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In the News

  • February 12, 2019 6:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An article in the Times Herald Record features several FCIA members, Fruition Chocolate, Carla Martin, Terry Wakefield, and Clay Gordon. Click here to read the full article.

  • February 08, 2019 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Next month will see the launch of Cacao, the first international print magazine entirely dedicated to the world of fine cocoa and craft chocolate: https://readcacao.com.

    The aesthetic and functional aspect of the magazine is colorful and fresh, with the purpose of bringing as many people as possible closer to the culture and appreciation of quality chocolate.
  • February 01, 2019 6:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CNFA and Blommer Chocolate team up to strengthen production of high-quality sustainable Ivorian cacao beans

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international agricultural development organization, announced that Blommer Chocolate Co. and the Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) project, implemented by CNFA, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jan. 7 aimed at improving the cocoa value chain inCôted’Ivoire.

    Click here to read the full article.

  • February 01, 2019 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    Tell us about Deershop.

    Deershop (驯鹿TM in Chinese) was established in 2015. We are a young and dynamic chocolate brand from Hong Kong SAR, China, that offers bean-to-bar chocolate in mainland China. The initial idea of Deershop is due to an insight from company founder Joanne Law, which is that Chinese consumers in general think chocolate is unhealthy and rather intensively sweet, but they don’t know that this misconception is the taste of the mass distribution of confectionary chocolate candies in China.

    Therefore, we are devoted to telling the other side of the story, which is that bean-to-bar chocolate made from cacao is a fine chocolate with many health benefits. More importantly, every handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate has unique aromas and textures which is due to the craft and skill of the chocolate makers. These comprise the big value difference between confectionary chocolate and bean-to-bar chocolate.

    Although Law is a Certified Chocolate Maker recognized by Ecole Chocolate, we do not produce bean-to-bar chocolate by itself. Instead, we have spent more than two years collaborating with chocolate makers from North America and Europe to develop different types of single origin bean-to-bar chocolate that is more suitable for the Chinese taste bud. We treasure the craftsmanship of chocolate makers from all over the world and our strategy is to partner with different chocolate makers to research and develop “single origin” and “bean-to-bar chocolate” overseas and imported to Mainland China.

    We have a vision to provide Chinese customers a brand-new chocolate tasting experience and educate them about the beauty of chocolate from the perspective of the combination of art and science.

    In 2016-17, we started to promote our chocolate through different online and offline channels. Online, we are focusing on all the major e-commerce platforms in China (e.g. Taobao and JD.com); and for offline channels we are mainly collaborating with wine bars, coffee shops, tea shops and five-star hotels where we believe that these special channels share the same target audiences, which is more suitable for promoting bean-to-bar, when compared to the traditional supermarket-distribution channel. In addition, with the rapid development of courier services in China, we are able to deliver our chocolate perfectly to our customers within one to two days across different cities even during the summer.

    2018 was an important milestone for Deershop, when we were the first chocolate brand from China to enter the International Chocolate Award of the Asia-Pacific Region Competition. There were more than 700 chocolate entries, and we were honored that our Deershop Colombia Tumaco Dark Chocolate 85% won the bronze prize in the category of High % Plain/ Origin Dark Chocolate Bars (85% and over). This category is the most challenging for  fine chocolate in terms of the quality of cacao beans and the craftsmanship of the chocolate makers to develop the maximum of the cacao.

    This fabulous result is very encouraging to our local team and overseas partners, and we are dedicated to keep on R&D of more Asian flavor chocolate that is both healthy and delicious! Special thanks to Denise Castronovo who is our amazing chocolate maker of this award-winning chocolate.

    What are some of the reasons you wished to join FCIA and what do you hope the association can provide to your business in the future?

    Deershop is proud to be the first FCIA member from China, representing bean-to-bar chocolate. Joining FCIA provides us a very good platform and network to connect with different fine chocolate professionals and experts from all over the world. We are particularly interested in the industry’s good practices and knowledge provided from FCIA that we can leverage in our business development. And we are happy to share knowledge of setting up sales point in China for overseas chocolate makers who would like to expand their business.

    What do you see as the general trends of Chinese consumers in regarding to fine chocolate? Has this changed overtime? How is the market different from what you have seen in other markets such as the U.S. and Europe?

    We found that packaging is very important and highly appreciated in the China market. Due to Chinese culture, packaging is the key driver of purchasing decisions, especially during the holiday season, such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Mid-autumn Festival and Teachers’ Day. Based on our experience, Chinese consumers do not customize its chocolate as much as the western countries such as the USA and Europe. Chocolate is more of a gift than personal consumption in China. To address our customers’ needs, we offered customized gift package services for them who use our chocolate as birthday, anniversary and wedding gifts to their friends and family. And we have different business customers who would like to customize chocolate gift boxes for their clients, too.

    On the other hand, we can also see that there is a demand for healthy food in China. When our customers choose fine chocolate, they are more concerned about the ingredients of the chocolate and they are interested to know the sources of the cacao beans and the process of making bean-to-bar chocolate. Nevertheless, bean-to-bar chocolate portends a new era for Chinese consumers; they are willing to pay more for a healthy single origin chocolate which purely made by single origin cacao beans and cane sugar, than a confectionary chocolate candy.

  • February 01, 2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Bill Guyton, Executive Director

    I was reflecting on the increasing diversity, energy and growth of our industry upon my return from Elevate Chocolate Winter 2019 earlier this month.  (You can explore the just released and detailed Event Summary here.) This semi-annual event of members, exhibitors, nonprofit partners, government experts, and enthusiasts always offers a welcome opportunity for shared learnings, inspiration, and, of course, plenty of networking and chocolate sampling.  Looking towards 2019 and beyond, I also wanted to share some thoughts on three areas which are helping define FCIA.

    Industry Leadership
    FCIA also welcomed a newly elected board of directors in January to lead our association of nearly 360 members over the next two years.  The new board will oversee a five-year strategic plan which will position FCIA as a thought leader and innovator in fine chocolate. This will involve branching out beyond our semi-annual chocolate events, to include a broader focus on market research and communications, cocoa supply chain partnerships, and quality standards development.  The new board is also commissioned a “membership committee” to begin developing additional services and benefits tailored to the many different types of FCIA members. Stay tuned for more details on this in future newsletters.

    Inclusive Membership/Tailored Services
    FCIA welcomed
    eighteen new members in January 2019, representing all levels of membership from associate to corporate.  Our message to prospective members is resonating; regardless of your company's size, function or geographic location, FCIA welcomes companies who share our mission of “promoting quality, innovations, ethical sourcing, and best practices in the fine chocolate industry from tree to bar and bonbon.” 

    FCIA recognizes the diverse needs of different types of members, beyond networking. Chocolate makers and chocolatiers, for example, may have different priorities and educational needs.  Likewise, a retailer, equipment supplier, trader, or farmer cooperative will seek different types of services from FCIA. The “members only” section or our website is being restructured to help provide additional resources to our members. We will also be offering educational webinars, regional meet ups, and market data on the fine chocolate, which will be beneficial to you and your customers.     

    Creative Partnerships
    Our membership strategy looks inward to developing networks and services for our company members.  Equally important is FCIA’s outward view to develop new and lasting partnerships. These partnerships will help us achieve our vision of equitable-growth the fine chocolate market. These partnerships can take many different forms:

    • Market Research: FCIA partnered with the National Confectioners Association and Penn State University in December 2018 on an extensive, on-line survey to gain better insights on consumer perceptions of fine chocolate across the United States. The results of this survey will be shared with our members over the coming weeks and posted in the members only section of the website. FCIA is also exploring partnerships with other market research organizations.

    • Cocoa Supply Chain Programs:  FCIA has partnered with several important cocoa programs in Latin America and one in Cote d’Ivoire which are helping to improve cocoa quality at the farm-level and along the supply chain. Several FCIA members are already benefiting from these programs by establishing direct linkages with farmer cooperatives in Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

      Two of the newest fine cacao initiatives are regional programs in Latin America. The first is a USDA-funded, farmer-based program, called MOCCA while the other, supported by the Inter-American Development Bank/Fontagro, is called “Proyecto Plataforma multiagencia de cacao para América Latina y el Caribe Cacao 2030-2050.”

    • Heirloom Cacao Preservation: FCIA’s sister organization, the Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP) Fund, marked important milestones this past year, with the announcement of HCP’s sixteenth designation, based in the Philippines. In addition to identifying unique quality and flavor cacao, HCP also provides technical support after a site has been designated, to help farmers meet technical goals in scaling up.  FCIA provided an unsolicited grant of $8,500 to HCP in January. I serve as HCP Senior Advisor to help support coordination between FCIA and HCP.

    • Quality Standards:  FCIA is taking an active role in the development of cocoa quality standards through our participation in the advisory group on flavor standards, led by Bioversity International.  These standards will be important to raise the quality and grading of cocoa purchased by FCIA members.

  • January 24, 2019 4:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guittard Chocolate Company Expands its Flavor Labs in Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Indonesia to Protect High-Quality Cocoa

    Burlingame, CA (January 24, 2019) — Guittard Chocolate Company, as part of its Cultivate Better™ sustainability platform, has expanded its flavor quality work in Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Indonesia. The expansion is an initiative designed to protect and preserve the unique flavors of each country’s cocoa. With the support of The World Cocoa Foundation, USAID, Swisscontact, and the Millennium Challenge Account, Guittard is leading comprehensive programs in the world’s top cocoa producing countries, working with breeders, extension agents, cooperatives, and farmers.

    To read the full article, follow this link.

  • December 27, 2018 6:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An article posted by Candy Industry shows the U.S. chocolate market is expected exceed $20 billion by 2025, according to research by United Kingdom-based firm IndexBox. Read the full article here.

  • December 12, 2018 5:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Exotic Chocolate Tasting is hosting a Piemonte Land of Chocolate & Wine tour in northern Italy, October 18-28, 2019. Check out the attached flyer for all of the details.

    One page Chocolate and wine tour LINK.pdf

  • November 09, 2018 9:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Check out this article in Forbes featuring several chocolate makers and distributors of artisan chocolate in Utah.

  • October 29, 2018 4:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are so proud to announce that Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s newest chocolate bar is made with our @sachagoldcacao cacao beans. Their bars are exquisite and beautiful. I met the chocolatier wife and husband team, Katalin Csiszar and Zsolt Szabad in their chocolate factory in Budapest last year. I spent time with them on our farm in the Amazon in Ecuador in the spring, and earlier this month in Quito. We are so pleased they have chosen our beans for their newest bar, and their distributor A Priori will have them in stores soon.

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

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