ConfectioneryNews is in Singapore for the 2nd annual Asia Choco Cocoa Congress and will be reporting from the event from 21-23 April.
Asia & Oceania is expected to account for 11% of the world’s cocoa supply in the current crop year (2014/15) through producing nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia. The region is also forecast to process 20% of the world’s cocoa as chocolate demand rises in fast growing and populous economies such as China and India.
Hershey and Mondelēz offer perspectives
The Asia Choco Cocoa Congress will explore chocolate consumption trends in developed Asian markets such as Japan and youth eating habits, but the focus will be on driving cocoa sustainability in Asia by attracting the next generation of farmers, improving livelihoods and effective farm management.
There are also sessions on packaging and manufacturing from Bühler , Stopak International and Royal Duyvis Wiener.
Speakers include the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) executive director Jean-Marc Anga, Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life Director Cathy Pieters, Richard Camacho of Hershey and Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation.
Multinationals see huge potential among Asia’s rising middle classes. Hershey says China will become its number two market behind the United States by 2018 and it will invest $250m in a facility in Malaysia, due to be operational this year.
Others are circling. Mars last month said it would invest $160m on a factory in the “high priority” Indian market, while Mondelēz also plans a $163m plant in the country. Ferrero is also planning to build its first manufacturing facility in China.
According to Euromonitor International, Mars is the leading confectioner in Asia followed by Mondelēz International, Korean- based Lotte and Swiss giant Nestlé.
Cocoa supply outside Africa
Chocolate companies see potential to grow cocoa sourcing networks beyond Africa and closer to the developing chocolate markets in Asia.
At the conference, National Cocoa Board chiefs from Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia will provide supply outlooks in their respective markets.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest cocoa producer. Production volumes failed to meet the Indonesian Cocoa Board’s predictions in the past three years due to prevalence of pests and tree diseases, particularly cocoa pod borer (CPB), vascular streak dieback (VSD) and blackpod diseases. But the Cocoa Board has been working to provide disease resistant clones and encouraging farmers to modify the environment so it becomes unsuitable for pests to survive.