Harvey drinks chocolate in the Solomon Islands

It’s a long way to the shop for a local alternative to Milo.

July 15, 2023

July 15, 2023

Getting a local drinking chocolate one step closer to market

Our brilliant Jane-of-all-trades Sarah is fresh home from a trip to the Solomon Islands, helping a local drinking chocolate get one massive step closer to market. The Solomons export organic cocoa (inexpensively) to the world, but their drinking chocolate is all imported by (expensive) multinationals like Nestle and Milo. As you might imagine, their local economy is not a winner in this equation.

Introducing KOSI

Enter KOSI, a leading Solomons company that’s been producing coconut products (like body scrubs and delish virgin coconut oil) for 20 years. KOSI exists to improve Village livelihoods by investing in local production. And they’ve just added a new product range made from locally grown and manufactured coco; including the Solomons’ first homemade drinking chocolate.

Sarah jetted over to KOSI HQ to help co-founder Colin, product manager Maureen, and Bob with product testing, customer research, packaging design and rollout. KOSI are working in partnership with Strongim Bisnis, an Australian Government initiative helping Solomons businesses prosper.

Colin, Maureen and Bob at the KOSI office

Creating a Healthier Alternative

The goal was to create a local, healthier alternative to popular products like Milo, which come in single-serve sachets that are mixed with powdered milk and a bunch of other preservatives. KOSI drinking chocolate will also come in single sachets, but inside is organically grown sugar and cocoa, and that’s it. All locally produced.

We wanted to know what kind of design would appeal most to local customers. So we worked with a Solomons team to come up with six variations of the new KOSI sachets, each one with a different label.

Sachets with different stickers
Locally produced drinking chocolate

Designing for Local Customers

Some designs were bright and had borders, others had the Solomon Island flag on it, which we had a sneaking suspicion would work best with our nationally proud audience. But before we got to the label, we needed to know if the term ‘drinking chocolate’ meant anything to our customers. Or did they simply call it Milo? Was it a hot or cold drink in the Solomons? All the big burning questions.  

Sarah trained the KOSI team on the fundamentals of customer research: data collection, interviewing, setting up a research booth and tasting station, and coordinating prototypes. Once everyone felt ready, the team chose a role: host, technician, tasting or brand researcher. Next, it was time to hit the shops.

Team training in Customer Research at KOSI HQ

The two phase research booth

Phase 1. Blind-tasting

  • 2 x KOSI products
  • 2 x competitor products
  • All products were mixed up and drunk by participants. We recorded everybody’s feedback on taste and texture.

Phase 2. Brand perception

  • 6 x sachet designs
  • All six variations of the KOSI sachets were presented. Participants were asked about preferred colours, imagery and price perceptions
Sarah and the KOSI team at the research booth
A variation of the KOSI drinking chocolate packaging
Understanding local preferences

Here are some things they learned:

  • Locals mix Milo with hot water, not milk!
  • Getting attention from passersby was easy. The booth was new and exciting and many people stopped to join in
  • Getting detailed feedback was challenging, as many of the people surveyed were unfamiliar with customer research formats. Plus Sarah doesn’t speak Pigin, which is the local language. So some of the feedback got lost
  • The KOSI product samples were higher in coco than the competitors, which was an unfamiliar flavour among the participants. Many considered the taste too rich
  • Sarah thought the Solomon Islands had a sweeter palette compared to Australia
  • Parents were looking for a healthier alternative to Milo, which was fantastic news
  • Locals are really proud of where they come from and loved seeing their flag on the sample packaging

We’re so grateful to the KOSI and Strongim Bisnis team for welcoming Sarah into the community. And very keen to see some KOSI drinking chocolate on the shelves soon.

Stay tuned for more on the Strongim Bisnis + KOSI journey.

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No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
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Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
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MK Local Foods
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Merry People
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North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
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Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
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Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE
No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
Green Collar
Hagens Organics
Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
MIIROKO
MK Local Foods
Marnie Hawson
Merry People
No Lights No Lycra
North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
Peninsula Hot Springs
Portable
Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
Shadowboxer
Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE

No items found.
No items found.
22 Bricks
ABCH
ATEC
Abundant Water
Anantaya Jewellery
B Lab ANZ
BZE
Bank Australia
Client Fabric
Clockwork Films
Compass Studio
Cyclion
Dog & Bone
Evee
Gewürzhaus
Goodtel
Green Collar
Hagens Organics
Hey Doodle
Jasper Coffee
Jaunt
KOSI
KingPump
LVLY
Lumen
MIIROKO
MK Local Foods
Marnie Hawson
Merry People
No Lights No Lycra
North West Guadalcanal Association (NWGA)
OBG
One Small Step
Parliament of Victoria
Peninsula Hot Springs
Portable
Possible
Prisma Legal
ReCo
Shadowboxer
Strongim Bisnis
Studio Schools Australia
Thankyou
The Sociable Weaver
Time
WIRE
Whole Kids
iDE

Targets

Results

Clients | Help conscious business grow

No destructive clients. Revenue breakdown: 15% Good, 60% Great, 25% Amazing (Here’s what the classifications mean)

🟢
  • No destructive clients.
  • Revenue breakdown: 10% Good, 66% Great, 25% Amazing

Client survey metrics

  • 3 /5 value for money
  • 8 / 10 likely to recommend
🟢
  • 3.4 / 5 value for money
  • 8.8 / 10 likely to recommend

Maintain current revenue

🟠
  • Revenue down 16% YoY

Team | Be the best versions of us

  • All staff spend 70%+ of their time on clients
🟢
  • Spent 71% of our time on clients (over by only 76 hours).
  • Regular, honest check-ins about how we feel
🟢
  • Stand ups, development sessions, watercooler chats, impact updates and more.
  • Targeted and clear personal growth, if we are better our clients will be
🟢
  • Lots of on-the-tools growth, structured learning through weekly Lunch ‘n Learns and Intro to Programming at RMIT.
  • Improve and increase capability across team
🟢
  • Elevated our tool nerd level. See here.
  • Expanding output skills: Market research, Web design, strategy & development, video editing, and automation strategy.
  • 9 day fortnights, with option for 4 day weeks
🟠
  • 40% work 9 day fortnights, 40% part-time hours, 20% standard working hours.

Community | Lift the communities we’re part of

  • Protest and boycott important issues (Australia Day, Melbourne Cup)
🟢
  • Buy with intention from local and discriminated groups
🟢
  • We continue to be intentional about our suppliers as outlined in our policy and report the details in the Community chapter of our report. We took it one step further this year with a public call to pledge to audit suppliers in this campaign www.supplier-impact.com
  • Invest $20k in impact businesses plus $20k of 100% pro bono time
🟠
  • We delivered some pro bono time but dropped the ball and had no official measurements in place. We also did not invest $20k in impact businesses because of the reduced revenue with Becky on maternity leave.
  • Sarah personally donated her photography equipment valued at around $7,500 to empower a content and brand producer in the Solomon Islands.
  • Have a RAP, engaged stakeholders and implemented more change
🔴
  • Due to competing priorities and limited time (no lack in desire) we de-prioritised our Reconciliation Action Plan as we want to do it meaningfully and have the capacity to follow through. However, we took a few first steps outlined here.

Environment | Crank up the action on climate and environment

  • Be climate positive at work and at home
🟠
  • We don’t track our CO2 emissions, rather we take a much more general and high emissions view. However, this year, we didn’t donate to the environment (see above) so we can’t say we countered our CO2.
  • Donate 5% to the environment
🔴
  • We fell short here, we didn't make the donation. More details here.
  • Re-use, recycle and manage dangerous waste
🟢
  • We continue to implement our hazardous waste policy and are on a continuous learning and improvement journey.
  • We repair damaged hardware and minimise purchasing of new equipment.
  • Personally we're all Facebook Marketplace fans.
  • Advocate for climate change / inspire sustainable living
🟢

Governance | Operate fairly and squarely as an impact business

  • Maintain current ownership and governance
🟢
  • Harvey is 100% owned by the Smallchua Family Trust and Rebecca Smallchua is our sole Director.
  • Share templates, documents, insight into business for good
🟠
  • We haven’t actively done this publicly, but when people have asked, we have shared. And we’re sharing a series of things as part of this impact report.
  • Re-use, recycle and manage dangerous waste
🟢
  • We continue to implement our hazardous waste policy and are on a continuous learning and improvement journey.
  • We repair damaged hardware and minimise purchasing of new equipment.
  • Personally we're all Facebook Marketplace fans.
  • Maintain B Corp score from 134.1 with workers included
🟢
  • We applied for our B Corp re-certification at the end of this financial year and are pleased to report we achieved the same score (to the decimal point). Wild!
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