foo CHOCOLATERS is a classyfactory and shop located on the 3rd floor of Hiroshima’s International Airport run on principals of fair-trade, gender equality, and environmental stewardship. Alongside the high-quality of its products, stand-out features are its glass-walled, museum-esque factory design which is open to the public, vegan product line, all-female staff in indigo-uniforms and use of biodegradable plates and cutlery in the cafe.
FOO is an acronym created in honor of the owner’s three daughters- a perfect name for this all-female company. Not only is FOO entirely staffed by women, but the stunning product packaging is also designed by female artists. In an interview with the manager of FOO, Gokan-san, talks with pride of the ease of communication among the female staff and the effectiveness of a lateral work structure which allows for flexibility and peer support.
I was impressed to discover that all of the FOO chocolate, cakes, and ice-creams are entirely vegan, made without the use of any animal or fish products. The ‘Milk Chocolate’ flavor is made by using cashew-milk to create a deliciously rich ‘milk’ chocolate.
This may be the only entirely plant-based sweets shop to be found in Japan, and it is perfectly positioned to tap into the international market at the airport.
The all-female team at FOO look comfortable yet elegant as they go about their delicious work in their natural indigo dyed uniforms and signature caps. The use of Indigo is another subtle feature of the sustainability models followed at this company.
Indigo is an environmentally-friendly dye that has a long history and tradition of use in Japan, especially in the Hiroshima and Okayama region in relation to dyes used in the blue denim industry. Indigo is naturally derived from plants grown in Japan and the wastewater created (after the dyeing process) can be safely put back into the environment without harm.
FOO roasts the Cacao beans and nuts on the premises which are directly-sourced under ‘better than Fair-Trade’ agreements with producers abroad.
The FOO chocolate currently for sale is a set of three types of chocolate in a beautifully designed package, priced at 2,800 yen. This would make a wonderful high-end souvenir for domestic travelers or a fabulous gift from Japan for international travelers.
If you have time to spare in the airport, I’d recommend eating one of the tasty vegan ice-creams, cakes or teas available. I had the chance to enjoy the fermented type of healthy Kyoto tea and a wild berry gelato. Diners eating in should take note of FOO’s use of stylish biodegradable plates, bowls, forks, and spoons supplied by Japan’s leading stylish biodegradable plate and utensil supplier, Wasara.
- Read more details about FOO and its inspiring sustainability-focused initiatives on InboundAmbassador.