When we last spoke to you about our plans, 2019 was coming to an end and we were brimming with excitement about what 2020 could hold for our three year old company.
Then COVID-19 happened.
In the course of the long and hard year, however, we found ourselves doing what humans do best: adapting, changing, and evolving. We rose to the challenge of making chocolate in a pandemic, learning to cope with vendors quickly changing and massive shipping delays all the while launching new products to elevate the sugar free landscape throughout the year.
It's no secret that we love the holidays. They fill our heart with love, just like a bit of chocolate does. Naturally we went there during the pandemic because we needed a little bit of comfort. From our Valentine's Day gift tins to our debut of the first keto advent calendar for this Christmas, we made happiness happen every holiday this year with a lot of hard work from everyone in our production and shipping side.
We made Easter bunnies in the Spring, rising to the challenge with COVID-19 closing many of our suppliers temporarily. We gave away free peppermint squares for St. Patrick's Day. We released our summer syrups and even made a new flavor just for Summer 2020: our sugar free mango syrup which many of you found especially tantalizing for making marinades and sauces.
The Fall brought the return of our Pumpkin Pie syrup, along with Halloween goodies for ghouls of all ages. From sugar free chocolate pumpkins to spooky peanut butter filled ghosts, we had a delight making seasonal sweets. We even launched the first ever keto chocolate truffles with our maple pecan chocolate truffles in the shape of maple leaves--then followed them up with a range of winter truffles that are still on sale. We launched our advent calendar and even gave some away during Black Friday to make our customers smile. And of course, peppermint was still the season's star: white peppermint squares, chocolate peppermint syrup, and dark chocolate peppermint bark all appeared for the winter to bring happiness to peppermint lovers everywhere!
2020 also brought new everyday products, including the launch of our keto friendly peanut butter cups in April to great excitement. Our sugar free version of America's favorite candy rocked the sugar free industry by being the first low carb white chocolate candy bar on the market. In addition, after multiple rounds of taste testing and tweaking, we launched our much anticipated keto chocolate hazelnut spread at the end of Q4.
If you haven't tried it yet, you should. It's good. Like really good.
It was also the first year that we began to give back in ways that went beyond the keto community. When COVID-19 first began circulating in America, we donated masks to the health care workers on the front lines. After the death of George Floyd, we confronted the harsh realities that Black Americans have lived under for many years. We committed to donating $50,000 to NACCP. We are happy to say that we put forth our first half in Q4 and plan to do the second half in Q1 of 2021. We also used our social media platform to amplify Black content creators in the keto community, featuring recipe developers like Tayo Oredola and Sierra Dukes on our Instagram, as well as expanding the diversity of the content creators we work with on a monthly basis. As we move into 2021, we will continue to challenge ourselves to do more to support often marginalized communities.
In 2019 we were excited to reach shelves in stores across six states. In 2020 we went further. You can now find us on shelves across the country, as we entered stores such as Wegmans and Sprouts, as well as multiple other chains. See which stores we're in near you, with our handy store locator. And we're not stopping here. We've got multiple new locations lined up to announce in 2021. Make sure you're signed up to our newsletter to be the first to know when we land in a new store near you!
2020 also saw many other changes. We expanded our customer service team, so that we could continue to respond to most emails in less than 12 hours. We opened a new warehouse in New Jersey, with the aim to improve our shipping times and handle a higher volume of orders. We launched a new website in July, that was faster and easier to navigate and allowed us to showcase hundreds of delicious keto and low carb recipes from our community. It also enabled us to quickly add new features like our store locator.
And we invested in new machines, so that we can bring you some very exciting new products next year... keep a close eye on our Instagram to be the first to know about those!
As 2020 comes to a close, we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who worked to keep everything going during this time. From the front line health care workers, to the mail carriers who kept delivering packages despite everything, to the retail workers who kept us well fed (and supplied with toilet paper!), and to those of you who stayed home. Thank you.
XOXO (but socially distanced),
Suzie & the ChocZero team