Puratos has boosted production with the acquisition of a majority share in Floresta do Rio Doce, the first origin cocoa factory in Brazil.
Single source chocolate is made with cocoa beans harvested in one specific country or growing area. Factors unique to the area such as soil, climate and habitat all contribute to the unique flavour of cocoa beans and the taste profile of the final chocolate product. For many major manufacturers consistency of supply is key, particularly for premium products where a distinct chocolate taste is an important differentiator. Cocoa suppliers have responded by developing strong links with cocoa producing countries or a local presence.
A spokesperson for Puratos told FoodNavigator.com that developments at the site will be a “gradual process” with the company entering into a collaborative “study phase.” Building on its experience of plantations in Mexico, Puratos will work with local employees and experts to develop a strategy for investment and expansion to ensure the successful future of the company. The planned construction of a new factory next to the existing site in Linhares will be part of this process.
Eddy van Belle, chairman of the Puratos Group said that the acquisition; “marks the start of a new era of origin chocolate in Brazil. Floresta do Rio Doce also represents a new value chain example for the chocolate and cocoa industry, where farmers, chocolatiers and end consumers are brought together to exchange ideas and know-how.”
Located close to over 450 cocoa farms, the factory will begin production of Puratos’ chocolate Chocolante and Carat as well as its traditional brands Vitto and Norcau.
Other cocoa suppliers have identified the benefits of single origin cocoa and offer it as part of their product ranges. Cargill, for example, offers cocoa powders from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Brazil, with the latter available from two different regions; Amazon or Ocean. Whilst Barry Callebaut claims to have developed the largest range of origin chocolates available on the market.
Provenance at a premium
The use of provenance on pack is still very niche and generally found at the premium end of the market, according to a cocoa market report from Euromonitor International. It highlights the use of country of origin as well as variety specific cocoa ingredients to deliver uniquely flavoured products. Further growth is not forecast in the short term due to strong consumer demand for cheaper chocolate. Hotel Chocolate’s The Purist range, which uses origin specific cocoa in a number of products, is included as a current example of a premium retail product.