meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.
Corporate Executive Officer
Osaka Plant Manage
Tetsuo Koyano is a corporate executive officer, plant manager in Osaka, and a Doctor of Agriculture. Koyano is the founder of "meiji THE Chocolate" and is the first to start "Bean to Bar" outside of specialty shops.
“Even though meiji THE Chocolate was first released in 2014, the core idea of "Bean to Bar" which places its focus on the “entire process” of chocolate creation began in the mid-1980s. At the time, nobody showed interest in focusing on the bean’s country of origin when making chocolates."
The origin of chocolate is the cocoa bean.
So, isn't it natural to focus on the country of origin to acquire high-quality cocoa beans? This question gave birth the phrase, "Aim for the source of chocolate!"
"It all began with the development of "Precious Cocoa" (*Classic, quality chocolates that were sold between xxxx to xxxx). The first country we visited was Venezuela. We worked with various farms afterward, but it was not until we visited Venezuela that "Bean to Bar" began."
Making “meiji THE Chocolate” is a joint effort between meiji and the countries that grow our beans, where we work together to "gather the highest quality cocoa beans." At meiji, we continually aim for excellence with an in-depth research of cocoa beans and being particular about the fermentation process that determines the aroma of our chocolates.
As there is an economic disparity between developed capitalist nations and developing nations along the "North-South Divide," we have continually aimed for change by improving the cocoa farms and supporting awareness. Our answer to this issue is the Meiji Cocoa Support (our support for the cocoa production countries and its farms).
"Many of the local cocoa farmhouses do not have refrigerators, and many have never even tasted chocolate before. But we felt that it was important for them to actually experience how delicious our chocolates are, and how special their cocoa beans are."
We wanted the farmers to have pride in making the world's best cocoa beans that were being delivered to Japan and to all regions of the world, says Koyano.
The reason for the word "THE" being included in the product name is to show that it is "the best" chocolate in the world. But if you asked me if we have succeeded in fully bringing out the Criollo bean's pleasant bitterness that we fell in love with, I'd have to say that there is room for improvement. "meiji THE Chocolate" is not yet perfect.
That is why we must continue to strive forward. So that one day, we may reach a point of world class perfection where our customers would shout out, "This is it!"
That is the pride of Japan. That is the pride of meiji."
meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.
Product Development Team
Maiko Yamashita is the one responsible for the development of meiji THE Chocolate.
Maiko designed the physical shape of "meiji THE Chocolate" which has become one of its characteristic trademarks.
"In designing the shape of meiji THE Chocolate, we believed that it would be necessary to express its unparalleled taste, aroma, and texture, as well as our unique approach to selecting the country of origin. So we went through an extensive trial and error process."
"Regularly, bitter chocolate that is enjoyed for its aroma is usually thin and sharp. On the other hand, milky chocolate enjoyed for its smooth and rich taste is usually round and thick. We collected many opinions that expressed a preference of different shapes between bitter and milk. However, meiji THE Chocolate is a new type of chocolate that cannot be compared with any other. Therefore, we felt that it would be important for it to be consistent in its design for our customers to enjoy the shape and texture."
Another aspect that we considered was "affordability."
meiji THE Chocolate is exceptional in quality; however, the price is kept "reasonable." meiji has always put the consumer cost at its central focus.
"If we were to create a different shape for each taste, it would add to the manufacturing process, resulting in higher prices. This would hinder some people to enjoy meiji THE Chocolate. This is why we were in pursuit of an original shape that represented all these values.
What we finally accomplished was "diversity" that is unique to meiji THE Chocolate.
"We created a unique, original design that introduced a total of four zones. Including a dome-shaped zone that brings roundness to the flavor, a zig-zag zone that creates a strong impression in the aroma, and so on."
This is how meiji THE Chocolate was created.
However, our ambitions do not stop here.
"I love this shape, this flavor."
These are the voices of our customers that we want to respond to.
This case was no exception as we went through many steps of trial and error. We want to make use of this experience in the future to further expand the world of chocolates. We want to continue to deliver quality products to change Japan, and the world."