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ADM extends premium cocoa liquor range

By Ben Bouckley , 13-Sep-2011

Ivory Coast cocoa farmer
Ivory Coast cocoa farmer

ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) Cocoa has extended its Unicao range of cocoa liquors produced from Ivory Coast cocoa beans, for use in premium milk and dark chocolate products.

UINM 3050 cocoa liquor will be made only from Ivory Coast beans processed at ADM’s facility at Abidjan within the country, and is the latest addition to a range that also includes UINM 3000 and UINM 3050.

The last-named products are medium and full-roast liquors, said ADM, and the new product has a “gentle chocolate aroma, low bitterness and enhanced bouquet”.

The new liquor offered ADM customers the chance to develop further unique flavour profiles within premium chocolate products, the company said, and was equally well-suited to mild-tasting milk chocolate and high cocoa percentage dark chocolate applications.

ADM Cocoa trading director for cocoa liquor, butter and non-cocoa ingredients, Grant Belden, said that the new product would allow “even more possibilities for new flavour combinations in premium chocolate products.”

“The single most important factor in determining the flavour of milk and dark chocolate is the cocoa liquor, which is at the heart of creating indulgent chocolate,” Belden added.

Affordable indulgence

Asked what world regions ADM was targetting with the new product, Rinus Heemskerk, technical director for ADM Cocoa told ConfectioneryNews.com that, since the Ivory Coast supplied around 40% of the world's cocoa crop, ADM sold cocoa products from the country across the world.

But with UINM's premium market in mind, Heemskerk said that "affordable indulgence" was one of the key drivers for chocolate confectionery NPD, as highlighted by the most recent Mintel Global NPD Category Insight.

"That means that premium products are desired across the category, from the most exclusive chocolate boutiques to private label producers," he said.

Dark chocolate had also grown in popularity within the EU over the past few years, Heemskerk said. "Over the last few years, dark chocolates have gained in popularity. Health perception and research on possible beneficial health effects have supported this trend.

He added: "Chocolate bars with very high cocoa content of 70% and more are preferred by consumers. However, the EU is not a homogeneous market, and there are large differences between, for instance, the UK and France."

Main harvest begins

On August 25, ADM Cocoa announced that its operations would continue in the Ivory Coast following the civil war that began early this year.

The company said at the time that it was meeting with cocoa co-operatives to support the restoration of production in the country, and Heemskerk today reported good progress to this end.

"Since the hostilities ended, our factories have been running at full capacity, producing consistent, high quality cocoa products in a safe manner. The main crop is just starting now," he said.

The city of Abidjan was the epicentre of unrest in the Ivory Coast, but ADM said that farmers throughout the country were hit by supply chain problems.

At the end of August, ADM estimated that almost 500m tonnes of cocoa were stuck at the country’s ports as a result of the seven-month conflict and a near three month export ban.

This was only lifted by new Ivory Coast president, Alassane Ouattara, in mid April.

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