MELBOURNE, Australia — Michael Saba, former CEO of Swisse Wellness Group, is joining Pana Chocolate as Director, ahead of the vegan chocolate purveyor’s expansion throughout Europe.
Saba, who has taken an equity stake in the company, will work alongside Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis who remains the key decision maker.
“Our vision is to be one of the largest organic chocolate brands in the world, creating and
sharing products that love your insides as well as the earth it came from,” explained Barbounis.
“Michael is an important part of that vision, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to help Pana Chocolate grow and develop market share in Europe and North America,” he added.
The announcement comes after an incredibly strong year for the manufacturer of raw chocolate and desserts. Sales have increased year on year, helped greatly by its entry into the UK, The Netherlands and Germany, as well as successful partnerships with Australian department store Myer and Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
Pana Chocolate is now stocked in all 67 Myer stores across Australia, and is the exclusive chocolate supplier for Etihad Stadium.
Founding Pana Chocolate in 2012, in response to a growing demand from consumers for raw, organic and vegan products that are healthy and good for the environment, Barbounis began selling his raw chocolate bars out of his Vespa.
In just a few short years, Pana Chocolate has grown significantly, selling handmade raw, organic, vegan chocolate and desserts across 25 countries, in over 3,000 outlets globally. The company currently employs over 80 staff in Australia and the UK and generates an annual turnover of more than $5 million.
Barnounis’s commitment to keeping all of Pana’s ingredients as raw and transparent as possible has attracted a loyal and rapidly growing audience.
With his sights set on further international expansion in Europe, Asia and North
America throughout 2017, the ambitious entrepreneur is seeking to turn his Melbourne-based chocolate company into one of the biggest organic chocolate manufacturers in the world.
Not interested in the short term, but rather building a platform for longer term success, Barbounis is positive that with Saba on board Pana Chocolate will continue to grow, as the boom for all-natural and sustainable products continues.