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New Year’s Message from the Executive Director

January 09, 2020 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Bill GuytonDear Members and Partners,

As FCIA celebrates our 12th year anniversary, we look back on some of our recent accomplishments and forward to exciting new opportunities in the decade ahead.

Modernizing Our Look

In late 2019, FCIA hired professional designer Jonathan Wajskol of Design Wajskol, to develop a more contemporary logo for our association. Please explore our website to see the results of the new look and feel!

The logo script includes an enlarged “C” which signifies not only “chocolate” but also our growing and inclusive, fine chocolate “community”. Please help us by updating your weblinks with the new logo.

Growing Our Membership

FCIA has moved beyond our roots of a U.S.-centric association to embrace members from many other geographies in recent years, including Europe, Latin American, Asia, and Africa. In total, we had 70 re-joining and new members in 2019 – they include chocolatiers, chocolate makers, pastry chefs, traders, farmer groups, equipment suppliers, packagers and others.

Our new members bring energy, innovations, business linkages and a more international focus to FCIA. Our 2020 goal is to expand our membership by at least 15 percent. We offer discounts to current members who successfully recruit new members.

Improving Market Knowledge

FCIA partnered with the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA) in 2019 to conduct a nationwide survey of chocolate consumers. The results provide insights into the trends as well as tastes and preferences of fine chocolate consumers across the United States. The complete report is posted on the “members only” section of the FCIA website.

Members will not want to miss Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics on March 5, 2020 at FCIA’s Elevate Chocolate Event in San Francisco, where she will present the survey findings.

Providing Educational Opportunities and Business Linkages

In 2019, FCIA hosted our signature Elevate Chocolate Events in both San Francisco and New York. We also organized four regional meetups in California (2), Georgia and Brazil. In addition, we held two webinars on cocoa supply chain partnerships in Latin America and Cote d’Ivoire as well as a webinar on cadmium mitigation, which was co-hosted with Bioversity International. The latter attracted over 75 participants! (Download the presentation from the cadmium mitigation webinar.)

In 2020 we are planning further educational webinars, especially for those of you who are unable to attend in person conferences.

For our conferences, FCIA has adopted a new format which will provide broader business linkages for our members and direct marketing access to consumers. Please mark your calendar for the following:

January 19-21: FCIA Fine Chocolate Pavilion at SFA Fancy Food Show, San Francisco
FCIA will host our first ever Fine Chocolate Pavilion at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, giving our members and the organization opportunities to build direct business relations with retailers and other specialty food sectors. The pavilion will feature 25 company exhibitor kiosks and nine educational speakers and panels. FCIA members attending the show receive a discount on ticket prices. (More information)

March 5-6: FCIA Elevate Chocolate 2020 Event and Trade Fair, San Francisco
Registration is now open for FCIA's Elevate Chocolate 2020 Event, in partnership with the Craft Chocolate Experience. Our event will include four general session speakers, ten technical workshops, and a day-long trade fair for those companies seeking to expand their business networks. (More information)

March 7-9: Craft Chocolate Experience San Francisco
Those members who stay on after Elevate Chocolate can participate in a discounted booth at the Craft Chocolate Experience to engage with and sell products to consumers. (More information)

March 26-27: Quality Flavor Cocoa Market Opportunities for Cote d’Ivoire Conference
Cote d’Ivoire will host the first national “Quality Flavor Cocoa Market Opportunities for Cote d’Ivoire" at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan. One hundred fifty participants are expected to attend the event, including international experts, producers, exporters, public-private stakeholders from the quality flavor cacao market segment. Discussions will include flavor quality initiatives, market and production opportunities and to learn more about the Ivorian potential on the world market.

The event is organized by the USDA-financed Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) initiative implemented in Cote d’Ivoire by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA in partnership with USAID-financed World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) African Cocoa Initiative (ACI II), and the Ivorian Cocoa-Coffee Council. High-level representatives from the U.S. government representatives, ICCO, FCIA, World Cocoa Foundation and others will attend. For more information, please contact Bill Guyton or conference2020@cnfacotedivoire.org.

May 28-29: Cocoa Regional Summit in Partnership with FCIA: Quito, Ecuador
FCIA is assisting company members and partners to hold a two-day workshop in Quito, Ecuador. If you are planning to tour origin, this is a good time to schedule. For more information, please contact Bill Guyton.

June 26: FCIA Event in New York, followed by Fancy Food Show on June 28-30
FCIA will hold a one-day educational forum in New York, featuring presentations from a variety of experts. This event will include tastings and pairings, and is included as part of the FCIA membership package. More details to follow.

Supporting Fine Cocoa Supply Chain Improvements

FCIA is actively involved in efforts to improve cocoa quality and direct market linkages between cocoa growing countries and our member companies. We are excited about the new partnerships with US Department of Agriculture (USDA), non-government organizations, and cocoa producing country representatives.

FCIA is also working closely with our sister organization, the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP). We encourage all of our members to view the new HCP videos, which bring their important work on cacao flavor preservation to life!

Public-Private Partnerships

In 2019, USDA and partners launched a new regional program called Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas, or “MOCCA.” FCIA is working closely with Lutheran World Relief and other partners to assist our members with more direct market linkages to cocoa farmer organizations in the region. We recently hired Mey Choy Paz, who is based in Lima, Peru, to provide direct support to the program and our members in the areas of sensory analysis and sourcing of quality cocoa.

Defining Cocoa Quality Standards

FCIA and our members are working with Bioversity and other partners to develop cocoa quality standards. Please visit cocoaqualitystandards.org for a list and description of the seven protocols that have now been adopted by the International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavor (ISCQF). The seven protocols cover aspects from physical evaluation of cocoa beans to sample preparation into cocoa liquor. The Protocol for Cocoa Liquor Sensory Evaluation will be published this month.

Thanking FCIA Leadership and Staff

FCIA is fortunate to have a dedicated board who provide ongoing leadership and direction. In addition, there are four active committees;

  • Events/Education
  • Communications/Market Research
  • Quality Standards and Supply Chains
  • Membership Services/Benefits

Each of these committees is chaired by leaders in our industry who volunteer their time and expertise. Finally, I wanted to personally recognize our outstanding FCIA staff. Jennifer Wicks, Nicole Price, and Mey Choy Paz each bring professionalism, passion, and unique skill sets to FCIA that are complemented by Cynthia Closkey and her communications team at Shift Collaborative.

I have so much optimism for FCIA and its members and look forward to the year ahead.

Best wishes,

Bill Guyton
Executive Director

Re-joining and New Members in 2019

Alquimia, American Caribbean Experience, Antonio Guimaraes, Beyond Good By Madécasse, Biocacao De Ecuador, Bisou Chocolate, Cacao Hunters, Cacao Pacifico, Cemoi Inc., Chitram Chocolates / Infusions Cafe, Chocolatier Eve, Clasen Candy Inc., Color Cacao, Compañía Colombiana De Cacao S.A.S., Conrad Solanzom, Criollo Chocolatier, Diogo Vaz, Dorigenn S,A,S, El Colaboratorio, Emkao Foods Inc., Eye Candy Chocolatier, Federacion Nacional De Cacaoteros, Fermata Chocolate, Fintrac Inc., Fjak Chocolate, Fu Wan Chocolate Ltd., Graciela Café, Grupo Biz Colombia Sas - Chuculat, Grupo Suagu Sas, H.R. Zeppelin Fine Handmade Chocolates, Honeymoon Chocolates, Ian Scott Confections, JBM Packaging, K+M, Kathryn Grasso, Keville Handcrafted Chocolates, Kimberly Chisholm, Kokoa Kamili Ltd, Labon Sweets, Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, MDW Chocolates, Midunu Chocolates, Moises Davidovits, Moka Origins, Mountain Food S.A.S, Myr Trading, Nederland USA, Olam Americas, Opening Chocolate, Ór Dubh Chocolates, Painted Horse Chocolates LLC, Planet Choco, Procolombia, Pure Mill Chocolate, Raaka Chocolate, Remy Joachim, Sandra Couttenye Chocolat, Sara May's Gourmet, Sean Taylor, Secret Society Of Chocolate Philanthropists, Síij Chocolate Ancestral S A S, Sphaeris Capital Management, Sra Kko, Tabar Group Of Islands Co-Operative Cocoa Project (TGICCP), The Touring Chocolatier, To'Ak Chocolate, United By Chocolate, University Of Georgia, Victoria Amores, Xocolata Times

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Executive Director / Membership Inquiries: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

Event Manager: Nicole Price / 1.312.953.4541 / Email Nicole

Operations & Finance: Jennifer Wicks / 1.406.370.8606 / Email Jennifer


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