San Francisco-based Guittard Chocolate Company has launched its Cultivate Better Cocoa initiative, a new program that engages with cocoa-growing communities to improve the integrity of its cocoa and improve traceability at farm level.
Guittard has long been committed to investments in flavor, believing that doing so will lead to greater value, higher premiums and longer-term sustainability of the cocoa sector.
Established over 150 years ago, the family-owned company says this belief is further reinforced through Cultivate Better Cocoa’s efforts to drive long-term sustainability for cocoa farmers and their communities.
"At Guittard, we believe strongly in the connection between community and sustainability, and we recognize that the future of the cocoa industry relies on our collective effort to invest in the sustainability, well-being, and financial independence of our farming communities," says President Gary Guittard.
"Cultivate Better Cocoa is our effort to unite our global family, from the farmer who stewards the land and crop to the customer whose company has set meaningful social and environmental goals, all working towards a lasting impact for our industry, our communities, and our planet.”
Secondary income streams
Part of Cultivate Better Cocoa’s remit will be the creation of secondary income streams managed by women during the cocoa off-season that will enable additional reinvestment into families and local communities.
Guittard says the premiums received as part its initiative are directly allocated to supporting farm-level quality and flavor investments, gender equality, income diversification, health, nutrition, and agroforestry schemes.
“Investing in the cultivation of high-quality cocoa and building market access supports cocoa farmer’s primary income, allowing for more investment back into the farm and the community,” the company says.
The introduction of Cultivate Better Cocoa coincides with the launch of Guittard's updated line of Collection Etienne single-origin chocolate, for which Guittard also pays higher premiums to its farmers. Guittard’s four newly reimagined single origin chocolates - 72% Ecuador, 70% Grenada, 66% Peru, and 64% Madagascar - are all designed to bring to life the flavors unique to each origin in the spirit of growing for and celebrating flavor.