A Philadelphia-based startup named “Cocoa Press” creates 3D printers for chocolate.
How It Started
The company’s young founder, Evan Weinstein, told TechCrunch that he found 3D printing techniques to be intriguing. He explains that food, and especially chocolate, is something that even the average person can connect with — and he’s not wrong.
Kerry has written a couple stories on other chocolaty 3D printing endeavors over the years, including one on the CocoJet Printer and another on cold chocolate 3D printing. He’s even done an interview with a real chocolate maker, detailing his opinions on 3D printing chocolate.
Weinstein first started working on this project when he was still in high school in Philadelphia. He began recording his progress on a personal blog, but as he headed off to the University of Pennsylvania, he took a break from this passion project of his. Then, as a senior (and with the help of some grants from his University and some funding from its Pennovation Accelerator), Weinstein resumed his work with the Cocoa Press. His company is starting to take pre-orders for the $5,500 printer as of October 10th.
Hershey’s had done their own test drives on 3D printed chocolate and even showcased their innovative technology on various occasions about five years ago. The company abandoned this project, though, due to technical and economical limitations.
So, as per Weinstein’s knowledge, his company is currently the sole chocolate 3D printing company in the United States.
Cocoa Press’ Business Model And Future Directions
Cocoa Press sources their chocolate from the market’s biggest white label chocolate providers — the Guittard Chocolate Company and Callebaut Chocolate — and resells refills to maintain a recurring revenue stream. Weinstein also says that it’s perfectly fine for companies to make and use their own chocolate as well.
“We don’t want to be competing with the thousands of chocolate shops already out there. We just want to get the chocolate printer out into the world. The business model is the machines plus the consumables for people who don’t have a background in chocolate.”
Weinstein hopes to grow his business to be an all-in-one chocolate shop, allowing customers to purchase the printer and the chocolate from the company and proceed to create and customize their own. Weinstein also has plans to collaborate with some bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturers to dispense their own single-origin chocolates.
Personally, I think that this is such an innovative idea. As a high school student, I know that I would have been drawn to learning more about his business, even before my involvement with 3D printing. Because of this, the idea is brilliant from an innovation or business standpoint.
Though the Cocoa Jet printer features many mechanisms (like a large print head) to ensure temperature precision, this is the only company that I’ve come across with definitive, market-ready products and set price points for sale.