Edible Innovations: Cacoco Is Sustainable Drinking Chocolate with Biodegradable Packaging

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Edible Innovations: Cacoco Is Sustainable Drinking Chocolate with Biodegradable Packaging

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Food Innovation Program — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

Your average grocery shopping trip reveals quite a lot about the current way we conceptualize food and the packaging of food. Lots of plastic containers, plastic wrapped meats in foam containers, and aluminum tins. Even food that is ethically sourced and organic can come in plastic containers, which means the packaging could still impact the environment. At best it can be recycled, but not everyone has an easy way to do that.

There are over 250 million tons of trash in the United States alone. They create huge, expansive landfills that sit in both the earth and sea. When we think about organic foods, and a sustainable world, we often don’t think beyond how the food was grown and delivered. Today, Liam Blackmon and Tony Portugal, take the concept of sustainable food a few steps further by creating a traditional food that is ethically and organically sourced, and also packaging it in a fully biodegradable container. Their business? Cacoco, a seller of drinkable chocolate.

Behind the Scenes

The inspiration for Cacoco comes from our duo makers’ backgrounds and passions.

The Chef

Blackmon is a farm to table chef who focuses on revitalizing traditional food practices. His food comes from a direct relationship between a farm and him, not via a service. This allows the farmer to benefit and create more products specific to a restaurant’s need.

The Businessman

Portugal studies sustainable business, and is an outdoorsman. His love of nature drives his focus on zero waste packaging, while his business side brings about innovative physical product branding and working towards a greater impact on global food systems. What brings them together is a simple principle to living and work: “do no harm.”

Cacoco’s Impact

For both Blackmon and Portugal, their company must do two things: it must leave no trace and it must impact both the food and packaging systems for the better. They believe that every choice should consider the next seven generations.

Both makers believe that this simple way of thinking has been lost in traditional Western thought, and has lead to an overuse of fossil fuels and corporate industrial practices. That is where the idea for a regenerative supply chain developed for Cacoco. This type of system allows for farmers to give back to the soil and the land, making a healthier ecosystem.

In most supply and demand farming, land and soil are overworked and often fed unhealthy supplements to get larger and more frequent yields. This can create barren and unusable land, not just for farming, but for all forms of life on Earth. Cacoco allows its suppliers to tend to the soil in more traditional ways, allowing for it to regenerate, and create healthier products, healthier environments, and happier people.

Front and Center

So, what exactly does Cacoco use these sustainable practices to make? They make a delicious drinking crumble chocolate that they like to call “the molten chocolate vitality elixir.” If that alone doesn’t peak your interest, then the traditional chocolate taste, and it’s 100% compostable packing should. The chocolate crumble is made from unroasted Ecuadorian cacao.

Looking Forward

As Cacoco continues to grow, it hopes that its practices will create a ripple effect through both the food and packaging industries. By holding strong to their standard of regenerative supply chains, and creating 100% compostable packing, they wish to see other businesses follow. Their focus is on creating a healthier world, and healthier people. Luckily for us, they chose to start with chocolate!

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Chiara is fascinated by food as a means to impact bodies, minds, and environment. She has studied international business in three different countries, and is an alumni of the Food Innovation Program and US Director at the Future Food Institute.

Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, working on building the first comprehensive Internet of Food to enable food care through food systems semantics. She is a selected member of Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future, Board Member at Maker Faire and selected member of the Global Shapers, a young global network of innovators promoted by the World Economic Forum.

She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and aims to leave her mark on society.

View more articles by Chiara Cecchini


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