High-End Chocolate Brand Ban&Choc Completes CNY 20 Mn Series A Financing

Consumer Staples Author: Notrice May 13, 2024 05:56 PM (GMT+8)

EqualOcean has learned that the premium chocolate brand Ban&Choc (斑马与巧) recently completed a CNY 20 million Series A financing. The details of the investors have not been disclosed, but it is reported that the company's valuation has exceeded CNY 100 million. The primary focus of this financing round will be on expanding the product matrix, developing proprietary channels, and expanding storefronts.

Ice cream / popsicle

Established in 2020 and headquartered in Shanghai, Ban&Choc is a brand specializing in high-end snacks. Formerly a supplier to top luxury brands in global fashion, automotive, and hospitality industries, the company has been dedicated to high-end chocolate manufacturing for thirteen years. After three years of research and development, the company successfully launched two major product series: Ice Cream Chocolate and Cocoa Nut Clusters. Among them, Cocoa Nut Clusters became a best-selling product, selling 280,000 cans from its launch on November 5th last year until January 31st this year, achieving sales of CNY 15 million.

According to information obtained by EqualOcean, Ban&Choc considers the exquisite taste of its products to be one of the key factors contributing to its success, accounting for 60% of importance in the development process. Therefore, each new product undergoes blind tests with over 1,000 participants before being marketed, and only those with over a 95% positive rating are released for sale. In recent years, with the rise of new consumer trends, the concept of health has become an important hallmark for brands, and Ban&Choc is no exception. In pursuit of ultimate healthiness, its products not only achieve absolute zero sugar, zero coloring, zero artificial flavors, and zero preservatives, but also eliminate soy lecithin, boldly printing the ingredient list on the front of the packaging.

Currently, 90% of Ban&Choc's sales come from online channels, including private domain communities, JD.com(京东商城), and Tmall(天猫商城), while offline channels have entered Ole' Boutique Supermarkets, with expansion plans underway for channels like Fresh Hippo(盒马鲜生) and Walmart. According to official data, the company achieves a quarterly repurchase rate of 22.6% without any advertising or traffic input. In an experiment conducted in April, despite no promotional activities, the daily user repurchase rate still reached around 65% from the previous month. Ban&Choc has been consistently profitable since its products hit the market.

Although the company's main products are chocolates, Ban&Choc initially targeted the chocolate products market rather than the pure chocolate market, distinguishing itself from brands like Dove and Ferrero. In supermarket shelves, any food containing cocoa liquor or cocoa butter is classified as a chocolate product, while those with over 50% cocoa content are considered pure chocolate. This is because China's pure chocolate market is worth just over CNY 20 billion and is dominated by numerous leading brands, leaving little opportunity for new entrants. Moreover, pure chocolate is mostly associated with gifts and has demand only during holidays, leading to significant fluctuations in sales throughout the year, with January and November-December accounting for 70% of total annual sales. Therefore, the chocolate products market offers greater development potential.

Meanwhile, in recent years, Ban&Choc has also opened offline stores in Shanghai that are different from other domestic and foreign chocolate brands. Forty percent of sales come from cocoa drinks, 40% from semi-standard cocoa baked goods, and the remainder from cocoa ice cream and pure chocolate. The company plans to establish over 50 stores in Shanghai by the end of 2025.