The third pillar of the business, or the third bean in our cocoa pod represents our suppliers. So I then reached out to David, Head of Europe for Luker Chocolate in Colombia. The Colombians drink hot chocolate every day, in the same way as we drink tea, therefore the government prioritised it as an important food product which allowed both the agricultural side of the project and the factory to remain running. In times of crisis the Brits turn to tea, so it’s easy to understand that the Colombian chocolate factories are very busy indeed…
Arguably unlike its neighbours, the governmental response to Covid19 in Colombia was very fast, Colombia went into Lockdown before the UK, closed the international airport and will not reopen until September at the earliest.
As a business, Luker reacted very quickly, prioritising the staff and the safe running of the factory above all else. All office based staff are safely working from home until the end of the year. Luker even laid on private buses to safely bring the factory and key workers in, to avoid the use of public transport to further protect their team. There’s even a private doctor on site just in case anyone has any concern for themselves or their families. Not only this, but Luker also sent out food parcels to all staff when panic buying became a concern nationwide and they have assisted schools and offered home schooling classes to those with young children. I’m sure you’ll agree, an incredibly impressive, compassionate response from a family owned business who we are very proud to work with.
Perhaps predictably, David admits that sales have been down slightly over April and May, but Luker seem to be recovering very quickly. David also assures us that luckily, people always buy chocolate, so there’s a lot of optimism too.
I asked David how he has been affected personally by the pandemic, and thankfully the impact has been minimal. He told me that the only real difference that he has noticed is not travelling so often, but David assures me that he is now ‘very good’ with video calling!