Cargill uses Rainforest Alliance certified coconut oil for its chocolate business

Cargill is staking a claim for its cocoa and chocolate business as the first to use Rainforest Alliance certified coconut oil sourced through a mass balance model as an ingredient in its coatings and fillings.

The company said the initiative had come in response to consumers’ growing demands for sustainably sourced ingredients within confectionery, bakery and ice-cream.

Inge Demeyere, managing director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe, explained the thinking behind this development: “The demand from consumers for sustainably sourced ingredients is well established. Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business is already a leader in implementing standards for cocoa sustainability supporting farmers and their communities through training and expertise with the Cargill Cocoa Promise – so the move to offering coatings and fillings using sustainably sourced coconut oil was a good next step.”

Cargill’s broad food knowledge and direct involvement in various agricultural supply chains means it is in a unique position to source coconut grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms that are required to meet comprehensive criteria for sustainable agriculture.

Demeyere continued: “We use it to replace conventional coconut oil in the current coatings and fillings part of ice cream, bakery and confectionery applications, providing the same great sensory impression and quality as ever, while adding value to our customers’ recipes.”

Cargill together with BASF, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have joined forces in development of a partnership as part of the program of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Working together to address the challenges facing the coconut supply chain, in 2015 the joint project reached a milestone by pioneering sustainability standards for coconut – producing among the world’s first Rainforest Alliance Certified copra, or dried coconut flesh.

Results for 300 coconut producers on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in the Philippines participating in the first wave of the project (2011-2015) have been impressive – with a 15 per cent increase in their incomes. Cargill and their partners have also set further targets to train approximately 3,300 smallholder farmers and get at least 825 farmers to produce coconuts in the Philippines and Indonesia following the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agricultural Standard, with the aim of increasing their net incomes by 5-10% by the end of 2019.

Demeyere concluded: “Ethical brand positioning is an increasingly important driver for our customers’ products and brand enhancement. By providing our customers with supply chain integrity and certified ingredients via products such as our coatings and fillings including coconut oil sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms on a mass balance basis, they can position their products to appeal to the growing number of ethically aware consumers.”

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