Kevin Warnock

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I tasted four delicious OCHO brand candy bars by Five Star Organics LLC

without comments

Today, September 1, 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Doe.

Doe for three hours was at Andronico’s Community Markets at 1200 Irving Street in San Francisco, California USA introducing shoppers to Five Star Organics LLC which makes OCHO candy bars.

Doe used to work with the co-founder of Five Star Organics, William Scott Kucirek, at his first startup, Zip Realty. Zip Realty competed in 1999 with my Internet company Hotpaper in the Berkeley Business Plan Competition. That competition is now named the Berkeley Startup Competition.┬áMy friends Melissa Daniels and Keval Desai were the student founders of the competition. Daniels and Desai are now venture capitalists — Daniels at Morgan Stanley Ventures Partners and Desai at InterWest Ventures. Zip Realty is the only company from the competition that has gone public, which makes Kucirek royalty at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where Kucirek earned his Masters of Business Administration degree. This background should help OCHO become a candy brand you will be hearing much more from in the future.

OCHO organic chocolate still life at Andronicos 1200 Irving Street, San Francisco, California USA, photo by Kevin Warnock, September 1, 2012

OCHO organic chocolate still life at Andronicos 1200 Irving Street, San Francisco, California USA, photo by Kevin Warnock, September 1, 2012

After that build up, I am happy to report that OCHO candy bars taste really good.

I sampled all four flavors — Peanut, Coconut, Mocha and OCHO Bar.

Each is more sophisticated than your standard Snickers, Reese’s or Almond Joy, but not so sophisticated as to require an education to appreciate and prefer. The Mocha candy bar doesn’t have a similar major label counterpart, to my knowledge.

I think the OCHO product line will be a hit because it’s not trying to be Scharffen Berger, a decidedly more luxurious chocolate brand that has not and probably never will hit the mainstream, even though it is owned now by the same giant Hershey that makes Reese’s and Almond Joy.

I toured the Sharffen Berger plant with my friend Kelly Yu before Hershey’s acquired the company and brand. I was not a blogger back then, sadly, as the tour was fascinating and worth writing about. That tour gave me a deeper appreciation for chocolate, which of course was the point.

Denis Ring co-founded Five Star Organics with Kucirek. According to Christy [last name deleted January 9, 2016 per request by Christy], Ring created the 365 Everyday Value line of products at Whole Foods Markets and the O Organics line of organic products sold at Safeway.

I took the photographs that accompany this post. Click on them twice in delayed succession to see them at full size.

[Note: On May 1, 2014 Jane Doe sent me a Facebook message asking me to ‘untag’ her name from the picture above. I removed her last name and replaced it with a comment saying the last name was deleted.]

[Note: On January 9, 2016, Jane Doe called me and asked that I remove her last name from this article entirely. I did so, and I also removed the photograph of her, even though she did not ask me to, just to fully detach her from this story.]

[Note: On February 26, 2016, Jane Doe text messaged me and asked me to delete this post entirely. She said she is concerned because a Google search of her real name still shows the picture I deleted January 9, 2016 on their image search page. From that page a user can find this post but without her picture, since I deleted it. I gently explained that Google will continue to show her picture until they re index this page. Nothing like this has ever happened to me in all my years of blogging. I cannot understand why somebody would want to distance themselves from this impressive chocolate company that makes wonderful products that are now sold at my local Safeway in the checkout lanes, right next to the very bars that they compete with and taste better than. I also deleted a few unrelated sentences that distracted from the review of Ocho candy. Jane Doe is not the person’s real name… I substituted it to completely eliminate the person from this post. I am sorry that Ms. Doe suffered such anguish over a lovely picture holding a candy bar. And I am sorry to have to dilute this nice review by adding these distracting comments to the end. However, I don’t believe it’s OK to just edit posts without making a change note, so I have to put these comments here.]