Chocoa Conference 2019

London Chocolate comes to Chocoa on a mission

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

London Chocolate comes to Chocoa on a mission

Related tags Chocoa 2019

Bean-to-bar brand says ‘chocoisseurs’ the big trend of 2019, and that Europe still has some catching up to do with United States.

London Chocolate, the newly launched bean-to-bar brand, arrives at the Chocoa Conference in Amsterdam today on the back of winning a bronze at this year’s International Chocolate Awards.

Founder of London Chocolate, Alex Heeley, told ConfectioneryNews that Europe is finally ripe for an explosion of bean-to-bar chocolate: “We have been slow to react to the craft revolution, but we are steadily now seeing the same trends for craft beer and wine taking a big hold in confectionery. The market in the USA is already pretty well developed, but this year, we are seeing much more demand particularly in the metropolitan cities across Europe​.”

Specialist shops and ‘chocoisseurs'

Speaking at this month’s Chocoa event in Amsterdam, where the company is attending alongside other bean-to-bar makers. He added: “Go to any major food event in Europe now and the bean-to-bar companies are growing extremely quickly. Chocoa itself is testament to the trend and over the next few years you will see a rise of specialist shops and the ‘chocoisseurs’ that really redefine how we consume chocolate. In five years’ time I think it will be fairly normal to pay a premium price for an extra special bar for the weekends​.”

London Chocolate was founded last year in the heart of the city’s Canary Wharf district, an area synonymous with merchant trade from exotic locations – cacao and sugar have been arriving at the docks since 1802.

Heeley said the company’s beans are sourced ethically from individual plantations and it donates  5% of profits to sustainable charities.

Ahead of Chocoa, Heeley told Confectionery News that the challenge up until now has been that consumers in Europe – and the UK – have found it hard to differentiate between, ‘premium chocolate’, ‘hand-made chocolate’ and ‘bean-to-bar’.

This is where we may see groups collaborate to establish standards. The bean-to-bar community is very inclusive and I think it’s quite likely we will begin to fight together against the often misleading packaging on some of bigger brands masquerading as ‘bean-to-bar’​.

Ultimately, however, the consumer will take over the responsibility and will be the market’s biggest advocate. Just like in wines, consumers will look for specific flavor notes, fruits and origins…. I personally have a preference for citrus chocolate​.”

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