Puratos’ joint venture company, Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam, recently opened a fermentation plant in Ben Tre province, which included a Cocoa Development Center opened in collaboration with Mars.
Gricha Safarian, managing director of Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam, said: “The ‘beans to bar’ concept will be the game changer to the cocoa industry in Vietnam. The opening of the fermentation plant is one of the last steps taken in the region to achieve a full vertical integration from cocoa beans to chocolate bar.”
“Instead of relying on importing high added value from abroad, Vietnam is now turning into an exporter of high added value cocoa raw material.”
Fermentation plant and cocoa center
The fermentation plant will allow local farmers to bring cocoa pods for fermentation, drying and bagging for export.
This allows Puratos to control the quality of the cocoa and farmers are given a better price in return as well as access to the Cocoa Development Center.
The center, established in collaboration with Mars, is a demonstration and training center teaching farmers sustainable growing techniques. It includes a model farm to show farmers what a successful farm should look like.
Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam hosted the roundtable “Accelerating the future of Vietnam cocoa” when the fermentation plant and development center were inaugurated.
Puratos and fellow Belgian ingredients supplier Grand-Place entered a 5-year $10m joint venture in Vietnam in January this year.
Boosting yields tenfold by 2020
Chow Boi Yee, an origin expert for Mars, said in a blog post that Vietnam cocoa beans gave a unique flavor with fruity and spicy notes.
He said that cocoa production in Vietnam was currently around 5,000 MT. He added that the Vietnamese government had recognized cocoa as a strategic new crop.
He said that with support from the government as well as Puratos “the vision of 50,000 tons of Vietnamese beans by 2020 is no longer a pipe dream”.