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We decided to go with biodegradable polypropylene bags for the bars. The place making them would make no less than 30,000 units for us, so we’ll have stock for a while, but it was still the cheapest option, given all the constraints. 

It would seem there is a huge market here for small runs of customized items, and yet no one is serving it. The problem is, the market is huge if you can produce hundreds or even thousands of different types of items. But of course, that means producing across a broad spectrum of industries, which makes it, from an investment perspective, impossible to service this market. But there is no large market for small runs of only one certain type of item.

The perfect case in point is our business-we desperately need confectionery packaging. In the US, there is a whole sector dedicated solely to packaging for confectionery items, because the confectionery industry is big enough that it can support such an industry. Hundreds or thousands of small shops create the demand that makes viable such a sector. Here, unfortunately, it’s just not so. 

And because of high tariffs, protectionism, and lack of free trade and integration with surrounding countries who do produce such items (i.e. Colombia), there’s just no way to achieve the economies of scale needed to bring these items to the country at reasonable cost.

In sum, what we’re discussing here is the total lack of any kind of “long tail” for almost anything here. In part, it’s due to lack of demand since we are talking about a population that can not truly be considered a “consumer society”, as well as a population that in the majority is poor. You can find the mass-produced, most basic items to fill your everyday needs, but not those hundreds of thousands of specialized items only massive economies populated by people with discretionary income and highly specialized needs and tastes want.

  • Frank Conde

    ” huge market here for small runs of customized items”…

    Hello this sounds like a great way to develop a more eco-frienly form of packaging for this special chocolate, I would look in to the local paper distributors for a natural content (hemp or bamboo).
    paper with maybe bee wax coating to prevent show-through
    of the oils. This material is 100% natural bio degradable, non toxic, provides a more “hand made quality” to the product, and allows for the aroma of the product to reach and intoxicate the brains near by. paper can be foil stamped/embossed for nice
    branding and graphics.
    Best regards, Frank Conde.
    Check out this great company ….

  • inthetropics

    Thanks for your comment. The irony here is that a natural content paper like the one you´re suggesting is very difficult to find here-again, because the market is so small for it. Most paper distributors bring in only what they can sell in mass, that is, 100,000 units at a time and upward or by weight, say 500 kgs. at a time or upward. There is no local paper production industry that i know of, as Ecuador has very little timber. Also, very few printers do foil stamping here-I know of two in the whole country who do it, and a small run would be costly.

  • Mike

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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