development strategy shaped by our determination to co-create a model which has a positive impact on producers, employees, makers and everyone who loves chocolate,” says Larobi.

Barista experience

During the recent TFWA Asia Pacific conference in Singapore, Valrhona launched a new activation concept at its stand. The barista counter was designed to promote a luxurious and emotive chocolate experience, ‘where indulgence meets innovation’ and it received an enthusiastic response according to Larobi.

“Our guests were impressed by the fusion of premium chocolate with gourmet drinks, highlighting Valrhona’s commitment to innovation and quality. This activation showcased our product range and versatility; at the same time it provided a sensory experience that captivated attendees,” she shares.

Based on the success of its barista counter experience, Valrhona plans to explore further innovative promotions that blend tradition with modernity, creating unique and indulgent experiences. Future activations will focus on enhancing product quality, sustainability messaging, and personalization, ensuring that Valrhona remains a leader in the premium chocolate market,” says Larobi.

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