Could 3-D printed chocolates be the next wave in retail customization?
Easton Public Market Chocodiem owner Jean-Paul “JP” Hepp thinks so. Hepp, originally from Belgium, has collaborated with another Easton business, 3DReactions, to offer customized chocolates using 3-D printing technology.
Customized chocolates will start at $20, though stock phrases written in chocolate start at $10 – phrases such as “Thank You,” “Congrats” and “Love You.”
Two-D designs take about 5 minutes, while complex 3-D designs could take as much as 45 minutes to print.
Hepp unveiled the new process Thursday at the public market’s education kitchen with John Majersky, business collaborator and 3D Reactions president.
Hepp is a biologist by training. He started Chocodiem six years ago by traveling around the world and honing his craft for creating high-quality Belgian chocolates with recipes his daughter sent to him from Belgium.
Chocodiem has been open at the Easton Public Market since 2016, and Hepp has operated a store in Clinton, N.J., the past five years.
Taking chocolate seriously and looking for inventive ways to offer it for sale come easily to Hepp. At Easton, his stand offers dark chocolate gelato, signature Belgian chocolate truffles and French macaroons.
His latest idea could revolutionize how shaped chocolate is made and set the bar even higher for chocolate sophisticates.
“I’m excited for JP’s latest project, as he’s onto the next thing,” said Megan McBride, market district director for Easton Public Market.
McBride said the 3-D printing could open company branding opportunities, generate revenue and create new jobs.
“I’m very excited about what this means, not just for the market but for Easton’s economy,” McBride said.
She said the local businessmen’s collaboration was a model others could emulate.
Honored in 2016 by one of the Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Desert Professional magazine, Hepp plans to soon begin offering 3-D printed chocolate letters and specialty creations.
“I love chocolate,” Hepp said.