WITH SUSTAINABLE CACAO PRODUCTION IN EXPANSION, THE BRAZILIAN INDUSTRY GAINS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
Social responsibility and the promotion of biodiversity are at the very centre of the national chocolate & cocoa industry recovery.
The revival of cacao production in Brazil is being conducted in a sustainable way, with a strong commitment to maintaining the forest in the two main production regions, the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, in Bahia. This strong message, emphasizing the sustainability and social responsibility of cacao production in Brazil, was highlighted at the 4th World Cocoa Conference, held from 22nd-25th April in Berlin, Germany.
Samantha Aquim, from Chocolate Q, a Brazilian bean-to-bar chocolate brand, whose ingredients only include cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar, was invited by The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) to present at this year’s conference. Chocolate Q is part of the The Brazilian Cocoa, Chocolates, Peanuts, Candies and Byproducts Industry Association (ABICAB), which represents the Brazilian confectionery and chocolates industry and works to support both innovation and sustainable practices within the sector. ABICAB manages the ‘Brasil Sweets and Snacks’ exportation program, in partnership with The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
At the conference in Berlin, in front of an audience of around 150 people, who were at the seminar with the evocative theme ‘What is the secret of producing the best chocolate?’, the entrepreneur and chocolatier said: “I may be a small brand of chocolate from Brazil, but I’m already changing and inspiring change in the world of chocolate.”
Organized every two years by the ICCO, the conference unites more than 1,500 participants from 64 countries, including representatives from chocolate manufacturers, commercial companies and governments, among others.
During her presentation at the conference, Samantha stressed the importance of respect for cacao producers and the care taken in the cultivation of the fruit, which is the raw material of chocolate. In her speech, she talked about how Chocolate Q differentiates itself through sustainability and social responsibility. “My cacao is produced in the Brazilian forest, in accordance with the “Cabruca” system”, she explains, referring to the sustainable method, which promotes biodiversity.
Implemented and established in Bahia, a traditional farming state, ‘Cabruca’ refers to an agricultural system in which the cacao tree grows in the shade of the tropical Atlantic Forest. The cacao tree cohabitates with other native species, because in order to grow properly, it requires 70% shade and 30% sun. The condition of the Cabruca system is that, in regions where deforestation has occurred, the producer must plant native trees together with the cacao.
The Chef and chocolatier, who graduated from École Lenôtre in Paris, spoke about her company’s mission to raise consumer awareness and call their attention to the true origins of cocoa. According to her, some European sectors insist on associating the image of the product to milk, forgetting about the fruit from which chocolate originates. That is why, she notes, it is fundamental that we rescue the identity of cocoa from popular belief.
“I educate my clients by showing them the natural habitat and flavour of cacao, replacing the popular belief about the European cows and milk, which have dominated the sector, bringing chocolate back to where it belongs to, its birthplace, the tropical forests and its incredible flavours”, comments Samantha.
This position, according to her, is essential so that consumers also understand the social responsibility of the international chocolate industry.
“It’s important to highlight, with an assertive speech, that cocoa comes from a tropical forest and not from a cow from Milka, like the one that’s here at the conference. People only think about the cow and forget about the plant from which chocolate originates, as well as the producers, who are more often than not low-paid”, she remarks.
“It is fundamental that, when eating a bar of chocolate, consumers have in mind that the product is made in the real world, by real people, a detail which is rarely featured in the big budget marketing campaigns of the large chocolate industry”, she adds.
In Berlin, Samantha acknowledged that Chocolate Q’s mission is aimed at the future, being carried forward in a manner she refers to as “ants work”, slowly but surely, confident that it will bear strong and quality fruits, just like the cacao that composes your company’s products.
Two other companies represent the bean-to-bar sector in Brazil. Nugali Chocolates, with their headquarters in Pomerode, Santa Catarina (Southern Brazil), works in partnership with fine cacao producers to ensure the quality of the beans as well as sustainable production practices. Nugali has a complete line of exclusively natural chocolates, which have been receiving international awards.
The other is Harald, from Santana de Parnaíba, São Paulo (Southeastern Brazil), which for years has been producing the product line Harald Unique, chocolates that are sustainably produced with single origin cacao, from selected farms in Bahia and the Amazon. Harald is dedicated to developing innovative products and solutions for bread manufacturers, the food industry, chefs, artisans and chocolatiers.
These three companies are all part of the Brasil Sweets and Snacks project.
ABOUT ABICAB –The Brazilian Cocoa, Chocolates, Peanuts, Candies and Byproducts Industry Association was founded in 1957 and represents the national confectionery industry in public and private spheres in Brazil and abroad. The national confectionery industry represents $ 8.4 billion in retail value, employs more than 34,000 workers, is considered one of the major producers in the world and is widely recognized by the quality and safety of its products. ABICAB exists to develop, protect and promote the confectionery industry, aiming to stimulate a responsible consumption. Currently, ABICAB encompasses the Brazilian production chain, representing 93% of the chocolate market, 92% of the candy and confections market and 63% of the peanut market.
ABOUT BRASIL SWEETS AND SNACKS – The Brasil Sweets and Snacks Project has been developed to strengthen and advance the sector and it is among ABICAB´s main activities. The Project was created in partnership with Apex-Brasil, in March 1998, aiming to promote Brazilian products in the international market, and currently supports 39 companies that export to over 140 countries. www.brasilsns.org.br
ABOUT APEX-BRASIL - The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) works to promote Brazilian products and services abroad, and to attract foreign investment to strategic sectors of the Brazilian economy. Apex-Brasil organizes several initiatives aiming to promote Brazilian exports abroad. The Agency´s efforts comprise trade and prospective missions, business rounds, support for the participation of Brazilian companies in major international trade fairs, arrangement of technical visits of foreign buyers and opinion makers to learn about the Brazilian productive structure, and other select activities designed to strengthen the country’s branding abroad. Apex-Brasil also plays a leading role in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to Brazil, by working to identify business opportunities, promoting strategic events and lending support to foreign investors willing to allocate resources in Brazil. www.apexbrasil.com.br/en/home
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