Special report

Asian consumers driving demand for single origin cocoa

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

ofi's Dezaaan single origin cocoa. Pic: ofi
ofi's Dezaaan single origin cocoa. Pic: ofi

Related tags ofi Cocoa Chocolate Sustainability single origin chocolate

As ConfectioneryNews reported last month, the trend for single-origin cocoa ingredients has been growing for some time, as consumers with a sweet craving also look more closely at how and where their cocoa is sourced.

In the latest research from Innova Market Insights, between 2015 and 2019 there was a 25%  rise in chocolate launches with a ‘single origin’ claim. And in the last three years, Innova recorded 115 new product launches containing single-origin cocoa in Asia alone.

One of the main cocoa suppliers is ofi and its experts told ConfectioneryNews there are several drivers behind the rise in popularity of single-origin products, from a growing consumer desire for premium products and new flavour profiles to more emotional and social pull factors, as well as greater demand for traceability in the cocoa supply chain.

About ofi

ofi is a world-leading supplier of sustainable and transparent cocoa, coffee, dairy, nut and spice ingredients. its DeZaan D11MG single-origin cocoa powder is crafted with 100% Ghana cocoa beans.

Single-origin cocoa ingredients – those derived from beans from a single source – can deliver many benefits over their blended counterparts.

We take a deeper dive with ofi to explore some of them.

Unique flavour profiles

Single-origin cocoa ingredients open up new and unique flavor possibilities. Similar to wine, cocoa bean flavors vary depending on the terroir of the region they’re grown, with factors including the climate, soil type, and the fermentation methods used. As beans from each corner of the globe are grown and harvested in different ways, this gives them particularly unique flavour profiles. From fresh fruit notes, mild acidity, and smoky hints of Kulkul variety in Papua New Guinea, to the tangy, acidic, sharp fruit notes of Rwenzori in Uganda, there are opportunities for ofi to uncover new tastes in cocoa beans from many corners of the globe. 

Premium appeal

Customers are looking for more unique and exciting experiences in their food choices. A craving for products that provide a superior taste and tell a unique story is fuelling a desire for the finest single-origin cocoa ingredients. Cocoa bean blends from multiple origins can mean it can be a challenge to attribute specific flavor attributes when more than one type of cocoa is blended together. But with a single origin, you can discover the unique character of the cocoa.

While the trend predominantly emerged in the West, with affluent and conscious consumers wanting to consume more premium chocolate, ofi said it has also seen this emerging in the booming Asian confectionery market. Its deZaan 888NL cocoa liquor from Papua New Guinea, which can be traceable and segregated delivers a classic, full-bodied cocoa flavour which is why it’s the cocoa liquor of choice for manufacturers wanting to develop confectionery and chocolate sauces that have a rich chocolate taste.  

The demand for high quality cocoa ingredients across Asia Pacific is increasing, influencing consumer decisions and making specific cocoa liquors a particularly popular choice for confectionery in the region.

Bean to bar traceability

As customers seek premium and high quality chocolate products, they are also increasingly interested in the story of producers and their communities. The appeal of single-origin cocoa ingredients is being driven by calls for greater supply chain transparency and traceability. That’s ofi says it is seeing such a rise in bean-to-bar operations and brand storytelling around the origin.

Ofi’s deZaan D11MG single-origin cocoa powder, crafted with 100% Ghana cocoa beans, can be offered as a traceable ingredient, meaning it can trace the cocoa beans used back to the farm, farmer group or cooperative they came from.  The same can be said for cocoa liquors such as DZNM5023 which is made from Ecuadorean Arriba cocoa beans which can be a segregated and traceable ingredient. Using AtSource, ofi’s  sustainability insights platform, it is also able to gather social and environmental data to provide customers with a clear picture of the cocoa’s social and environmental journey across each stage of the supply chain.

Ofi says it anticipates that the market for single-origin cocoa powders – used in ice cream, bakery, and beverages will continue its upward trajectory as consumer demand for transparency extends – as 72% of shoppers state it as extremely important when deciding which food brands to support, according to FMI1​ – and becomes a non-negotiable.

The future of single origin

Looking ahead, traditional blended cocoa ingredients will continue to remain popular, especially given they’re often competitive on price, availability, flavour, and colour. But as demand for single-origin products continues to gather pace and is predicted by FMI2​ to be the highest revenue generator in cocoa market in the upcoming period, this will encourage companies to explore more unusual and exotic origins.

The challenge for our industry is balancing the wider benefits of single-origin ingredients with finding the most appropriate blend for certain product applications. Whilst single-origin, segregated and traceable cocoa, can enable chocolate and confectionery manufacturers to uncover and experiment with new and exciting flavors, it also provides a clear story about a product through its sustainability credentials. Multiple blends can also come into their own when chocolatiers are looking to create a precise and consistent flavor. But one thing’s for sure: the possibility of flavour palettes on offer, combined with changing consumer demands, presents a clear opportunity​,” ofi told ConfectioneryNews.


1. https://www.supermarketnews.com/consumer-trends/survey-consumers-demand-deeper-transparency-food-brands-retailers
2. https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/sample/rep-gb-2961

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