The Chocolate Life

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Brazil must be doing something correctly. Yesterday I received news that PURATOS out of Europe has arrived and purchased a chocolate operation recently started by a friend. The operation had it's inauguration 28 April with "Cacau of Origin" classification. Before the plant had been fully tested, PURATOS showed up with USD 12 million and bought them out. The plant is located in Linhares, Espirito Santos and was designed with capacity of 2500 tons. PURATOS announced at the purchase of intentions of raising the capacity to 7500 tons before 2012. Their market is Europe. The operation was founded by a group of cacau producers that had a dream of breaking the glass ceiling on how we sell cacau.

Barry Callebaut announced on the same day it had finalized plans to construct and operate a new facility in the state of Minas Gerias, with an investment of USD 15 million. The plan will initially produce 20,000 tons of chocolate by  2012. Their market is Brazil and USA.

Kopenhagen Chocolates has also relocated it's operations to Minas Gerias and will market in Brazil,
USA and Europe.

Valrhona announced its grand opening of it's high end chocolate shop in a luxury shopping center in Sao Paulo. I do not know where the product is created but have doubts that they will be importing. This is their 2nd outlet in Sao Paulo, a city of 19 million.

I have recently joined a group to build a chocolate production operation in Ilheus Bahia that will have an initial capacity of 2000 tons. The market is China and contracts have been negotiated for first production in 2011. The principals are cacau farmers that were drafted from a newly formed Association of Cacau Producers (APC) seated in Ilheus. 50,000 sq ft of land has been acquired and we are in the final design stages. Another dream of cacau producers at work.

All of this activity is located within 100 miles of the principal cacau production region in Bahia, Brazil. The economic strength of Brazil seemed to hold strong during the recent downturn and chocolate consumption in Brazil is rising dramatically. All of this activity has resulted from the steady improvement of cacau quality in our region. Quality control management and changes in the way farms are managed are finally bringing positive results to the producer. Looks like the multinational monopoly may be showing signs of cracks

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