Olam-backed Twenty Degrees cacao business to explore sustainable global sources
A core target of sourcing sustainable, high grade cacao is the key goal set for Twenty Degrees, a new international business for the sector backed by Olam Cocoa, reports Neill Barston.
According to the company, it will attain its supplies from ten distinctive locations around the world offering unique flavours, including from Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Indonesia’s Seram Island (pictured main image) and Uganda, in a bid to further unlock markets considered to have notable potential serving the global premium chocolate business.
Twenty Degrees, which is named after the cacao belt ranges twenty degrees north and south of the equator, is led by a team of entrepreneurs, but will call on the expertise of Olam in its sourcing for beans and associated cocoa ingredients. Its emergence comes as the premium chocolate market continues to grow around the world, with sales of high grade ranges within the segment continue to show growth despite the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
As the company noted to Confectionery Production, consumers have become increasingly aware of the provenance of their food and increasingly seek out high quality, artisanal products with a unique flavour and story.
Crucially, the company has selected cacao farms with single origin beans that had previously been considered too specialist or remote to be sold in mainstream manufacturing operations. This include varieties grown in the highland Simbu region of Papua New Guinea, to beans farmed by the indigenous Eperara community in Ecuador’s coastal rainforest, a community only accessible by boat. A team of agronomists will work with each community to make sure the quality and flavour of its cacao meets the highest standards.
The Twenty Degrees business model is built on positive partnerships with farmers and customers. It is helping farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices and investing in the growth and security of the communities it works with. This also allows it to provide customers with new levels of transparency and traceability right back to the farm gate, so chocolate makers can know everything about the cacao beans they buy, from the farmers who grew them to the carbon footprint of the crop.
Leopold Palmer, Business Head, Twenty Degrees, enthused about the launch of the business, which he believed would enable consumers to considerably expand their experience of differing cacao flavours around the world.
He said: “We’re on a mission to change the way we think about premium cacao. We’re exploring new territories and discovering fresh terroirs in established growing regions, uncovering unique cacao beans farmed to the highest quality with the greatest possible positive impact. And we’re doing this in a way that is transparent, traceable and delivers quality, consistency and taste to meet the needs of craft chocolate makers.”
Twenty Degrees will be led by an entrepreneurial new team but draw on the expertise and operational strength of Olam Cocoa, one of the industry-leading businesses under Olam Food Ingredients (OFI). Twenty Degrees benefits from Olam Cocoa’s long-standing experience in cocoa sustainability and from the insight and expertise of its dedicated flavour lab in the Netherlands, which will test the specialty cacao beans and help to bring out their unique flavour, smell and texture.
Commenting on the launch, Gerard A. Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa added: “With Twenty Degrees, we are combining our knowledge of cocoa farming and our capability to source from distant and often remote communities with a greater focus on flavour differentiation. It will leverage our existing presence to drive sustainable farming practices and support livelihoods as part of Cocoa Compass, our sustainability ambition for the future of the industry. We are building on our wider Olam Food Ingredients offering to provide natural, value-added ingredients that positively impact people and the planet. With the benefit of our knowledge and scale, Twenty Degrees will create something truly unique in the specialty market.”
The company’s range is now available to customers in the US and Europe, as well as customers around the world, for more information visit www.twentydegreescacao.com