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FCIA Member Happenings

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  • September 08, 2018 7:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service, the Cacao and Chocolate Research Network (CCRN) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Visiting Scientist Program. The program will support five visiting scientists to work with Penn State faculty and international collaborators to advance research that is critical to the development of the fine flavor cacao/chocolate industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These visiting scientists will spend six months at Penn State or at a partner institution working on one of the following topic areas: advanced sensory evaluation, the fine flavor cacao market, or issues related to cadmium accumulation in cacao. Exchanges will take place within the January 2019 to May 2020 timeframe, with exact dates to be determined jointly by the visiting scientist and his/her Penn State faculty mentor.


    For more information:

    https://plantscience.psu.edu/research/labs/guiltinan/news/2018/penn-state-fine-flavor-cacao-visiting-scientist-program-2018-2019

  • September 06, 2018 12:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Read about how FCIA board member, Brad Kintzer first became interested in cacao and making chocolate in this New York Times article.

  • August 30, 2018 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    TCHO installs flavor labs to allow cocoa farmers to taste their own chocolate

    Premium chocolate brand TCHO has installed 10 flavor labs globally to let farmers taste chocolate made from their own cocoa beans so they can charge manufacturers a premium for their higher quality cocoa varietals.

    HTTPS://WWW.CONFECTIONERYNEWS.COM/ARTICLE/2018/08/23/TCHO-ALLOWS-COCOA-FARMERS-TO-TASTE-THEIR-OWN-CHOCOLATE 

  • August 30, 2018 1:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Huffington Post published this article explaining the price difference and cost of producing mass-produced chocolate versus small batch bean-to-bar chocolate. 

  • August 30, 2018 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    You are invited to our Chocolate For Dinner series at indi chocolate. We are hosting PNW chefs from around town for their take on chocolate for dinner, which includes a full course meal created by these talented chefs. 

    Sept 29 with Michelin award-winning Chef Justin Khanna 

    Oct 20 with Eric Olinsky, Eat Seattle Chef

    Oct 27 with award-winning Tom Douglas Chefs: Matt Broussard and Chef Kelsi Billedo

  • July 19, 2018 11:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lake Champlain Chocolates was created in 1983 and offered hand made confections crafted in Burlington, Vermont, to specialty food stores mainly in the greater Northeastern United States. Thirty-five years later, Lake Champlain Chocolates is now one of the top 15 specialty chocolate brands in both the Natural and Specialty Grocery channels and is gaining traction in the conventional retail channel. We had the chance to catch up with president, Eric Lampman.

    Can you share with us some of Lake Champlain's achievements over the past few years in terms of market growth, cocoa supply chain support and B Corps designation?

    The company strengthened its commitment to fair trade, organic and non-GMO ingredients in the past eight years, resulting in a refreshed portfolio that spans everyday and seasonal products that are certified Fair for Life and USDA Organic

    In 2012, we were connected with BK Matlick, a long time cocoa industry consultant working with cocoa farmers around the globe. Our desire was to connect with a cocoa community and develop a supportive relationship. Quickly a partnership with producers in Lachua, Guatemala, formed and collaboration began, including: Farmer Field School Training for 25 farmers, fixing three motor bikes to assist budstick transport between remote community grafting nurseries, and super tree flavor evaluations.

    Lake Champlain Chocolates invested in the co-creation of Cacao Verapaz in 2014, establishing an export supply chain for premium cacao sourced from indigenous cocoa farmers.  We are thrilled with the growth opportunity this has created to cocoa producers in Guatemala and smile each time we discover a new craft chocolate maker product made with Guatemala cacao.

    We are very proud of becoming a B Corp -- certified in May 2018! The designation confirms our commitment to progressive social and environmental business practices, accountability and transparency. The B Corp community of businesses includes more than 2,500 companies worldwide that believe business is a force for good. We are excited to join a small number of chocolate industry companies that are already B Corp certified, including FCIA members French Broad Chocolates and Uncommon Cacao.

    Lake Champlain has been a strong supporter of FCIA's new strategic plan.  What aspects of the plan do you find most important for your business and how do you see the FCIA platform in general helping the fine chocolate industry?

    The new strategy at FCIA brings a renewed energy and perspective for its members. New leadership from an experienced cocoa industry advocate, in Bill Guyton, will undoubtedly bring exposure to new resources and programs. The recent restructure and new strategic plan bring with it seriousness about moving the fine chocolate segment forward in a united manner. New programs with USDA and Canopy Bridge, among others, offer great opportunity for U.S. chocolate makers and confectioners to work on capacity building projects within the supply chain. Such opportunities in the past have been less available and difficult to navigate independently for smaller businesses.  

    Where do you see the fine chocolate industry in five years from now?  

    The fine chocolate industry has evolved in the past five years considerably. I believe there are now more companies that have a clearer vision of themselves.  In the next five years I foresee more bean to bar chocolate makers becoming vertically integrated confectioners, building out product offerings well-beyond the tablet format. 

  • July 19, 2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As I write this, I’m sitting in a dorm at West Virginia Wesleyan College half-way through my first summer residency of the MFA in Creative Writing Program. So, you might think writing this message would be easy. It’s not.

    With this life switch from serving as FCIA’s Executive Director to hopeful novelist, competing feelings surface: Sadness that I’ll no longer be working so closely with you to advance the fine chocolate industry. Pride in what we’ve accomplished these past four years. Gratitude for the friendships and the deep knowledge I’ve gained. Excitement in seeing the new contacts and ideas that our new Executive Director Bill Guyton brings to the table.

    But, milestone birthdays remind us of dreams deferred, and so many of you have modeled stepping into those dreams with courage. So, here I am, saying goodbye to one part of my life and hello to another.

    These four years with FCIA have been some of the most satisfying and productive years of my professional life. I want to thank FCIA President Clark Guittard and our supportive Board of Directors for greenlighting so many new projects, like full-day Elevate Chocolate events, the two-year long consumer perception research, the mentoring program, the regional meet-ups and the webinar series. And, I want to thank all of you members who embraced this growth and expansion.

    I also want to send a special thank you to former FCIA President Pam Williams for bringing me into the fold and nurturing me my first years.

    And, last but not least, a big thank you to FCIA Member Services Manager Jennifer Wicks – you are a steadying force and FCIA is so very fortunate to have you on the team (and a great chocolate maker!).

    I’ll be staying on through December in a much-reduced role as Senior Advisor to help nurture some of our newer projects along. 

    But, as I step down from my role as Executive Director, I wish FCIA and all Members and Friends the best. I hope to see you all at future events and please feel free to contact me.

    In gratitude,

    Karen


  • July 19, 2018 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FCIA members rely on quality ingredients to produce fine chocolate products.   For cocoa, Latin America produces some of the best flavor beans.  West African and Southeast Asian beans, however, are also included in many fine chocolate recipes.  

    Cocoa is grown primarily by small scale, family farmers in the tropics.  In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Fairtrade America's Hans Theyer described the difficult working conditions on cocoa farms.  Farmers are often poorly supported, underpaid and typically have limited connection with the end market. 

    As part of a new strategic plan, FCIA is developing partnerships with cocoa sustainability programs in Latin America and West Africa to address some of these problems. Public-private partnership programs are designed to improve cocoa quality and market linkages while ensuring better farming conditions. 

    During the FCIA Elevate Chocolate Event in June, FCIA was honored to sign two important cocoa partnership agreements.   The first agreement was with the "European Committee for Training Agriculture" or  "CEFA" project in Ecuador.  CEFA is an Italian organization, funded by the European Union, to strengthen farmer organizations and best practices at the farm.  Working with Canopy Bridge, another non-profit organization, CEFA provides training to thousands of fine cacao farmers seeking direct commercial relationships with premium chocolate companies.  

    The second agreement was with the "Maximizing Opportunities for Cacao Activity" or "MOCA" project in Cote d'Ivoire.  MOCA is funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented by an organization called Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).  Although Cote d'Ivoire is not traditionally considered a "fine flavor" origin, the MOCA project will improve bean quality on Ivoirian farms through better post harvest practices.  This is a win for farmers and the chocolate industry.

    What will be the impact of these partnerships?  We asked this question to an organization working in Central America that recently attended the FCIA Elevate Chocolate Event.  They reported receiving more than 25 new company contacts through the FCIA network.  Prospective buyers requested 20+ cocoa samples from the program.  This is a great first step in shortening the supply chain, securing quality and consistent supply of beans, while providing training and support for cocoa farmers. 

    For more information on how your company can participate in these types of programs or join FCIA's cocoa supply chain committee, please contact Bill Guyton.


  • July 15, 2018 7:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Manufacturing Confectioner published an article summarizing the results of FCIA's research on Consumer Perceptions of Fine Chocolate in the June 2018 edition of the magazine. Read the full article here.


  • July 15, 2018 6:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 30, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international agricultural development organization, announced that the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) and the Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) project, implemented by CNFA, will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at FCIA’s annual meeting on June 30, 2018.

    Read the full press release......

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Executive Director: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

Event Manager: Nicole Price / 1.312.953.4541 / Email Nicole

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