Improving sustainable cocoa sourcing marks key theme of Chocoa

Delivering greater levels of sustainable sourcing within the cocoa sector was among key themes of this year’s Chocoa event in Amsterdam.

Organiser Jack Steijn, of Equipoise, explained the showcase, which took place between February 20-24, placed a significant spotlight on an urgent need to increase efforts to support major cocoa farming communities.

Held at the Beurs van Berlage, speakers for its centerpiece conference included Michel Arrion (the new Executive director of the International Cocoa Organisation), Cédric van Cutsem (Cocoa Life, Mondelez International), Filip Buggenhout (Cargill), Etelle Higonnet (Mighty Earth), Peter de Koning (Amsterdam Declaration), Juan Echanova (Care America).

The event, which returned for its seventh edition, also featured a trade fair offering the chance for attendees to meet cocoa producers, as well as see a diverse spread of new confectionery products released for 2019.

In addition, another popular feature, the cocoa auction, returned and offered the opportunity to place bids for International Cocoa Awards beans.

Mr Steijn confirmed a record attendance for the event, totalling 1,500 delegates representing the global confectionery and cocoa sector.

Speaking to Confectionery Production, he said: “This year’s Chocoa was a fantastic event and we were overwhelmed by the amount of participants. I believe it was an enormous success considering that when we started out seven years ago, we only had around 80 people within a room.”

Steijn explained that it was considered that sustainability should remain at the event’s core, given the importance of the issue for the sector.

“There were some really important speakers for the event, including Michel Arrion, who was only in his second month in his new role at the ICCO. He highlighted the point that everyone is now talking about the need for sustainability, but just how little impact he believed it was actually achieving.”

Despite such concerns, he said the conference noted that the industry had been working towards effecting change in cocoa sourcing policies.

Steijn added: “One of the key subjects centred on how farming communities in cocoa growing regions including Africa could be empowered to bring about sustainability, and the issue of how to move towards a living wage for them.”
Among the launches at the forum event were two debut appearance from Indian confectionery brands – the sustainably focused Cocoatrait, and Paul & Mike, a bean-to-bar business.

L Nitin Chordia, of Cocotrait, said: “We are proud to have been at the event and we shall be back again in 2020 with an India pavilion making the Cocoatrait-India the platform for Indian bean-to-bar chocolate makers and cocoa framers to reach out to the world.”

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