MIA chocolate increases output and improves its environmental impact in Madagascar

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

MIA makes bean-to-bar chocolate at origin in Madagascar. Pic: ConfectioneryNews
MIA makes bean-to-bar chocolate at origin in Madagascar. Pic: ConfectioneryNews

Related tags Madagascar

Chocolate brand MIA, short for Made In Africa, says it has increased its social and environmental impact in 2019 due to larger volumes of chocolate produced and the transition to locally pressed Madagascan cocoa butter.

The British company, which has released its 2019 Impact Report​, makes chocolate in Madagascar by uniting a network of varied supply partners around the production of its bean-to-bar products.

In 2019, MIA said its production addressed eight United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), supported 15 full-time jobs and protected over 5,000 trees in Madagascar.

Tree planting programme

Its MIA ‘1 for Change’ impact programme – funded by 1% of sales – committed to ‘MIA Green’ to offset CO2 emissions with a tree planting programme and also created a ‘Fruit Tree Scholarships’ to facilitate secondary school education for vulnerable students.

Co-founder Brett Beach says the decision to make finished products in Africa is down to the fact that the continent cultivates 70% of the world’s cocoa yet its communities benefit from just 0.2% of value-added chocolate production that brings much needed jobs and develops skilled labour.

Since cocoa was spread around the world following the arrival of Columbus in the Americas, we have seen some positive developments at the farm level. Since widespread consumption in the 1800s, most cultivation has moved from forced labour to free trade with fair trade as a path to a better life for cocoa farmers​.

Production of value-added chocolate bars, on the other hand, started in Europe and has largely stayed in rich nations in the Northern Hemisphere. There has been little to no change in where chocolate confectionery is made and who benefits​.

Something is drastically wrong when a country as small as Belgium with a population of 11M produces more than 10% of the world’s chocolate and Africa’s 1.2bn people make less than 1%. MIA is out to change this inequality​.”

In addition to increasing production volume in 2019, MIA says it has transitioned to locally pressed cocoa butter.

MIA co-founder Sarah Lescrauwaet says: “On the one hand the shift to locally produced cocoa butter allows us to increase positive impact at cocoa farms through increased purchases. It also means we can use aromatic cocoa butter made from fine flavour Madagascan beans instead of deoderised butter that is made from mass market beans. This adds more depth of flavour to MIA chocolate and helped us bring home three Great Taste Awards in 2019​.”

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