The company previously only supplied cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients (liquor, butter and powder) to industry from its facilities in Nicaragua.
It will now produce chocolate from Nicaraguan beans at a factory in Denmark, operated by a sub-contractor.
Newcomer to private label market
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at the ISM trade fair in Cologne last week, Niels Ingemann Møller, president and owner of Ingemann, said: "We were requested by some customers to extend into chocolate as private label.
"The chocolate is produced by a present customer of our beans - so they are our subcontractors - but the idea is that we control the whole value chain from the tree to the final chocolate bar."
The Danish owners of Ingemann entered Nicaragua in 2007 as beekeepers.
Ingemann acquired cocoa bean supplier Xoco Nicaragua in 2013. Today, it suppliers cocoa beans that are verified through its own certification standard Cocoa-ID.
High farm gate prices
The company sources wet beans directly from smallholders and takes them to an Ingemann-managed fermentation and drying center.
Ingemann previously told us it pays farmers a 25% premium on top of the New York cocoa price.
"These farmers are paid some of the highest farmgate prices in the world,” said Ingemann Møller at ISM last week.
"But this means we also have to sell at higher prices to our customers... And the market [for high end chocolate] is not necessarily developing as quickly as our commitments. That's why we started private label,” he continued.
Ka'Kau Collective: The brand
Ingemann will serve private label customers with chocolate bars or with 5-kilo bulk chocolate packages, which can be re-melted.
Ingemann has also developed its own chocolate brand Ka'Kau Collective, which comprises two 70% cocoa chocolate bars and a 85% cocoa chocolate bar.
"The brand is created just as a showcase. Our plan is to sell as much private label as possible,” said the company’s owner.
Ingemann is eyeing private label business with retail chains in Europe and expects the UK and Germany to be key markets.
The firm will continue to supply cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients to the industry.