Sweet Success
Category: Forbes Life By : Eden Gillespie Read : 661 Date : Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 10:11:28




Anggara Mahendra

Toby Garritt, 39, is one of three owners of Pod Bali chocolate, which is making and selling high-end chocolates in Bali made from locally grown Balinese cocoa beans. As the Pod website says: “Pod Bali creates chocolate at source on the tropical island of Bali.” As such, Pod is part of a growing movement of Indonesian chocolatiers who are bringing gourmet chocolate to a country home to some of the world’s best cocoa beans, such as high-quality criollo. Toby’s vision, in simple terms, is to produce high-quality chocolate where it’s grown, as Indonesia is the world’s third largest producer of cocoa—about 300,000 tonnes—after the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Toby, who is Australian, started in 2010 after travelling around Bali’s Badung regency. Along the way, he saw some local cacao trees, which weren’t being harvested. So he set to work with local farmers and a local cocoa plantation to develop enough supply—grown organically—for a homegrown chocolate business. His Indonesian wife Indah found a site to set up the company near the Bali Elephant Camp, which is owned by her family (who are related to the Balinese national hero Ngurah Rai). In January 2013, Toby launched Pod Bali Chocolate, which operates as PT Bali Coklat, and has a sister company Khatulistiwa Kopi and Kakao. The name Pod comes the cacao tree’s pod, which holds the seeds that make chocolate. 

Fast forward to today, Pod is a major success. The company, with Toby as its chief executive and founder, has 80 staff, two factories and 72 locations selling its chocolate, including a cafe and store in a prime location in the domestic half of Bali’s airport (and bars are also sold in the international half). It also offers chocolate tours, with a second cafe on that site. Toby says Pod produces 50,000 chocolate bars a month on average. Priced at roughly Rp 50,000 per bar, Forbes Indonesia estimates Pod has annual revenues of about Rp 2.5 billion a year only from bars, not including revenue from the tours, cafes and other extensions.

The chocolate tour is a major marketing strategy—tourists want to have fun, and what could be more fun than visiting a chocolate factory to see and taste fresh chocolate made from local beans? Dubbed the Origin Factory, the factory attracts about 100 visitors a day during peak periods. One of the largest selling points is what is called the Origin Factory, where Pod officially launched in January 2013.

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