Potential chocolate breakthrough for Mars could offer a key boost to African confectionery

The decision by Mars to place a patent for a new chocolate series that has a higher melting point is extremely interesting on a number of levels.

As has been noted, the company, along with others such as Nestle, have previously attempted this some years ago, with nothing seemingly making its way to market, but this time around it seems that there may well have been a clear breakthrough in the use of polyols that have a greater resistance to heat.

Why does this matter? Well, for starters, it would potentially open up the confectionery market for producing nations including the likes of Ivory Coast and Ghana, who supply nearly two thirds of the cocoa for chocolate confectionery, yet many of those who are farming it have never even tasted the items they’ve laboured hard to supply – both on cost grounds, and conditions which are not widely conducive for keeping chocolate-based confectionery.

However, a brief amount of research reveals there are now a small number of local companies within those two countries that are now starting to make headway in terms of locally-made product lines, so the potential for a major company like Mars to point the way for further creation of product ranges for the region would be a welcome development indeed. This in turn may lead to greater full-scale processing of cocoa within producer nations, which has in many instances not been the norm for the industry. With the global chocolate sector said to be worth an annual sum of more than $150 billion a year, why shouldn’t local workforces see a greater share of the considerable profits that exist within the sector?

In relation to how European-centred companies generally relate to Africa and other growing territories in Indonesia and South America, it’s clear to see that there has been a great deal more engagement in recent years in terms of a drive to give back to farming communities. This has been particularly encouraging to see, but as we have previously noted, there is a considerable distance to go to ensure the sustainability of the sector within its core production markets, so any development that potential increases opportunities for production of locally-focused products has to be a good thing for certain.

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