Jeff Beckman, director of corporate communications at Hershey, told ConfectioneryNews, the company buys processed cocoa products such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder from its suppliers who have the technical expertise in cocoa bean processing.
“This cocoa sourcing strategy has not changed.
“We have great relationships with our cocoa producing countries and work with them on ways to support the cocoa communities and to help children in those communities,” he said.
Côte d’Ivoire is the top cocoa processor globally, but it processes only around 28% of its annual production at home, according to International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) forecasts for the 2016/17 crop year.
Reuters reported last week that Ivorian vice president Daniel Kablan Duncan will travel to the US this month to discuss Hershey establishing a semi-processed cocoa plant in Côte d’Ivoire. It comes as the country aims to process half its supply domestically by 2020.
But Hershey said it was not contacted by Reuters for the story and refused to speculate on changes to its business strategy.
“As I said before, we do not process cocoa and that approach to how we operate our business has not changed,” said Beckman.
Hershey signed a long-term sourcing agreement for cocoa ingredients with supplier Barry Callebaut in 2007.
The US chocolate producer also buys UTZ cocoa products from Cargill.