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Scope highlighted for chocolate market using single-origin cocoa

15 June 2014

Barry Callebaut has launched a premium range of single-origin chocolate under the brand ‘Origin’, advertising that the product can also be used in a range of confectionery, desserts or pastries. The marketing of this single-origin chocolate highlights both the distinct flavours of the cocoa from various countries arising from “the combination of terroir, botanical species and care by the local farmers” in producing high-quality beans and ensuring that the roasting technique at lower temperature preserves the “character and sensorial complexity” of the specific cocoa bean used.

Under the Origin brand, Barry Callebaut has launched chocolate made from single-origin cocoa from seven countries. Four of these single-origin cocoa sources are ACP countries: Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.

This development corroborates analysis from elsewhere in the industry. At the end of 2013, the French chocolate company Cémoi’s quality and R&D manager forecast that the chocolate market would increasingly be divided between “cheaper, lower-quality products and higher-end offerings that use cocoa blends allowing consumers to distinguish aromatic notes like a wine tasting”. He acknowledged that the market for the higher-end products would be the smaller of the two market components – “but with high added value”. 

Editorial comment

The development of a single-origin range of chocolate by the world’s largest cocoa processing company for use by consumer product manufacturers highlights the growth in demand for differentiated chocolate products. It also highlights the potential for securing additional returns on investments in traceability schemes, which are being introduced as part of the drive towards more sustainable sourcing of cocoa beans.

The Barry Callebaut initiative would appear to highlight the potential for smaller ACP cocoa producers to pursue single-origin marketing strategies for their cocoa and cocoa products, as part of broader strategies to enhance revenues from quality-differentiated cocoa production.

Individual ACP producers of fine cocoa may face difficulties in pursuing such strategies, given their limited financial and human resources. The problem of size could, however, be overcome by joint ACP initiatives to promote quality-based cocoa bean differentiation.

This could potentially build on the format of successful regional stakeholder-led initiatives to promote quality-based product differentiation, such as the Authentic Caribbean Rum Programme.

Collective action by ACP fine cocoa sectors could enhance the scope for realising higher prices for high-quality, single-origin cocoa beans through a sharing of current experiences of single-origin cocoa marketing.

Eventually, such action could even foster a joint approach by fine cocoa producers to negotiate with major cocoa processing multinationals over the distribution of the price premiums along the supply chain, in view of the higher values obtainable from single-origin cocoa products. 


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