Posted on 2 Comments

Why choose Bean to Bar Chocolate made in India?

Bean to Bar chocolates made in india
Bean to Bar Chocolates made in India

10th April 2021, Chennai, India

The year 2021 can be considered a tipping point for the Bean to Bar industry in India. The bean to bar chocolate market in India has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last 2-3 years and is worth about 10 Crores (Cocoatrait Research) in 2021. India currently boasts of around 28 small, medium and large sized bean to bar chocolate makers all demonstrating healthy growth rates and growing at over 40% Y-O-Y on an average. Cocoatrait forecasts that there would be over 40 branded bean to bar chocolate makers by 2022. Interestingly, Covid-19 has only had a temporary dampening effect on the category and there seems to be minimal impact on sales overall in the year 2020.

For the interested, many mass produced industrial chocolates are also made from bean to bar. However, not all. In fact several premium and luxury chocolate brands do not control their entire chocolate making process. They simply buy bulk industrially produced chocolate and melt them, mix certain ingredients and mould them into chocolate bars or other chocolate products. This can be a fairly simplistic process and a bean to bar chocolate maker has a lot on the plate to deal with.

Understanding of how flavours of cacao are impacted by genetic variety (genotype), climate, bean composition, soil type, age of cocoa tree, postharvest treatments of the beans such as fermentation and drying, processing such as roasting, refining, conching, tempering as well as storage and transportation make bean to bar chocolates a balanced mix of both a science and art. This is a very interesting subject for chocolate makers, the trade and consumers alike.

From the supply side, this rise of craft or artisanal Bean to Bar chocolate makers in India has been bought about by the availability of small scale equipments, access to knowledge/technology and availability of raw materials (cacao beans) locally. Consumer exposure towards fine foods and beverages like wine, speciality coffee, teas & beer attributed primarily to increased travel, rise in disposable income, decreased propensity to savings and access to information has driven demand noticeably over the last few years.

In India and even globally, there is a misconception about terms such as “craft,” “fine” “artisanal” or “small batch,” in chocolate and in other food categories. Many chocolate brands available on Indian shelves have been imported and/or finished in India using bulk chocolate made industrially from the bulk variety of beans which are usually imported from bulk cacao producing countries like africa. By alkalising cacao, mass market chocolate manufacturers are able to manipulate the flavour, acidity and colour. This is why mass-market dark chocolate is usually intensely bitter with little flavour complexity and are overly dark in colour. The intense bitterness after alkalising is then offset by adding excessive sugar and also milk (in some cases) to make it more palatable to the masses consuming it as a replacement of traditional sweets! This bitterness becomes evident when you consume a 50% dark chocolate where most of the balance 50% is sugar and the chocolate still remains bitter.

Time needed: 5 minutes.

This is why we decided to write this blog post to help understand why it makes more sense to support bean to bar chocolates over mass produced supermarket or imported chocolate brands and why choosing a chocolate made from Indian cacao beans almost becomes a duty of an Indian citizen.

  1. Better for the Farmer


    The reality is that, in the traditional mass market cacao & chocolate value chain, the farmer realises a fraction of the value of the final chocolate product sold. Bean to bar makers pay a premium for better quality beans, mainly because they lack the expertise to process lower quality beans and make fine chocolate with it. It is usually more beneficial that a farmer embraces direct-trade (with the bean to bar maker) rather than fair-trade certifications. When the farmer gets a premium for his beans over the fair trade price, he is able to pay market wages to the labourers working at the farm. In many cases, we have seen farmers forward integrating to become farm to bar makers or as some say soil to bar makers. This certainly ensures that all the value generated is benefitting the farmer directly. Further, farmers are encouraged to improve their post harvesting processes and this helps them increase the value of their produce and make them self reliant.Why choose Bean to Bar Chocolate made in India?

  2. Better for the planet

    Apart from Bean to bar chocolates being beneficial for the farmer, they are also better for the sustainability of the land where it is grown, our planet and the environment overall. Cacao trees thrive in Biodiverse Environments. Bulk cacao for mass-market chocolate is often grown in monocultures, whereas fine flavour cacao used to make bean to bar chocolates, usually rely on varieties grown in polyculture where more than one plant species are grown together and imitate the diversity of natural agroforest ecosystems. It is also believed that cacao when grown polyculture agroforestry systems, also have higher carbon capture capacity benefitting the planet greatly. Further, due to their agility and small size, most Indian bean to bar makers have the ability to practise sustainability in various measures at the farm, in chocolate production process and also in their packaging and distribution.

  3. Better for the Consumer

    As you have observed, bean to bar chocolates are usually better for the farmer, better for the environment, BUT is it better for consumers? Bean to Bar chocolate makers take pride in their high quality and short ingredient lists. A bar of craft chocolate is usually made of cacao, cocoa butter, and sugar. The emphasis for craft chocolate has always been on flavour, texture and taste – which means the cacao is the star of the bar. These chocolates elevate the overall experience of a chocolate bar. With innovative natural flavours and ingredients used, boundaries are expanded and it raises the bar for consumers. This is in contrast to mass market chocolates. Over processing of chocolate leads to loss of vital benefits of cacao in mass produced chocolates. Various studies over the last few years have discovered that cacao is packed with antioxidants and flavanols. Diets high in antioxidants and flavanols have shown to benefit cardiovascular health, provide anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate blood sugar. There is a lot of research which suggests that consuming dark chocolate which is high in cacao has positive implications on stress levels, mood, memory and immunity. However, here’s the catch: not all chocolate contains the same amount of antioxidants. We believe that while it is easy to call chocolate a health product, we remain committed to calling a craft bean to bar chocolate as a healthier alternative rather than a healthier product. What are the health benefits of bean to bar chocolates? How real are they? Click to read more.

  4. Making India Atmanirbhar

    Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to ‘self-reliant India’, is the Hindi phrase used in relation to economic development in India. With the rise of bean to bar makers, 100% truly indian chocolates are now being offered. These chocolates made from bean to bar, use only indian ingredients starting from cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter. Most equipments used are Indian. Indian Stone grinders make for an interesting equipment used for processing. Even the packaging material is 100% made in india. Hence consuming an indian origin bean to bar chocolate helps India remain atmanirbhar and greatly reduces the reliance on imports. The value is generated in india and is consumed in india and hence helps india remain self reliant. This is a very important contribution in helping build the economy.

  5. Supporting local artisans

    Prime Minister of India’s latest slogan “Be vocal about local” has certainly captivated the Indian audiences in the recent past, and rightly so! While chocolate is a lot of fun, making chocolate, especially when you start from cocoa beans all the way to the final chocolate bar, is a difficult job! Bean to bar chocolate makers find the right cacao, establish trustworthy relationships with cacao farmers and to plan the entire supply chain properly. Like for every artisan, precision and patience are keys in trying to achieve the best chocolate possible. Only true passion and the unending drive to supply great products can make them go through so many difficulties. The introduction of local flavours further add an element of innovation and make for interesting offerings. It is our national duty to support bean to bar chocolate makers!

  6. Supporting the Startup Ecosystem

    Startups are small companies but they usually play a significant role in economic growth of a country. Startups create more jobs and more employment means an improved economy. Not only that, startups also contribute to economic dynamism by spurring innovation competing directly with established and larger companies and increase healthy competition which propels consumer spending and hence contribute directly and indirectly to taxes. In the case of bean to bar chocolates, startups also help us expand the geographic reach of startups which are traditionally concentrated in urban areas.

  7. Facilitating innovation

    With an ability to make chocolate exciting again, bean to bar chocolate makers have complete freedom to experiment with outrageous flavours, designs, techniques and creations in all aspects and at each stage of the chocolate. This brings new dimensions of flavour, experience and innovation into the process and extends the reach of the category to more consumers.The Kocoatrait Spice Collection

Sustainable & Planet Friendly Indian Bean to Bar Chocolates
Video: Bean to Bar chocolate making journey

At this nascent stage of the bean to bar industry in india, one needs to be wary of claims that are being made by chocolate brands who wrongly position themselves as fine, craft or artisanal. While consumers tend to judge a book by its cover (literally), a pretty wrapper is not the best indicator of great flavour or pure craftsmanship. Working with industrially made bulk chocolate and simply melting it to be put on moulds is significantly easier than selecting, sourcing, sorting, grading, roasting, cracking and de-shelling cacao beans!

For Further details contact the author: L Nitin Chordia; +919600064846; nitin@cocoatrait.com

Posted on

Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable Bean to Bar Chocolate

Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

Saving the planet one chocolate bar at a time!

Poonam Chordia & L Nitin Chordia

The launch of Kocoatrait Chocolates marked the birth of the world’s 1st Vegan, Sustainable, Ecofriendly, Recyclable and Planet Friendly Bean to Bar Chocolate. We proudly showcased India’s plastic free and paper free effort to the developed world and had a dream launch in early 2019 in Amsterdam. On display was how Kocoatrait operated in and contributed to the circular economy model. In the past year in India, our efforts have met with both disbelief and acceptance in the same breath. Kocoatrait is proudly a cockroach startup. (Read How It Is Different From Unicorn Startups). Given the current pandemic scenario our efforts to be a sustainable and planet friendly chocolate brand might NOT sound completely alien. We expect to find relevance with a much larger audience across the globe and in our home market India.

Kocoatrait Launch Chocoa Amsterdam Feb 2019
The Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Venu Rajamony at Kocoatrait Launch @ Chocoa 2019 in Amsterdam

The Past

A bit of digging deep into our chocolate consumption behaviour would help us put things in perspective. Let us start with, when in 2019 Mariana Trench, an american explorer found candy wrappers on the seafloor. She was attempting to break the record for the deepest human dive ever. This did ring alarm bells and demonstrated how far the implications of human carelessness can be felt and the irreparable impact it is bound to create if we continue our current consumption behaviour. The amount of landfills chocolate wrappers produce adds to chocolates being among one of the most polluting FMCG products in the world. Chips and confectionery packets account for the largest share (19%) of plastic waste in India according to FICCI.

Forcing all of us to think hard

John Gary of the New Statesman in his article titled “Why this crisis is a turning point in history” dated 1st April 2020 claims, “The era of peak globalisation is over. For those of us not on the front line, clearing the mind and thinking how to live in an altered world is the task at hand”. He adds, “Of course economic expansion is not indefinitely sustainable. For one thing, it can only worsen climate change and turn the planet into a garbage dump”. It is perhaps fair to assume that consumers will start to expect brands and products to be more planet friendly. It will also lead to localisation as per KPMG’s forecast of how business landscape is likely to evolve in the days to come. As i write this on 14th April 2020, what comes as a breath of fresh air is Amsterdam’s decision to consider adopting the Doughnut model of sustainable development where decreasing the dependence on depleting resources shall be in focus. Fast economic growth is not considered necessary in this model of sustenance. Click to read.

Worth Pondering About

Anand Mahindra recently wrote an email addressing his employees, where he noted how neglectful we have been and how we were putting an unnecessary burden on the environment. He pondered with a touch of distress.

“Do we need this kind of crisis to learn all this? Can we not live like this even after the crisis is over, not use the environment in a better way and reduce carbon emissions by traveling less?”

– Anand Mahindra, Mahindra & Mahindra

“For too long, the human race has taken the planet for granted, exploiting resources and depleting its biodiversity to feed our unsustainable ways”

Pankaj M Munjal Chairman & Managing Director, HMC, a Hero Motors Company

Vegan, Sustainable, Ecofriendly and Recyclable chocolate

Kocoatrait had the luxury of time over the last 2-3 years to think and act beyond the obvious and immediately visible customer demands. We added differentiation as a key element of our product strategy and we decided that our chocolate packaging would help us balance the impact of the environmental/water burden cocoa farming puts on the planet. In hindsight, we are now happy that we took this execution task very seriously. We are convinced that we right when we decided to execute our product, packaging & positioning strategy in peace before having been forced to!

Strategy without execution is hallucination!

Mike Roach, CEO, CGI

Declarations

Before justifying our efforts to create a futuristic Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable and concious chocolate brand, we would like to be transparent and look at some relevant declarations. a) It takes an astonishing 1700 liters of water to make a typical 100 gram chocolate bar as quoted by BBC. Most of that water is consumed by the cocoa plants in the field. We are not sure if we can reduce the farms dependence on water currently or in the future and b) We currently use non-renewable water/electricity supply sources. Move to greener and self sustainable sources of these resources in the future is on the cards.

It is quite clear, that we do not operate in an industry that is completely sustainable from an input standpoint. Hence, our endeavour has been to do our bit and ensure chocolate lovers do get their daily dose of chocolates with as less guilt as possible. Apart from being Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly and Recyclable, we have decide to invest in workarounds to make the final chocolate packaging planet friendly. There is little doubt in our minds that our efforts will align with consumer priorities going forward.

Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate
Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

As of March 2020, Kocoatrait has helped prevent 50 Kgs of single use chocolate wrappers from polluting landfills. This is our chosen parameter to measure the impact of our Startup!

– Poonam & L Nitin Chordia, Kocoatrait

Going by rough calculations, 500 sheets of A4 size non-recycled paper uses 6 percent of an average size tree, we have saved 1/3rd a tree. To put things in perspective, each tree will remove 3 Kgs of Carbon Dioxide emissions per year from the air! As of March 2020, we have helped remove 1 kg of carbon dioxide from the air! Hence helping us reduce our carbon footprint. While this might seem like a pretty small contribution to the planet, we derive pleasure in comparing our current situation to one where we would have contributed to landfill if we were using single use plastic lined chocolate wrappers. This keeps us motivated, strong & going.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

– Steve Jobs
Insight into the Journey of Cocoa Pods to Kocoatrait Chocolates!

Our concerns and the opportunity

We have noted that our average consumer is well travelled and that the sustainability voices were growing over the last few years. Given the above, our concern is that post Covid19, travels will reduce or get minimised to “when necessary” due to justified fears. Travel related exposure to other cultures play a significant role in changing consumer mindsets. We are questioned about how our customer would get inspired to adopt sustainable and zero waste living lifestyles? How will consumers navigate the path of sustainability in this unsustainable world? Will they adopt effortlessly? Will they understand the need and benefits of doing so? Well, we will find the answers sooner than later upon our return to the “New Normal”. We shall be paying specific attention to the changes our consumers are going to make to their lifestyle to reduce the greenhouse gases that are generated by their actions. In the meanwhile, if interested, you can check your own Carbon Footprint by using this Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Heres how Kocoatrait, Vegan Sustainable Ecofriendly Recyclable chocolate brand is contributing to India’s circular Economy!

  1. Circularity in Packaging

    We UPCYCLE our packaging material by reclaiming cotton from Textile units & our own cocoa husk waste and help in REDUCING LANDFILL. Our packaging is RECYCLABLE, BIO DEGRADABLE & COMPOSTABLE and also PLASTIC & PAPER FREE.

  2. Eco Friendly

    70% of the Upcycled material gets utilised into making our chocolate wrapper with an aim to reduce WASTAGE of valuable resources. The balance 30% gets REUSED as a business card or gets RECYCLED.

  3. Planet Friendly

    We do not want to be a small bar inside a larger sized wrapper. Our Packaging helps us OPTIMIZE our transport volume, reduce CARBON FOOTPRINT & occupy LESSER RETAIL SHELF SPACE!

  4. Extending Product Lifestyle

    The inner side of the packaging has mandala art templates, greetings, emergency contacts, habit tracker, bookmarks etc, making it REUSABLE thus EXTENDING THE LIFECYCLE of the product and making the wrapper ZERO WASTE!

  5. Social Inclusiveness

    The wrapper design is entirely printed at V-Excel Educational Trust aiming to support & foster inclusion & independence of individuals with SPECIAL NEEDS.

  6. Use of Technology

    QR Codes have been used to educate consumers by providing information about REUSE & RECYCLING of packaging material.

  7. Sustainable Ingredients

    Uses ORGANIC cocoa beans of SOUTH INDIAN ORIGIN. Uses traditional NON REFINED organic khandsari (moscovado) sugar. Kocoatrait is Palm oil free! We do not buy cocoa where the cocoa was planted as a result of deforestation.

  8. Fair Prices to farmer

    As a business decision we only source Fine flavoured cocoa and pay 55% higher than market prices on an average for our cocoa purchases. We try to maximise the benefit to the farmers.

  9. Unique Natural Flavours

    10 UNIQUE DARK CHOCOLATE FLAVOURS – Sukku Coffee, Masala Chai, Lavender, Banana, Pink Rose, Red Rose, Lemongrass, Banana, Coconut Milk & Cinnamon, Irish Coffee. FLAVOUR OILS have NOT been used.

  10. Transparency

    We print the (RDA) Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances clearly on the FRONT of the pack, allowing us to be transparent & CONSUMER CENTRIC. We also clearly give credits to our printing partners on the packaging.

  11. Healthier Product

    REDUCED SUGAR & HIGH COCOA ensures a much healthier Dark chocolate experience. In line with these principles, we do not offer White & Milk chocolates. Most of our chocolates are Vegan.

The Press release is available at: https://cocoatrait.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Kocoatrait-Press-Release-11th-December-2019-scaled.jpg We also curated a Zero waste chocolate gift box! Below is a video on the Making of Kocoatrait. You have an opportunity to enroll for a Bean to Bar chocolate making course at our Institute Cocoashala too! Click for details.

The making of Kocoatrait Vegan, Sustainable, Recyclable chocolate

Press Contact: L Nitin Chordia; +919600064846; nitin@cocoatrait.com