MEET THE PRODUCER: CYAN FROM HEY TIGER CHOCOLATE
Hey Tiger, what’s the story behind this bold brand?
I knew the next project I wanted to launch would be a social enterprise. I had previously been involved with The Hunger Project and its work in West Africa, and had learnt a bit about the damaged state of the cocoa industry which unfortunately typically involved poverty, child labour, and contributed to lots of pain and suffering for women, men and their families. I couldn’t get past the fact that something that brings us so much joy can cause so much pain to others.
I also felt there was a gaping hole in the Australian market when it came to chocolate specifically for women, who are the largest purchasers of the stuff. And so Hey Tiger was born - enabling me to combine both of my passions. We now run a chocolate social enterprise, where we create hand-crafted delicious chocolate, with the ongoing challenge of making a change in the chocolate industry through supporting cocoa farming communities in Ghana via The Hunger Project.
What values are important to you and your business?
As a social enterprise, our mission is to create human prosperity at every stage of our supply chain. I have very strong philosophies around businesses truly doing good for the world, and so I wanted to create a business that has a wholly positive impact in whatever it does.
Whilst social impact makes up a lot of the business, we are about chocolate at our core. We are trying to make the best chocolate in Australia, with flavours you may never have tried before, but can’t wait to experience. Great food is like art for all the senses, so we want everything we do to be a delight to all five. A true escapist moment.
Who’s involved in the process from produce to final product?
We start with the all important Innovation Team, which consists of the production manager, chocolatier, sales director, brand director and myself. At this first step we discuss the theme for upcoming campaigns, and base the flavour ideas and concepts around this. This is also when all the taste-testing happens i.e. the best bit! Once approved, our chocolatiers get to work making each bar from scratch. Unlike other chocolate brands, we make every inclusion ourselves. So if you’re tasting crumbly cookie pieces, that’s because our patisserie trained chocolatier has made an incredible cookie recipe and then added it into the hand made chocolate.
We also have a lot of fun with our packaging and bar naming, so it involves our incredible creative family coming together and having a lot of fun!
Our sales, marketing & creative and operations teams also do a lot of work behind the scenes to make all the cogs tick and Hey Tiger runs smoothly as a business. I’m very lucky to work with such a superstar team from all sides!
What’s the why behind Hey Tiger?
We believe everyone should enjoy chocolate, without causing suffering to others. It seems like a simple concept, but unfortunately the cocoa industry has a lot of problems. Currently there are 2.2 million children in child labour on cocoa farms in West Africa where the average cocoa farmer earns 0.73c per day, far below the poverty line.
Hey Tiger is owned by a charitable trust that is partnered with The Hunger Project in order to help make a change in the cocoa industry. We donate a portion from all of our bar sales directly to The Hunger Project Ghana to help fund their work within these communities.
So far, we have contributed over $100,000 to The Hunger Project to support everything from microloans to women farmers, from childhood education programs to HIV prevention (all of which impact these communities and are important components to changing the industry). As Hey Tiger continues to grow, we can’t wait to do more and see these changes implemented.
As you know, we’re lovers of great design. What is the story behind your branding and crazy cool packaging?
I really wanted to push the boundaries and create a fun bold brand that was made with women in mind. Having studied graphic design at uni, I had a strong vision of what I wanted Hey Tiger to be. The only hurdle was finding somebody to bring it to life, and our Brand Director, Mirte van der Lugt, really exceeded all expectations. She is constantly coming up with bright and daring concepts that just scream Hey Tiger, which I just love, as do our customers!
We’re all about small-batch, sustainable and most importantly yummy food. What does small-batch mean to you, personally?
To me, small batch is about handmade, lovingly crafted products. From inception to final product, it’s the aim to source the finest ingredients and ensure flavours are well rounded and balanced. At Hey Tiger, we also love to push the boundaries by creating out-of-the-box flavours that you’ve never tasted before. It’s this flexibility and passion that makes us small batch.
What is your personal favourite product of your range and why?
Oh, this is such a hard one! It changes for me from time to time, as there are so many to choose from for each and every mood. If I had to pick, I’d say Best Mates from our Signature Collection. It’s a decadent caramelised popcorn and coconut, milk chocolate bar which is, needless to say, a team favourite and absolutely moreish. We also launched Best Mates in a vegan version earlier this year, so everyone can taste the mouth-watering flavours.
From our new Christmas Collection, I would have to say The Beakon. It’s a new take on the traditional rum and raisin flavour combo encased in a very rich dark milk chocolate. To me, it’s not only incredibly yummy, but also gives me those holiday season tingles.
How would you describe the flavours of your products?
We wanted our chocolatiers to approach flavour combinations as a chef would their dishes; to play and experiment with fresh and bold concepts. To me, chocolate is so experiential - we wanted to create products that people really want to dive into and finish every last crumb.
As for flavours, it varies, but always follows a creative theme! For example, our Mother’s Day collection was themed around ‘breakfast in bed’ and included a cereal bowl bar (The Whip It), and a waffle & strawberry flavour (The Lie-In). We also did a limited run batch for a collaboration with the Instagram famous dog, Tofu Pupper, which was creme brulee & black sesame in a caramelised blonde chocolate. One bar in particular that people beg us to bring back!
You’re based in Cremorne in Melbourne, what’s the best thing about living and working there?
Cremorne has an energetic, fresh start-up vibe. From high-end skincare brands to shared-office spaces and cake factories, there’s a little bit of everything. Our local coffee spot (Coe & Coe) is always buzzing with business meetings, catch-ups and even people playing basketball (yes, they have a hoop set-up out the front). Besides the seemingly endless construction on every other street, it’s a pretty social and exciting spot to be in.
Not only do we love the way food tastes, but we also love the way it makes you feel and the memories it creates. What’s your favourite food moment or memory?
My mum is French and of course, the whole side of my family on her side is passionate about food. Her signature dishes are crispy skin duck with orange rice and a frozen lemon tart. Every time I eat that home cooked meal, I remember why food at its best brings people together. There’s a reason why “breaking bread” has such meaning across so many cultures.
What’s your favourite farmers market and why?
Not strictly a farmers market, but a regular go-to spot for me would be Prahran Market. It’s a great source of fresh produce and gourmet treats. For a recent photoshoot we needed fresh finger limes which were proving very difficult to find (I think we called about half a dozen places with no luck) but when I stopped by a stall at Prahran Market as a last resort, I was able to purchase a bunch of fresh, perfectly ripened finger limes!
What’s your favourite meal and why?
The best meal I’ve had in recent memory was at Brae, located on the outskirts of the Otway National Park. The whole meal was amazing, but the potato scallops with creme fraiche and caviar was a bucket list food experience. I will happily travel back to eat that dish and more whenever they’ll have me!