EP 032 Frederick Schilling on Chocolate and Growing Sustainable Businesses

Frederick Schilling loves chocolate. He is the founder of Dagoba Chocolate, AMMA Chocolate and Big Tree Farms. He’s made a career out of launching products that are not only delicious and luxurious, but also environmentally and socially responsible. When he founded Dagoba, he launched the organic chocolate category. When he founded Big Tree Farms and AMMA Chocolate, he changed the lives of farmers on two continents.



Today, we talk about:

  • How he got interested in chocolate while a religion major at Ohio Wesleyan University.
  • His first big breaks in product development, distribution, suppliers and media.
  • Why cash and people are the scarce resources needed by any founder.
  • Visionary experiences with the chocolate goddess. (The plants have an agenda, as Michael Pollan and Gordon White like to say.)
  • Terroir of chocolate. Subtypes of cacao plants.
  • Impact of witch’s broom disease on the chocolate industry in Brazil. (see also the phylloxera pandemic that hit the wine industry)
  • Breeds of cacao trees: Criollo, Forestro, Trinitario.
  • How cacao spread with colonization.
  • Coconut nectar/coconut sugar.
  • How coconut sugar improves the lives of coconut farmers.
  • Fair trade and organic designations as an essential business advantage.
About Scott
Scott Gosnell is the Founder and CEO of Windcastle Venture Consulting