Marou: Producing High-End Chocolate from Bean to Bar in Vietnam
In 2011, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, two Frenchmen living in Vietnam, founded Marou to produce fine chocolate from bean to bar. Just seven years later, Marou had opened two shops in Vietnam and was exporting its chocolate to twenty countries, including the United States, France, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea. The company's brand and business model were deeply rooted in its commitment to using only locally grown cacao beans: Marou had forged close ties with small Vietnamese farmers to create a reliable supply of high-quality beans, vital to the production of exquisite chocolate. While highlighting the values and vision of the company's founders (taste, local purchasing, fair and sustainable trade, prudent and organic growth), the case outlines the company's efforts to secure its supply of cacao beans to ensure the high quality of the chocolate it produced. The case also describes the company's distribution and sales strategies both domestically and internationally. The winner of several international awards and lauded by the New York Times in March 2016 as producing "the best chocolate you've never tasted," Marou seemed to be well positioned in the high-end "bean to bar" chocolate niche.