Instead, Chocoa co-founder Jack Steijn said plans are now in the pipeline to revert to a live event later in the year if pandemic restrictions are lifted in Amsterdam, the home of the sustainable cocoa conference that is also due to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2022.
The Netherlands has been in various states of lockdown since the Christmas period, but the government has bowed to public pressure this week and announced the reopening of stores, hairdressers and gyms.
The country has recorded more than 3.5 million infections and 21,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic - and according to the Netherlands Institute for Health (RIVM), infections reached another record high above 36,000 on Sunday.
Chocoa was planned to take place online from 22 to 24 February, but organisers believe by postponing there may be a possibility to host a hybrid format, including a live element alongside the virtual platform.
Steijn told ConfectioneryNews: “In the Netherlands at the moment, all events are cancelled. Shops have re-opened this week, but bars, restaurants, museums and the like are still closed. We could have had our online event, but we did get many requests for an in-person event.
“As we are optimistic about the possibilities of having in-person events from the end of May, we’ve decided it would be better to wait. We are now looking for dates, but we depend on the availability of venues and on some other cocoa events that are planned in that period.”
Chocoa is usually held in Amsterdam’s former stock exchange building, the Beurs van Berlage, and attracted over 150 exhibitors and over 1,500 professional visitors at its last live incarnation in 2020.
Its virtual event last year also proved successful with the cocoa sustainability discussions attracting over 600 participants, setting a new industry standard for virtual events.
“As Chocoa 2022 will be the tenth edition of our event, we have concluded we should experience and celebrate it with a live audience, next to the online community that we will continue to serve. So we have decided to postpone the event to a later date in the year,” said Steijn.