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Easter chocolate takes on new meaning with sustainability and innovation

March 29, 2021

As Easter approaches, children will soon delight in baskets filled with chocolate treats. What they might not realize is the journey chocolate makes from cocoa bean to chocolate eggs  is one that requires responsibility and innovation every step of the way.

As one of the world’s leading producers of cocoa and chocolate, Cargill sustainably provides high-quality products throughout the world, bringing our customers peace of mind, integrity and excitement. Everyone in the cocoa sector has a role to play in creating a more sustainable future, and Cargill is uniquely positioned to connect stakeholders across the supply chain.

Sustainable sourcing

As we seek to transform the sector alongside industry partners, we are working to complement and enhance the sustainability efforts of our customers, other cocoa and chocolate companies, NGOs, farmer organizations and policymakers.

We know that our success is directly linked to the success of cocoa farmers. The Cargill Cocoa Promise is our commitment to farmers and their communities, enabling them to achieve better incomes and living standards while growing cocoa sustainably.

“Everything we do comes back to how we will create lasting benefits for cocoa farmers and their communities,” said Taco Terheijden, sustainability director for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “Across all five countries where Cargill sources cocoa, we connect smallholder farmers to skills and resources that increase their resilience and their livelihoods while enhancing sustainability.”

Now customers have even more insight into this work. Cargill’s CocoaWise™ digital portal provides fast, easy access to the sustainability data of Cargill’s cocoa supply chain. With CocoaWise™, we’re providing customers and their consumers with deeper connections to the communities from which we source our sustainable cocoa.

Delighting the senses

On Easter and every day, our business is about creating joy. We do this by providing customers with end-to-end innovation capabilities and partnering with them to bring new ideas to life.

These capabilities will be on full display at our one-of-a-kind “House of Chocolate” complex, currently under construction in Mouscron, Belgium. Here, customers will gain inspiration from Cargill’s gourmet chocolate chefs and develop new product concepts while the in-house sensory lab ensures those products deliver on consumers’ expectations for taste, visual appearance, texture and more.

But they don’t have to wait for the House of Chocolate to access these resources. We already offer extensive programs to identify trends, assist with product development and share sensory expertise – available to customers globally.

“Partnering with Cargill means connecting with experts who have passion and imagination to deliver exciting new products,” said Inge Demeyere, managing director Chocolate Europe. “At the same time, customers can feel confident that we’re sourcing cocoa responsibly as we work to create lasting change in the sector- which research shows is a driver of consumer purchasing decisions.”

Guided by consumer insights

This new research from Cargill finds consumers look for products with sustainability credentials and are willing to pay more for brands that invest in environmental or social initiatives that align with their beliefs.

The research, which surveyed more than 7,000 consumers across 10 European countries, was designed to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ sustainability perceptions, intentions and declared behaviors, providing a guidepost for brands as they plot their sustainability journey.

In the survey, Cargill found 70% of consumers factor sustainability into their food and beverage purchase decisions, with an even higher percentage of frequent chocolate purchasers, nearly three-quarters, reporting they prefer to buy sustainable products.

“Consumer expectations are higher now than ever before,” says Niels Boetje, Managing Director of Cocoa at Cargill. “Our research suggests that increasingly, consumers look for responsibly sourced brands, backed by concrete claims and compelling stories that connect the products they purchase with tangible progress on critical issues like child protection and deforestation elimination.”

To tackle these cocoa sustainability challenges, Cargill is working with partners to make a transformative impact on the ground in cocoa-producing countries. For example, CARE and Cargill collaborated over the last decade to improve agricultural production, increase household incomes, empower women, connect farmers to markets, improve nutrition and household wellbeing, and foster well-governed communities through an inclusive approach – one that is driven by and for communities.

To chocolate lovers everywhere, we say thank you for ensuring a market for cocoa farmers’ crops and endless inspiration to innovate. Together with customers, farmers and other partners, we’ll continue making connections to ensure that the future of chocolate is delightful for everyone.