As you may have guessed we just adore Hey Tiger chocolate, for so many reasons. So when we had the chance to sit down with the Hey Tiger founder Cyan Ta'eed, and talk chocolate, coco sources and social enterprise, well, we pounced on the chance (pun intended!)
How did Hey Tiger begin?
Cyan Ta'eed founded Hey Tiger in 2017. Cyan, who is the co-founder of tech company Envato, always knew that she wanted to do a social enterprise, but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do.
In late 2016 Cy had an eye injury and had to stop work for almost a month and spent a lot of time in a dark room with her eyes closed. She came out the other side knowing it was time to do something new. She had been obsessed with chocolate for a long time and saw some interesting trends coming out of the US and Asia. There were new flavour combinations and a focus on real ingredients that she found really exciting and wanted to bring to Australia.
At the same time, she had started supporting The Hunger Project, and particularly their work in Burkina Faso. It’s the third poorest country in the world, bordered by Ghana and The Ivory Coast. 60 - 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Ghana and The Ivory coast, and there’s a major issue with children being taken from Burkina Faso and into child labour in cocoa plantations. It struck Cyan, that something that gives us so much pleasure and enjoyment was responsible for a huge amount of pain and suffering for women and children on the other side of the world. Many cocoa farmers are living under the poverty line themselves so the whole thing just stems from the chocolate industry being really broken.
Cyan knew there was a hole in the market here in Australia and that there was an important issue that needed to be addressed. So with a lot of hard work and determination, she pulled together a team and Hey Tiger was born.
Where is all the Hey Tiger chocolate sourced from?
The most immediate way we at Hey Tiger can ensure we’re making positive impact is to source our chocolate from providers who meet the highest ethical standards. In order for Hey Tiger to source chocolate from a supplier they must trade directly with farmers to help secure livelihoods for farmers; with a specific focus on ensuring child labor is not part of the supply chain. They also must purchase cacao above the average market price. "Flavour grade cacao" costs 2-4 times more than the general commodity market price so most suppliers fall well within this range. And they must have established CSR practices that are directed toward the livelihoods of cocoa-producing communities and the environmental protection of those regions. They all make some financial contribution to community development - this is usually around education, sanitation or community facilities.
Different suppliers have distinct programs in place, so we individually review each supplier. Cocoa sourcing is notoriously opaque so we take the extra step of enlisting our charitable partner, The Hunger Project Ghana, to conduct an additional review of any proposed partners.
What is involved in the process of creating a Hey Tiger chocolate?
It's very hands on and involves all departments of the business including; Creative, Marketing, Sales and Production. Our CBO, Mirte van der Lugt has an incredible creative vision. She pulls together the concept and works collaboratively with our CEO, Cyan and the production & innovation team in flavour development. Everything is truly made with love in the Hey Tiger kitchen. We make a lot of the inclusions ourselves (things like the cookie crumb, feuilletine - you name it!). It's a really fun (and delicious!) process.
What does an average day look like at Hey Tiger HQ?
No day is ever really the same - which is what makes working at a start-up such as Hey Tiger so interesting. We are always moving 10000 miles a minute here, for example we're already planning out next years campaigns and creations. Our innovation team is constantly working on new & exciting flavours, so eating chocolate has become part of our everyday world. We also have some really fun communal activities with the team such as weekly PT sessions and we've just started a book club.
If you could only eat one Hey Tiger chocolate for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
That's a tough one... but if I really have to pick one, it would be Summer in The City. I love the saltiness of the pretzel crumb and creaminess of the peanut butter mixed through the chocolate. Give me a box of that pretzel crumb any day!!