Harald and Nugali Chocolates had previously been selling single origin Brazilian chocolate in the domestic market, but this year will expand distribution into the U.S. - the world’s largest chocolate market.
Exporting to the U.S. market
Maitê Lang, director of Nugali Chocolates, told ConfectioneryNews at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago last month: "The U.S. is a market that is increasing in gourmet chocolates - there are more bean-to-bar manufacturers."
She said U.S. consumers were demanding indulgent treats with clean labels and natural ingredients and said the time was right to enter the U.S. "Consumers want to know where the products coming from and they want to know that there's a history and a respect for the environment and the people,” she said.
Nugali has been producing single origin Brazilian chocolate since 2006 mainly for the domestic market. Last year, it began exporting to U.A.E. and Japan and is now seeking distributors in America.
The company has developed a new line under its single origin range with more Brazilian flavors such as acai. "It's an effort on Brazilian natural flavors - that's what we want,” said Lang.
Harald enters world’s largest chocolate market
Harald, a much larger Brazilian chocolate producer with a 75,000 MT capacity per year, introduced a single origin Brazilian chocolate line last year and launched the brand in the U.S. in March this year. It uses cocoa mainly from the Cabruca cacao tree.
Milena Boggia, international trade manager at Harald, told this site the move into the U.S. had been highly anticipated by the company, but there were certain hurdles it hadn't prepared for.
She said farms in Brazil were still adapting to conditions to be considered fine flavor cocoa, which delayed the U.S. launch.
100% premium for fine flavor Brazilian cocoa
"There are around four or five farms only, so there's not as much as we want. The capacity is really small. It's growing but we have to pay a 100% premium to get the fine cocoa,” said Boggia, adding that one of Harald’s products sourced cocoa from a single farm.
“It’s not only a matter of working with single origin, but single farms and we only make the use of fine cocoa,” she said.
Growing regions and flavor profile
Brazilian cocoa grows in regions such as the Transamazon, Lower Xingu, Pará and Bahia. "What's more fuller in the Brazilian cocoa is the fruity flavor like banana. It's a little bit citric, but just a bit,” says Nugali Chocolate’s Maitê Lang.
The world cocoa market distinguishes between ‘fine flavor’ and ‘bulk’ or ordinary cocoa beans. Fine Flavor beans generally come from Criollo or Trinitario cocoa tree varieties rather than common Forastero trees.
Comparative price points
In the U.S. Harald's single origin Brazilian chocolate retails at $4 for a 100 g bar. "We'd be around the price of Lindt and Godiva and the premium brands - mostly European brands,” said Boggia. By comparison, Walmart sells 100 g Lindt Excellence tablets for $2.38 online.
Harald’s has already secured listing in mainstream grocery chains in the U.S. West Coast through its distributor, which is located in Miami but has a warehouse in Virginia.
What about Western Europe?
According to Harald’s international trade manager Milena Boggia, Brazilian chocolate would struggle to compete in Western Europe with well-established Swiss, Belgian and German firms. "Brazil is very well known throughout the world for producing cocoa, but it doesn’t have any tradition in producing chocolate,” she said.
"If you ask me: are we making money selling to the U.S.? No, we are not. But it's something strategic for us,” said Boggia.
Nugali also pays double the market price to secure Scavina 6 cacao from Brazil. Its products retail in the U.S. at $4.99 for 100 g bars. "We think we've been closer to the farmer so we can be more competitive,” said Lang
She said Nugali would concentrate first on specialty channels in the U.S., but added: “I would love to compete with Lindt, they have a great brand and they make great products."