Guittard Chocolate launches cultivate better cocoa sustainability drive

The US-based Guittard Chocolate Company, has launched its Cultivate Better Cocoa initiative, engaging with farming communities to help protect unique flavour profiles of their crops, reports Neill Barston

As the San Francisco company explained to Confectionery Production, its latest initiative also aims to improve yields and improve traceability at individual farm level, as part of the firm’s sustainability commitments.

Guittard, which specialises in premium chocolate ranges, has long been committed to investments in flavour, believing that doing so will lead to greater value, higher premiums and longer-term sustainability of the cocoa sector.

This belief is further reinforced through Cultivate Better Cocoa’s efforts to drive long-term sustainability for cocoa farmers and their communities. Investing in the cultivation of high-quality cocoa and building market access supports cocoa farmer’s primary income, allowing for more investment back into the farm and the community. Complementing this work by enabling the creation of secondary income streams managed by women during the cocoa off-season enables additional reinvestment into families and local communities.

The premiums received as part of Cultivate Better Cocoa are directly allocated to supporting farm-level quality and flavour investments, gender equality, income diversification, health, nutrition, and agroforestry initiatives.

Through partnerships with on-the-ground organisations, Cultivate Better Cocoa programs work together to address the following key opportunities within three origins—Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Ecuador to:

● Empower Prospering Farmers: Creating value through flavour quality. Cultivate Better Cocoa and its local partners educate farmers on identifying and preserving flavour through agricultural practices, enabling farmers to grow a more valuable product that ensures the long-term prosperity of their business and their communities.

● Inspire Thriving Communities: Through partnerships with local organisations, Guittard co-implements programs focused on gender equity, income diversification, child welfare, education, health, and nutrition—all essential components to a thriving community.

● Encourage Environmental Preservation: Guittard and local organisations partner with farmers to protect their farms and the planet by promoting sustainable, climate-smart agricultural practices such as crop diversification, composting, agroforestry, and conservation of forests for shade and soil health.

“At Guittard, we believe strongly in the connection between community and sustainability, and we recognise that the future of the cocoa industry relies on our collective effort to invest in the sustainability, well-being, and financial independence of our farming communities,” said president Gary Guittard. “Cultivate Better Cocoa is our effort to unite our global family, from the farmer who stewards the land and crop to the customer whose company has set meaningful social and environmental goals, all working towards a lasting impact for our industry, our communities, and our planet.”

The Cultivate Better Cocoa is a participatory, premium-based program offering its customers the opportunity to directly support this integrated approach through their chocolate purchases. Cultivate Better Cocoa provides collaborative impact traceable to the farm level through quality, community and environmental initiatives, all while assisting those companies in reaching their own sustainability goals.

As part of Guittard’s commitment to the initiative, Collection Etienne products will be part of Cultivate Better Cocoa, ensuring that the best chocolate is not only finely crafted but also sustainably grown and thoughtfully sourced.

The launch of its latest scheme coincides with the delivery of its updated line of Collection Etienne single-origin chocolate, for which Guittard also pays higher premiums to its farmers. Its four newly reimagined single origin chocolates–72% Ecuador, 70% Grenada, 66% Peru, and 64% Madagascar–are all designed to bring to life the flavours unique to each origin in the spirit of growing for and celebrating flavour.

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