…for the first-time ever, USDA certified organic chocolates are manufactured in Trinidad and Tobago
(San Juan, Trinidad & Tobago) – Associated Brands Industries Limited (ABIL), local manufacturer of a wide range of quality chocolate products, are pleased to announce the acquisition of a US-based Company, OCHO Candy. OCHO Chocolates are 100% Certified Organic, non-GMO, Fair-Trade and Gluten-Free with a vegan option. The name OCHO was derived from the words Organic CHOcolate, honouring its delicious taste and innovative spirit.
The OCHO Chocolate factory, originally located in Oakland, California, USA, has now relocated to ABIL’s headquarters in San Juan. ABIL Group CEO/Deputy Chairman, Nicholas Lok Jack explained the company’s latest achievement, “There is no doubt that we met some challenges, but we persevered, and as a result we were able to move a fully functioning factory from Oakland to San Juan. This was a monumental task during the COVID-19 backdrop, and now for the first-time ever, USDA organic certified chocolates are being made in Trinidad and Tobago and sold to several distribution outlets in the United States such as Wegmans, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, Sprouts and Target. This project is extremely dear to us, and I would like to thank everyone who was involved from inception up to this point.”
He continued, “In today’s world, healthier and sustainable options are important to consumers. Organic OCHO Candy is the only bar that is gluten-free and certified organic by USDA in the region. It is one of the most scrumptious and surprising chocolates on the market and most importantly, affordable and accessible to everyone. We use the finest, certified organic ingredients as we craft our bars with house-made, small-batch fillings – a difference you can taste in every bite. The chocolates are truly all natural which makes it better for you, and the environment. What’s inside counts!”
Our OCHO Chocolates are available in two sizes: OCHO Minis which are sold in a pouch, and OCHO Bars. The OCHO Minis are offered in Coconut, Peanut Butter, Caramel and Peppermint, while OCHO Bars are Coconut, Peanut Butter, and Caramel with Peanut fillings. The Coconut is 100% vegan. There will also be seasonal offerings in the near future.
In addition, Ronald Sampath, General Manager of Charles Chocolates, who is also intimately involved in the project said, “We are truly excited to introduce OCHO Chocolates to the local, regional and international markets. We have over 49 years of chocolate expertise and our chocolates are sold in some of the most demanding markets worldwide and its those same products which are available in our local market. Not only does ABIL have the industry knowledge and required skill set to launch and manufacture products like these, we have the necessary resources along with a top-class, state-of-the-art and modern manufacturing plant with the necessary certifications that meet international standards.
Mr. Lok Jack added, “As a market-oriented company, we understand that our portfolio of products must resonate with all our consumers who have differing needs and desires. This product range allows those who want organic products to be satisfied. In this case, there is no compromise on taste as this delicious-tasting product will also satisfy those who do not seek organic.”
For the business community, he hopes this achievement resonates and inspires them to reach international audiences, “As a manufacturer, Associated Brands Industries Limited is 100% home-grown, and Organic OCHO Candy will be sold and marketed to our local consumers, the Caribbean region, major US retail stores and soon worldwide. This is the vision of internationalization that we have embraced, as we look towards the future and continue to expand our portfolio with innovative product offerings.” His advice to local manufacturers is “to think big and develop a long-term plan”.
OCHO Chocolates are now available at stores and supermarkets, island wide at TT$10 for a chocolate bar and TT$25 for the pouch with minis.