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Love Byron Bay creperie and chocolate boutique is dedicated to sourcing, creating and sharing a quality chocolate experience from Byron Bay, Australia. We'll cultivate your understanding of cocoa, stimulate the palate with a discerning appreciation, fire the imagination with unique chocolate encounters and share the passion for this legendary food of the gods. Exceptional chocolate infused with delicious flavours, irresistible aromatic characteristics and high quality cocoa. 


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Choc News: Belgian Chocolate Under Threat By International Takeovers

Alison Campbell

Since inventing the praline more than 100 years ago, Belgium has cultivated a £3.5bn chocolate industry that accounted for 9 per cent of Belgium’s food sales last year.

Belgian chocolate, one of the country’s most popular exports, has become the ultimate seal of quality and taste, but for Belgians it runs much deeper. It is a matter of national pride – and the industry is going through an identity crisis.

chocolate praline.jpg

Aside from the general pressures that come with operating in a globalised world where big fish eat the smaller ones, Belgian’s chocolatiers exist in a market where prices are rising, global demand is soaring, and where some of its most established chocolate manufacturers are being accused of muddying the good Belgian name.

“In our dictionary, Belgian means place of manufacturing, headquarters and ownership,” Ignace Van Doorselaere, chief executive of chocolatier Neuhaus, tells The Independent. “It is essential that Neuhaus is 100 per cent Belgian. It adds pride to important details, and it’s important to ensure consistent quality.”

But Steven Candries, sales director at Guylian, argues that it is possible for companies to have foreign owners and remain true to their Belgian heritage. He insists the Guylian takeover 10 years ago “hasn’t changed anything”, and that it still produces everything in Belgium. In fact, this year it has pledged to become the first Belgian chocolate manufacturer to use no palm oil in its products, which has been linked to environmental, social and health concerns.

But some Belgian manufacturers, Candries points out, make their chocolates in factories abroad, and still call it Belgian. For example, Godiva has a factory in Pennsylvania, US.

According to Guy Gallet, the secretary general of Choprabisco (the Royal Belgian Association of the Biscuit, Chocolate, Pralines and Confectionary), it’s less important who the manufacturer’s owners are.

“What’s most important for us is that the chocolate is made here. Foreign companies don’t invest in Belgian chocolate with the aim of locating it to another county, because they couldn’t then use the Belgian chocolate name,” he says.

In some cases, however, these foreign takeovers can affect product lines. Brussels-based chocolate manufacturer Godiva, for example, is almost 100 years old and was bought by American firm Campbell Soup Company in 1966 and subsequently purchased by the Turkish Yıldız Holding in 2007. Last year the company found itself in a PR nightmare when it announced it would no longer be making pralines containing liqueur, which was, up until then, one of its signature chocolates, in order to appeal to more people.

Leading Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone doesn’t approve. “My grandmother always bought Godiva when I was child. They were very famous for liquor chocolate but now, with their new owners, it’s forbidden. But starting to change original recipes is not a good idea,” he tells The Independent.

Annie Young-Scrivner, Godiva’s CEO, says chocolate is part of Belgium’s national identity, and the “essence of what it means to be Belgian”.

She says Godiva is a “proud ambassador of the Belgian heritage”, and that the brand is Belgian “through and through”.

Despite accusations Godiva isn’t as thoroughly Belgian as some of its competitors, two years later it was honoured with the Belgian royal warrant, and became the official chocolatier of the royal court – a role it still holds today.

The company was taken over by Yıldız partly because Godiva was assured they shared a “mutual love and passion for chocolate”, according to the Turkis firm’s chairman Murat Ülker. Young-Scrivner says Godiva has since stayed true to its Belgian heritage, which Yıldız respects, while expanding to more than 100 countries.

“We marry innovation with tradition,” she says, offering as an example the chocolatier’s range of products, which celebrate Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and Ramadan. International takeovers aren’t the only threat to the coveted Belgian chocolate label; manufacturers around the world with no connection to Belgium are using the good name to shift stock, forcing chocolatiers to stand up for what they believe constitutes true Belgian chocolate.

The label certainly hasn’t happened overnight. Since Jean Neuhaus Jr, grandson of the founder of chocolate-maker Neuhaus, invented the praline in Belgium in 1912, the country has grown and attracted some of the world’s most talented chocolatiers. It invented the ballotin, a boxed packaging that keeps chocolate fresh, developed methods to transport liquid chocolate, and introduced chocolate modelling paste.

“Over 150 years ago, Belgium was an ecosystem of chocolatiers – it was the Silicon Valley of chocolate; taste profiles were refined, and craftsmen innovated and challenged each other and improved their products,” Ignace Van Doorselaere says.

European Union legislation says that in order to call a product chocolate, it must contain no more than 5 per cent substitute fat, which is cheaper than using cocoa butter. But Belgium does one better.

Belgian chocolate bears little resemblance to the sugary confectionery that goes under the name of chocolate in other parts of the world. The key is the ingredients and the purity of the cocoa, which must conform to strict regulations. Master chocolate-makers never use substitute fats.

But manufacturers argue that the quality of Belgian chocolate, and all the hard work behind it, is being undermined by sub-par chocolate claiming to be Belgian – and not enough is being done to get the situation under control.

Guy Gallet says EU legislation on misleading labels goes some way to protect Belgian chocolate, but it’s not enough.

“We have success with it and there are fewer cases these days where we need to intervene, but it’s harder in, say, China,” he says. Choprabisco is looking at “more proactive” ways of protecting the Belgian chocolate label – one that’s more specific, as the current EU protection applies for all foods.


Choc News: Three chocolate bars a month can reduce heart failure

Alison Campbell

Eating three chocolate bars every month can drastically reduce your risk of experiencing heart failure, scientists have claimed.

Many people often believe that in order to live as healthily as possible, they need to eliminate all forms of sugary snacks from their diets.

Chocolate Bar.jpg

However, a recent study presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich states that moderation, not deprivation, is key in preventing heart issues later on in life.

A team of researchers assessed more than half a million adults in order to determine how consumption of chocolate impacts heart health. They came to the conclusion that eating up to three chocolate bars a month can reduce risk of heart failure by 23 per cent in comparison to those who don’t eat any chocolate at all.

However, eating too much chocolate can lead to a 17 per cent increased risk of heart failure, which is why it’s important not to go overboard. Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and lead researcher of the study, explained how the flavonoids found in chocolate can be beneficial for one’s health.

“I would say moderate dark chocolate consumption is good for health.”

The team who conducted the study examined five separate studies for their research, which consisted of 575,852 individuals in total.

They stated that further research is needed to explore the connection between chocolate intake and heart health.

Earlier this year, a study carried out in California concluded that eating dark chocolate can have a positive effect on your mental health by relieving stress and boosting memory function


Choc News: Callebaut releases chocolate with natural gold colour

Alison Campbell

European cocoa giant Barry Callebaut CG has released a naturally golden-coloured chocolate in time for the festive season. The gold chocolate has been in development for two years. 


To create the gold colour, Belgian chocolatiers incorporate sugar and milk that has been caramelised into the chocolate. 

Technically a white chocolate, it contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, milk sugar (lactose), whey powder, caramelised milk powder, caramelised sugar, soya lecithin (emulsifier), natural vanilla and salt. 

The resulting flavour has "notes of toffee, butter and cream", with an intense toasted caramel and slightly salty taste, and a milky, silk texture.

Callebaut's high melting point makes it suitable for cooking and a favourite among professional pastry chefs.

We predict the new hue will add a little more glam to your festive banquet, with the use of gold chocolate in classics such as chocolate mousse, fondant, rocky road, fudge, fondue, or a Christmas trifle.

Choc News: Inside Big Chocolate's Child Labour Problem

Alison Campbell

For a decade and a half, the big chocolate makers have promised to end child labour in their industry—and have spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort. But as of the latest estimate, 2.1 million West African children still do the dangerous and physically taxing work of harvesting cocoa. What will it take to fix the problem?


The boy with the machete is watching us. We’re sitting in an SUV in the middle of a rugged, red-dirt road about 10 miles outside the city of Abengourou, in eastern Ivory Coast.

Ibrahim is wearing ripped jeans, a worn, royal-blue Chelsea soccer shirt with the name of the team’s sponsor—Samsung—in large white letters across the front, and the same kind of clear plastic sandals that are everywhere in this part of West Africa. He holds his dusty blade casually against his left hip.

There’s a sign behind him that appears to have been erected by the Ivorian government as part of a campaign to educate farmers about children’s rights. Non it says in big, red letters. Then, again in French: “The worst forms of child labor.” Below that is a drawing of a young boy carrying a huge sack of cocoa beans with a big X over it. Underneath is another sentence: “The place for children is in school.”

Ibrahim tells us that he was born in Mali. He moved with his father to Ivory Coast when he was little—he’s not sure exactly how old he was—and he’s been working on cocoa farms ever since. What about school? No, he says, he’s never been to school. Is the work he does hard? “Yes,” he says deliberately. “It’s very hard.”

For the $100 billion chocolate candy industry, the story of Ibrahim represents a serious problem—one that it has been vowing to fix for 15 years without great success, and which has gained new urgency in recent months.

Child labour in West African cocoa farming first became a cause célèbre around the turn of the century when a number of pieces of investigative journalism focused the world’s attention on the plight of children who had been trafficked to Ivory Coast to farm cocoa, often from other former French colonies such as Mali and Burkina Faso, and held as slave labourers. In a documentary that aired on the BBC, filmmakers interviewed young boys in Ivory Coast who said they’d been beaten and forced to work long hours without pay. One who said he’d been working on a cocoa farm for five years was asked what he thought about people enjoying chocolate in other parts of the world. “They are enjoying something that I suffered to make,” the boy answered. “They are eating my flesh.”

The multinational chocolate makers are heavily dependent on West Africa. More than 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown in the region, and the vast majority of that supply comes from two countries: Ivory Coast and Ghana, which together produce 60% of the global total. The two nations have a combined GDP of around $73 billion, according to the World Bank—or significantly less than Nestlé’s $100 billion in sales last year. Yet the global chocolate business would be thrown into chaos without them. Last year, Ivory Coast alone exported nearly 1.8 million metric tons of cocoa, or two-fifths of the world’s production. And demand for chocolate is going up, as a growing number of consumers in countries like China and India have more disposable income. The price of cocoa surged 13% in 2015 even as prices for most raw materials were dropping. Meanwhile the average farmer in each country still lives well below the international poverty line.

Though the most sensational stories about child labour over the years have focused on boys and girls who’ve been held against their will and abused, the more common story is similar to that of Ibrahim. Hundreds of thousands of children are used as free labour by their own families and often asked to take on dangerous tasks like harvesting with machetes or hauling 100-pound bags of beans. For many, school is not an option.

There’s been a lot of activity on the corporate side in the last few years. Virtually every name-brand chocolate maker has created or expanded its own sustainability program aimed at tackling the child labor issue by improving the lot of farmers. And through the World Cocoa Foundation, an industry group, 10 of the largest chocolate companies created an ambitious program called CocoaAction in 2014. The plan, which has more than $500 million in funding, aims to reach 300,000 farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana with training programs to help them boost productivity—under the assumption that healthier economics for farmers will translate to better conditions for their children.

Unfortunately, progress has been slow—and by some measures the problem has actually gotten worse in recent years. Last July the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University released the findings of a comprehensive survey of child labour in Ivory Coast and Ghana in the 2013–14 growing season. Tulane found that 2.1 million children had been engaged in inappropriate forms of child labour in Ivory Coast and Ghana combined—a 21% increase over the 1.75 million identified in its survey five years earlier. Of those, 96% were found to be involved in “hazardous activity.” The number of children reported to be performing dangerous tasks fell by 6% in Ghana but jumped by 46% in Ivory Coast.

There was immediate blowback. A batch of headlines proclaimed that child slavery was on the rise. And in September three California consumers, represented by the same law firm, filed class-action lawsuits against Hershey, Mars, and Nestlé, claiming they wouldn’t have bought the products had they known the candy might be tainted by child labour.

Despite the swirl of negative press, the chocolate industry argues that real gains are being made, and that the long lag time in producing results is understandable given the nature of the challenge. “I think your main question is, ‘Why is this hard to fix?’ ” says Nick Weatherill, executive director of the International Cocoa Initiative, a Geneva-based nonprofit funded by major chocolate makers that focuses on addressing child labor in cocoa in West Africa. “It is clearly a complex problem that has its roots in poverty, and rural poverty no less. And if the problem is rooted in poverty, then the solution, in a way, is as complex as poverty eradication.”

Read the whole of this detailed and very thoroughly researched article by Brian O’Keefe by clicking on the link below.

Images: Benjamin Lowy




Choc News : Chocolate Giant Pledges $1 Billion to Tackle Climate Change

Alison Campbell

Mars, the chocolate manufacturer, has pledged to put $1 billion towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 67% across its supply chain by 2050. 


This announcement is the latest corporate backlash against Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. 

“Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations. The only way that will happen is if we do things differently to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive,” said Mars’ chief executive Grant Reid. 

Reid said in a statement on Wednesday that “the engine of global business — its supply chain — is broken and requires transformational, cross-industry collaboration to fix it.” 

As part of its “Sustainability in a Generation” plan, Mars will be making investments in renewable energy, in sustainable food sourcing, cross-industry action groups, and farmers. 

Mars already powers its operations in the US and the UK with wind farms, but it plans to expand wind power to its operations in 11 countries around the world, including Russia, China, and India. 

The company, which makes M&M’s, Twix, Milky Way, and Skittles, among others, has also announced an M&M’s campaign centred on renewable energy, that will include featuring images of things like wind turbines alongside the traditional red and yellow M&M characters.

With investments in farmers, Mars hopes to help farmers transform the way they grow crops to both be more environmentally-friendly, but also to increase their own incomes. 

“This plan is about not just doing better, but doing what’s necessary,” said Reid. “We’re doing this because it’s the right to do but also because it’s good business.”

He also said greater efficiencies in the supply chain would help give the company a competitive edge.

Mars is taking practical steps to help in the global struggle to achieve the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement, having previously said it was “disappointed” by President Trump’s decision to distance the US from the accord. 

It was one of the companies that signed a letter in May urging President Donald Trump not to withdraw from the Paris accord.

The 2015 Paris accord aims to stop Earth heating up, before the temperature increase since the start of the industrial age reaches 2 degrees celsius. The temperature has already increased over 1 degree celsius, but each nation in the agreement has agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, in an attempt to end the increase. 

Mars made its sustainability announcement in the lead up to the UN general assembly and climate week, which will run from September 18-24 in New York. They are hoping to spur other companies into action to make similar commitments, but they insist that corporations can’t tackle climate change alone.

“If we are to help deliver on the targets agreed in Paris and the UN sustainable development goals, there has to be a huge step change,” said Reid. “While many companies have been working on being more sustainable, the current level of progress is nowhere near enough.”


Choc News : Can craft chocolate turn the tide on Haiti's devastating deforestation?

Alison Campbell

When a tiny Quebec chocolate maker won a gold prize at this year’s premier International Chocolate Awards for a bar made with Haitian cocoa beans, it rocked the specialty chocolate world. The cocoa beans had been on the market for less than a year, and a Haitian chocolate bar had never before received the award.


Haiti produces less than 1 percent of the world’s cocoa. But today, cocoa industry players are aiming to put the Caribbean nation on the craft quality chocolate map, while providing some of the world’s poorest farmers with a better life and stemming the forces that have left Haiti a near moonscape. Stunningly 98 percent deforested, Haiti is an environmental mess, vulnerable to devastating floods and mudslides.

Efforts to connect poor cocoa farmers in Haiti to consumers willing to pay upwards of US$8 for a single chocolate bar are part of a much broader movement within the development community to combat global poverty and protect natural resources through access to such specialty markets.

But can these efforts make a difference in tackling some of the key drivers of environmental degradation? And can they do it at a scale that actually transforms struggling rural economies?

Reforesting Haiti With Tree Crops

Grinding poverty is a root cause for Haiti’s deforestation. Per capita income was just US$828 in 2015, and two-thirds of Haitians are subsistence farmers. The vast majority cook their food with wood charcoal. Charcoal production fuels deforestation, which leads to soil erosion, loss of productive agricultural land and a vicious cycle of poverty.

An estimated 50 percent of Haitian topsoil has washed away, destroying Haiti’s farmland and contributing to crop losses that reached 70% in some places in the face of extreme drought this year.

Cocoa is a tree crop that grows well in agroforestry systems, which is why Ralph Denize of FOMIN (Multilateral Investment Fund) says, “Cocoa is one of the best crops you can use for reforesting the country.”

“As long as the market is stable and farmers can depend on it, those trees will be in the ground for at least 40 years,” adds Emily Stone, founder of Uncommon Cacao.

Currently, some 20,000 smallholder farmers harvest cocoa as a cash crop in what they call “creole gardens” in two regions of Haiti. But, “garden” is a misnomer, because these dense tangles of vegetation, averaging an acre (half a hectare) in size, form mini-forests. Larger coconut, breadfruit, mango and avocado trees tower over and offer shade to the smaller cocoa trees, as well as food for the farmers and habitat for birds and other animals.

Cocoa farms are in fact one of the few places in Haiti with standing trees, according to Patrick Dessources from Root Capital, which finances small agricultural businesses and is partnering with FOMIN and other groups to rebuild Haiti’s cocoa industry.

Haiti currently exports 4,000 metric tons (4,400 tons) of cocoa per year, a big drop from its peak of 20,000 metric tons (22,000 tons) in the 1960s and far less than neighboring Dominican Republic, which exported 70,000 metric tons (77,000 tons) in 2014.

Revitalizing Haiti’s Cocoa Sector

Revitalizing Haiti’s cocoa industry can help reforest the country, but key to that revitalization is building capacity for producing the high-quality fermented cocoa beans that are used by specialty and dark chocolate manufacturers, like Palette de Bine, the award winner. Those beans fetch higher prices that help farmers live better.

As Denize puts it, “moving from unfermented to fermented cocoa is about keeping the value added in the country.”

Currently, more than 90 percent of Haiti’s cocoa beans are sold and exported in their raw, unprocessed state for mass-produced chocolate because farmers have few options for fermenting their beans. Currently there are only three fermentation facilities in the country.

One of those facilities is operated by Product de Iles S.A. or PISA, which produced the fermented beans for Palette de Bine’s winning chocolate bar. PISA sources cocoa beans from 1,500 small, family-run farms spread across the foothills of the Massif de Nord mountain range.

PISA pays farmers double the price they would receive for raw beans. That motivates them to protect their trees from the charcoal market. Pierre Daniel Phelizor, for example, a cocoa farmer of 15 years, says he’s “doing real business” with his trees now that he sells to PISA. What’s more, Phelizor runs a small nursery, selling cocoa, breadnut and mango trees to other cocoa farmers.

One of PISA’s main buyers is Taza Chocolate. The first U.S. specialty chocolate maker to enter Haiti, it did so not out of altruism, but for the quality of Haitian cocoa. “We know we have a good product — ancient variety, good terroir, organic by default,” says Taza’s sourcing manager, Jesse Last. “People will fall in love with the taste, and we hope that Haiti will benefit as it gains recognition as a source for fine-quality cacao.” Taza is partnering with Whole Foods to market the bar, which it began producing this year.

Expanding the Market

PISA needs more buyers like Taza to grow its business and expand its environmental and social impact. Gilbert Gonzales, the Haitian entrepreneur who founded PISA four years ago as a subsidiary of the Haitian agro-industrial corporation REBO, estimates that PISA’s exports will reach 160 metric tons (176 tons) this year, a sliver of the country’s capacity.

Stone, who introduced Palette de Bine to PISA’s high quality cocoa beans, says that is already starting to happen.

“We’re in conversation with much larger chocolate makers that might not be at the Hershey’s level, but they have significantly more buying power than craft chocolate makers,” she says. Dandelion Chocolate, Raaka Chocolate and Valrhona Chocolate are a few.

Globally, the specialty chocolate market accounts for less than 1 percent of the estimated US$98.3 billion chocolate industry, according to Stone. Tiny, but growing. Uncommon Cacao, for example, has grown from selling 6 metric tons (7 tons) from one country in 2011 to over 200 metric tons (220 tons) from five countries in 2016, and from just two buyers in 2011 to over 90 in 2016.

Longer term, carbon markets may help expand agroforestry systems for cocoa in Haiti, says Elizabeth Teague at Root Capital. The Livelihoods Carbon Fund, for example, raises capital from investors who earn returns via carbon credits through the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism or Verified Carbon Standard.

The fund is helping to finance a major reforestation project in Guatemala that aims to plant 5 million trees — citrus, coffee, cardamom and cocoa among them — over 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres). The project aims to sequester 2 million metric tons (2.2 million tons) of carbon dioxide and provide sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers.

Pur Projet in Peru offers another model. Started in 2008 by one of the founders of Alter Eco, the initiative is working to restore one of the most deforested regions of Peru in the heart of the Andean Amazon. Nearly 10,000 small-scale coffee and cocoa farmers spread across 21 communities are involved in the project, which has now reforested close to 1 million acres (close to 400,000 hectares) — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Pur Projet is verified by both Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance standards for the carbon offset market. Project partners are in the process of registering close to 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of land, including both the reforested area and surrounding forest, as a Biosphere Reserve at UNESCO World Heritage. Registering the land with UNESCO will help protect the forest from development pressures and ensure that it remains a carbon sink.

Currently there are few such initiatives, says Teague, because “carbon markets are seen as unreliable.” However, several major land restoration initiatives that view agroforestry as a prime solution have been gaining traction since COP 21. Initiative 20x20, for example, aims to reforest 20 million hectares (50 million acres) of degraded land in Latin America by 2020, and is a looking at agroforestry as one key approach.

Stopping Deforestation in Haiti 

But rebuilding Haiti’s cocoa industry won’t be enough to stop deforestation. Haitians need access to alternative, affordable fuel sources, such as propane or solar stoves.

Juan Mejia, co-director of Death of a Thousand Cuts, a 2016 documentary on a brutal murder related to Haiti’s charcoal trade, says that’s the approach the government of the Dominican Republic took in the 1960s and ’70s, and Haiti could do the same thing. But, he says, “the government needs to be brought into a comprehensive plan. It can’t be a bunch of aid groups working separately.”

Ultimately, Haitians need economic opportunities. “No one wants to do the charcoal trade,” says Mejia. “It’s grueling work and for very little pay. People will tell you, ‘It’s what you do so as not to steal.’”

Rebuilding Haiti’s cocoa sector, and more broadly its agricultural capacity, can help provide those economic opportunities while also benefiting the environment.

“I’m a believer that meaningful market access for sustainable cacao production across the board can change economies,” Stone says. “We’re seeing more and more markets and chocolate makers large and small reimagine how their cacao supply chains work and thinking more deeply about these questions.”
Writer: Meg Wilcox


Choc News : Halal Chocolate Products Take Off as Sweet-Tooth Muslims Seek Fix

Alison Campbell

Muslim countries are turning into fast-growing markets for chocolate, and whilst there is no such thing as halal chocolate, one Asian country is betting more people around the world are going to want a broad range of flavoured chocolate products ...that still comply with the religion’s strict food laws.

Malaysia doesn’t grow much cocoa, but it has become the continent’s No. 2 processor by grinding beans imported from neighboring Indonesia, the largest producer outside of Africa and home to the world’s biggest Muslim population. With a majority of its own people classified as Muslim, Malaysia already sells flavoured chocolate products in compliance with Halal principles - which forbid the use of alcohol and some animal products.

Islam is the fastest-growing religion on the planet and may have 2.8 billion faithful by 2050, according to the Pew Research Center. Global sales of Halal-certified chocolate confectionery will reach $1.7 billion by 2020, growing at a 5 percent annual rate that exceeds the 4 percent gains expected for all chocolates, according to Euromonitor International Ltd. Malaysia is hoping the growth will help to boost exports that were a record last year.

“Halal certification is regarded as essential in emerging, Muslim-majority markets like Indonesia and Malaysia,” said Emil Fazira, senior research analyst at Euromonitor in Singapore. “In markets where Muslims have increasing purchasing power, halal-certified products are expected to be preferred over uncertified products.”


Based on the teachings in the Koran, the certification doesn’t just apply to food ingredients. Processing machines also must avoid alcohol used in cleaning products as well as many animal-based lubricants -- including emulsifiers or gelatins extracted from hogs.

Dazzle Food which sells specialty couverture and consumer chocolates, became fully Halal in 2009. In addition to the domestic market, it exports to Singapore, Indonesia, China and the Middle East. The Selangor-based company said the certification helped boost sales by 20 percent to 30 percent over the past three years. Demand may grow even faster this year, it said.

Muslim-dominated countries in central Asia and the Middle East provide some of the biggest opportunities for increased exports as their economies expand, according to the Malaysian Cocoa Board. In many, Halal-labeled products aren’t niche markets but mainstream staples.

“For countries in central Asia, their confectionery industries are developing and growing,” Norhaini Udin, Director-General of the Malaysian Cocoa Board, said in an interview at the board’s Nilai office on the outskirts Kuala Lumpur. “The Muslim community is more cautious now. If you don’t carry the halal logo, you can’t capture their market.”


Malaysia doesn’t just sell chocolate. A large part of its exports are cocoa products, fillings and coatings made on Halal-compliant equipment, Norhaini said. Last year, overseas shipments of cocoa beans and products were valued at a record 5.74 billion ringgit ($1.3 billion).

The word Halal means “permissible” and is part of a system of morals known as sharia. In countries with Muslim minorities, the Halal certification has sparked calls for boycotts of products with the Halal label.

Nestle SA stopped Halal-certification of retail chocolate products sold in Australia as of March 2016. Other chocolate brands may comply with Islamic principles but aren’t labeled Halal. That’s not an issue in Malaysia, where all the foods that Nestle sells there, including Kit Kat, are Halal-certified. Malaysia has 51 chocolate manufacturers and confectioneries and 194 local chocolate producers, selling about 1.095 billion ringgit a year, according to cocoa board data.


The country is focusing on four regions to boost sales, Norhaini said. The country already has more than 50 percent market share in cocoa powder and butter in Southeast Asia, and 30 percent in the rest of Asia, New Zealand and Australia. In the Middle East it holds a 20 percent market share for cocoa butter and powder imports and in eastern Europe it has a 15 to 17 percent share of chocolate ingredients. Top customers in that region are Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

“By 2020, we should be able to capture 20 percent from the current position for overall eastern Europe," Norhaini said.

Importantly for chocolate lovers, Dazzle says the Halal certification doesn’t affect taste.

“The thing about chocolate is there’s a whole amount of science involved,” company spokeswoman Awatif said. “The tempering, refining, conching, the things you put inside. I wouldn’t say there’s a specific difference in taste, it depends a lot more on the processes rather than whether it’s Halal or not. It’s the process that matters more.” 

Choc News : Indians develop a serious sweet tooth.

Alison Campbell

India consumed a whopping 228,000 tonne of chocolates in 2016, according to London-based global market firm Mintel, making it one of the world's fastest growing chocolate confectionery markets.

The amount of chocolate sold in India ballooned by 13% in 2016, with 42% of Indian consumers having eaten sweet or sugary snacks (other than biscuits) like chocolates and cakes in the past three months, rising to 53% of consumers aged 18 to 24. The amount of chocolate sold to Indians has nearly tripled over the past decade, leaving behind the United States, United Kingdom and China.

"India has shown a steady growth in the chocolate (confectionery) segment given the growing disposable income and young population's taste for indulgence," said Marcia Mogelonsky, a director at Mintel's food and drink division.

But there are other reasons for the growth in the nation of 1.3 billion. 

In India, chocolate has traditionally been seen as a treat for kids. But marketers are now specifically targeting adults -- and their efforts are paying off. Plus, 44% of Indian consumers think sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates and cakes, are healthy. These consumers say they appreciate the convenience of eating chocolate, and the energy it gives them, according to Mintel.

It's all helping to turn chocolate into a big business: Sales in rupee terms increased by 24.3% in 2016, and the volume of sales has surpassed that of China.

The most popular chocolates in India retail for about five to 10 rupees ($0.08 to $0.16). Chocolate manufacturers are under pressure to keep their prices down to encourage "impulse" purchases in India. But the rising price of ingredients means that they have to shrink the size of the chocolates every 12 to 18 months to keep inflation from eating into their profits. 

Our research indicates that consumers in India believe chocolate to be beneficial and convenient seemingly the key reasons behind the growth of the country's chocolate confectionery market both in value and volume, Mogelonsky said.

The trend makes India a major outlier: The amount of chocolate sold in most other countries has steadied or declined as consumers increasingly seek out healthier options.

Dark chocolate ....the acceptable snack for wannabe healthy eaters, along with speciality organic, fair trade, non GMO, raw, cacao and other chocolate products somewhat balances this decline.

Source: and


Choc News : Could mango solve an impending chocolate crisis?

Alison Campbell

Chocolate lovers, your beloved snack may have just been saved by another sweet treat: mangoes.

Scientists may have found a way to solve a potential impending shortage of cocoa, which could affect future chocolate production, by using mangoes in lieu of cocoa to make chocolate, according to a study published in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the publishers of Nature.

"Wild mango is one of the so-called Cinderella species whose real potential is unrealized," says Sayma Akhter, the study's senior author.

Global cocoa production has been down in recent years due to a handful of factors, including changes in climate and crop failure, while demand has been on the rise, according to experts. Cocoa producers also have been accused of unfair labor practices, including employing child laborers and underpaying farmers.

Wild mango butter, the study says, may be chemically and physically similar enough to cocoa butter to act as a replacement. 

The study's authors also believe the potential commercial benefits of the fruit could be a boon to conservation efforts. "Going beyond the use to industry, wild fruits like the mango are an important source of food, medicine and income for rural dwellers, but are in decline due to drivers such as deforestation," said Morag McDonald of Bangor University, another of the study's authors. "Adding value to underutilized products through processing for products that have market value can generate a valuable incentive for the conservation of such species and help to generate alternative income sources and reduce household poverty."