Chocolat Madagascar moves into China after backing from UK government

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Neil Kelsall, founding director of Chocolat Madagascar. Photo: Chocolat Madagascar.
Neil Kelsall, founding director of Chocolat Madagascar. Photo: Chocolat Madagascar.

Related tags China Exports Madagascar Chocolate

The business has been supported by the Food is GREAT campaign, and plans to continue targeting new overseas markets, including the US.

Chocolat Madagascar, a UK-based premium chocolate producer, has secured a five-year contract with a distributor that will see orders worth over £2m ($2.54m) exported to China, thanks to support from the Food is GREAT campaign, which is led by the government’s Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Established in 2013, the chocolatier specialises in ethically sourced, fresh chocolate that is grown, fermented and manufactured in Madagascar, then marketed and distributed from the UK and Madagascar. The business has won 38 international awards since 2014.

Unique equitable trade model 

Through its own unique equitable trade model Raisetrade, Chocolat Madagascar partners with cocoa farmers and the Chocolaterie Robert factory in Madagascar to support local development by investing in education, providing job opportunities and bringing international awareness to the country’s produce.

The Raisetrade Product of Origin label can be used by other producers operating in markets where GDP is less than 10% of the US. 

The company’s recent export deal will see refrigerated shipping containers of its chocolate sent to Marvine Trading, a distributor in China that supplies food and drink professionals and retailers.

In May, Chocolat Madagascar also secured its first order with Germany’s largest supplier to the gourmet food service industry, BOS Foodservice. The business was introduced to BOS at confectionery trade show, ISM Cologne, which it attended after securing a Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grant through the Food is GREAT campaign.

British expertise

Neil Kelsall, founding director of Chocolat Madagascar, said: “The core purpose of our business is to create and channel wealth and skills back into Madagascar with British expertise. By bringing award-winning fine quality chocolate to the rest of the world, we share and grow the profits with the people of Madagascar​.

DIT (Department for International Trade) has been vital in our international expansion, most recently into China. Throughout our 14-year relationship, DIT has acted as a guide, enabling us to navigate international markets by providing various workshops and helping us overcome difficulties relating to international property risks, food laws and packaging requirements​.”

Overseas sales currently account for half of Chocolat Madagascar’s annual turnover, thanks to its export activity in Japan, France and the US. It intends to increase its presence in the US next year, capitalising on the growing demand for fine and fresh chocolate that is suitable for vegans.

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