The beloved Seattle Chocolate Company launched in 1991, famed for its signature meltaway truffles tucked within the Pacific Northwest. Though the renowned chocolate company launched decades ago, it seems its side brand has remained somewhat subtle in the headlines despite its significant contributions to a larger cause.
As of 2012, Seattle Chocolate Company CEO and owner, Jean Thompson, launched a side brand for a larger purpose, a side brand of chocolate by the name of “jcoco.”
A bold new chocolate brand flowing under the Seattle Chocolate umbrella, the focus of jcoco is quite simple: feed hungry families.
For every three ounces of jcoco chocolate sold, one serving of food is donated by Seattle Chocolate Company to someone in need, in partnership with hunger-fighting organizations like Northwest Harvest, Food Bank for New York City and SF-Marin Food Bank.
Almost four million servings of food have been donated to the organizations thus far, with the goal of eventually reaching 10 million servings.
Many might not know Seattle Chocolate’s original factory was destroyed by the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001. At the time, entrepreneur and mother Thompson was an investor in the company after a previous life as an executive alongside Microsoft. Following the disaster, she soon stepped up as owner and CEO of the company just a year later in 2002. With her position over nearly 20 years, she’s brought color, creativity and a sense of progress within the company’s launch of jcoco.
The jcoco line includes a mix of savory and sweet options, boasting exotic flavors like crisp quinoa sesame, bali sea salt toffee and black fig with pistachio – all of which can be bought individually or by a variety known as the “Prism” gift box packed with 10 differed one-ounce bars.
Additionally, jcoco partners with like-minded local businesses to curate limited-edition products like those of their small batch caramels, made in collaboration with Sweet Mona’s, a local woman-owned confectioner, in flavors like blood orange espresso and anise.
An advocate for education about the chocolate industry, Thompson incorporates sourcing facts into Seattle Chocolate’s factory tour to open up the dialogue around cocoa farmers’ working conditions – a small step toward finding solutions to the centuries-old and problematic system – and frequently visits cacao-growing regions around the world to gain a better understanding of the production process on the ground.
In December 2019, Thompson even delivered a TEDx Talk entitled, Imagine a World Without Chocolate, in which she discusses the nuances of the industry and her hopes for its future.
Thompson oversees the brand direction for both Seattle Chocolate and jcoco, sits on the board of a local, women-owned catering company by the name of Gourmondo, the National Confectioners Association (NCA), Ethical Apparel Africa, and The World Trade Center of Washington. Thompson also serves on the Tukwila City Committee, and is chairperson of the communications committee for the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA).
When she’s not indulging in the latest seasonal bar or truffle – cough, cough, we’re talking new flavors of jcoco’s orange blossom espresso, mango plantain, and 85% dark Peruvian chocolate – Thompson enjoys staying active with therapeutic bike rides, hiking, and utilizing her growing chocolate company to counter hunger insecurity across the Pacific Northwest.