Chocoa organiser seeks to drive plans for revised 2022 hybrid cocoa event
Jack Steijn, of Equipoise, at ISM, as he prepares plans for Chocoa
The co-founder of Amsterdam’s Chocoa cocoa and chocolate festival has expressed confidence in being able to stage a revised date in 2022 for the key annual event, writes Neill Barston.
Speaking to Confectionery Production during a visit to this week’s ISM show in Cologne, Jack Steijn revealed that the organising team is closing in on an alternative date for the Netherlands-based event, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
It had been scheduled to take place later this month, but the ongoing pandemic had impacted on the availability of some of its keynote speakers as well as visitors’ ability to travel against a backdrop of the country having experienced its latest lockdown conditions.
According to Steijn, who praised the levels of innovation on display at ISM, he revealed that plans are being put forward which would see a hybrid format for Chocoa that would potentially take place this summer or autumn, depending on conditions.
He said: “June will be our first option for this year’s Chocoa, but if that isn’t possible then we will look at October, as we will have to be careful of other cocoa events that are happening around the world. For our trade fair, we have had a lot of requests from cocoa bean exporters – there’s not another platform for that, so we have had requests from Latin America and West African regarding this, as well as new cocoa exporting countries like the Republic of Congo, and we would like to have at least one hall for participants, which would be smaller than the last live event we did, just to kick things off,” explained the cocoa specialist, who confirmed that there are also plans to livestream the core events to ensure maximum participation from the event.
He believed that with the pandemic still posing a problem in some locations around the world, having a combined ‘hybrid event’ would enable a smaller core of people to gather in Amsterdam, alongside broader participation online.
According to Steijn there would be a limited number of people able to attend in person (around 150-200) which would create a live atmosphere balanced against a strong online element.
As regards its themes, he said that sustainability would remain at the core of the show, with traceability within supply chains expected to form a core element of the experience. Equipoise, the organisation behind the event, is anticipating finalising a renewed schedule by next month.