Confectionery News reports that at least five premium chocolate making companies are interested in India’s cocoa sector to be able to produce single-origin Indian chocolate. Such chocolates are made from cocoa beans harvested from a specific country. Switzerland’s Chocolat Stella and the Austria’s Zotter already produce single-origin Indian chocolate bars. Mars, Inc. has plans to source cocoa beans from India.
India has been a cocoa producer for almost half a century, and cocoa farmers are most concentrated in the western state of Kerala. Cocoa production was introduced to the country in 1965 by Cadbury, now part of the Mondelez International group, which purchases most of the cocoa beans grown in the country. Other purchasers include Nestle and Campco. The International Cocoa Association has estimated India’s cocoa output for 2013-14 at 16,000 metric tons which is approximately 0.4% of the global supply.
Minimizing the risk of a poor cocoa yield is what Swiss chocolate manufacturer Stella Bernrain offered small cocoa farmers. It provided an alternative business model that was based on quality rather than quantity for those farmers willing to invest in cocoa bean processing know-how. It also sought to minimize the unpredictability associated with the domestic cocoa market, namely wet conditions and improper cocoa bean processing procedures. The company helped the farmers improve the cocoa bean quality and master processing techniques, especially the drying and fermentation of cocoa beans.
Cocoa Life is a holistic, verified program created by Mondelez International and partners to transform the lives and livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities. The farmer-friendly approach is best summed up by Mukherjee of Mondelez India: “What is good for the farmers is good for the cocoa crop, and what is good for the Indian cocoa crop is eventually good for us.”