La Consigne by Valrhona
An Environmentally Friendly Approach to Reuse
In 2019, with several of its partners and their professional customers, Valrhona launched an innovative scheme that would bulk-deliver chocolate fèves in washable, reusable containers. Returning used packaging is nothing new, so the initiative really marks a return to common sense.
However, very few contemporary industrial and food service operators working outside of the beverage sector have reverted to it because it is such a challenge. By committing to it as an initiative, Valrhona started a movement and reconfirmed its determination to make a positive impact on the world.
The idea is to improve the customer experience by reimagining the way we package products, taking a circular approach to reuse and assuming full responsibility for our waste. With this initiative, Valrhona wants to power a collective movement that unites the entire industry’s creators within a circular economy, the ultimate aim being to create a more ethical gastronomical world.
This complex, ambitious project takes an “open innovation” approach to step-by-step experiments with customers and various partners, with financial support from ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency).
The objective is to hit upon a model that overcomes three challenges:
- Reducing operations’ environmental footprint
- Improving the customer experience
- Guaranteeing the project’s economic viability
The process involves delivering chocolate fèves in 100% recyclable plastic containers that have been made in Europe. These are then collected, washed and reused for new deliveries.
The aim behind the initial trialis to assess the concept’s logistical viability and check that our customers are happy with receiving their goods in reusable containers.
A scheme warmly welcomed by professionals
The scheme’s first participants, all based in Lyon, have expressed their satisfaction and even pride at being part of the change and contributing to a practical, environmentally friendly initiative. They are ready and willing to pursue it and co-create the next chapter in the story with Valrhona.
I’ve found it a lot more practical than bags and it’s a lot better for the environment - Christophe Rasneur, Pâtisserie Les Gasteliers
It’s good for the planet and doesn’t take up any more of my time - Bruno Saladino, Bruno Saladino Chocolatier
I’m interested in avoiding waste and being part of an initiative alongside my industry colleagues and Valrhona - Robert Adam de Beaumais, Maison Buisson
This innovative initiative for the BtoB food sector was well received by professional customers who tried it out (with a qualitative study in 2022 showing that 82% of users were satisfied or very satisfied).
In 2022, Returnable Packaging by Valrhona represented 22 tons of chocolate sold since its launch. This means we have avoided 870kg of waste (although it hasn’t been eliminated completely, but rather reused) and 1 ton of CO2 (the equivalent of 4,600km, or the distance between Paris and Chicago)*.
Although this news is encouraging, the tests carried out in real conditions over the past two years have illustrated the complexities of rolling out a large-scale circular B2B system.