Working from beans to chocolate or farmer to consumer brings with it a lot of advantages – including strong sector knowledge and the ability to identify and respond to market trends, says Cémoi.
The French chocolate specialist is dedicated to the entire cocoa process – working with farmers and cocoa through to creating finished chocolate products. It works in the private label and branded sector.
ConfectioneryNews.com spoke exclusively to its strategic marketing and communications manager for cocoa and chocolate Maud Clarissou and the firm’s export products manager Leïla Mars at ProSweets 2013 in Cologne.
“We go from farmer to consumer, or beans to chocolate, so we have a broad know-how on chocolate,” Clarissou said.
The firm has specific R&D teams dedicated to cocoa, to master the aromatic, technical aspect, she said.
“In terms of processing the bean directly, competition in the market is sparse,” she added.
Knowledge gains from private label and brands
The chocolate firm started business in the private label sector but now operates in brands too.
Cémoi’s biggest private label markets are Spain, France and the UK. Its biggest market for the Cémoi brand is France but market traction in North America is developing, the managers said.
“Working in both brand and private label helps us gain knowledge on what customers want,” Clarissou said.
Export products manager Mars said that scanning both sectors is important when identifying market trends.
“From an export point of view, there is a trend towards healthy demands. There are demands for high cocoa percentages and for organic. This is especially true for North America,” Mars said.
Clarissou added that Cémoi’s involvement in the entire process of chocolate means that it can respond to these demands.
"We know we are able to develop specific recipes for customers,” she said.
The marketing manager said the company has developed a specific range to target these health demands with chocolate bars containing 85%, 74% and 72% cocoa content.
Pushing ahead in the US
Cémoi brands have been on the US market for four years, but it set up a sales office in New York September 2012 to better cater to the potential in the market, Mars said.
“It is important for customers to have someone close to talk to. We will probably shortly see a sales increase and new customers coming in,” she said.
“So far, the brand has been well-received in the market. US consumers appreciate the taste and that it’s something different. They like the French touch.”
Mars said that for the moment the focus remains on the branded chocolate sector, as private label in the market is “more difficult, but not impossible”.