Sunday, December 14, 2014

Call to Action to Save Heirloom Cacao

November 21, 2014

Fine Chocolate Industry Association Issues a Call to Action to Save Heirloom CacaoIs Frankenstein Chocolate Our Future?
CORRECTION:  Thanks to some of our dedicated and eagle-eyed friends and members for catching our mistake in the media release we sent out earlier today.  We referred to "genetically modified" cacao when we should have said "hybrid" cacao.  We've corrected our release and ask that you give it a second read so the main message of FCIA's Heirloom Cacao Preservation efforts comes through loud and clear.  Please know that we're dedicated to providing accurate information about our fine chocolate industry.


NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently, Bloomberg issued a report sounding the alarm on the dangerous state of chocolate globally. Drought, disease, and deterioration of cacao growth around the world is indeed an issue worth paying attention to especially given the exponential rise of chocolate consumption particularly in emerging markets. The report cited the progress made in hybrid cacao which is one solution many of the larger manufacturers of chocolate are pursuing.  The piece made it seem as though the future of chocolate is one that is scientifically engineered with little to no focus on flavor, a nightmare to any chocolate lover who values the varied and rich flavors that varieties of chocolate from around the world produce. 

Hybrid cacao is not our only option in the fight against global degradation of cacao. Numerous specialty chocolate manufacturers and chocolatiers whose livelihood depends on fine-flavored cocoa have come together to work with local farmers on every continent to preserve heirloom cacao. Known as the Fine Chocolate Industry Association they are spearheading the Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP) Initiative which is a joint effort with the USDA/ARS. The HCP begins by identifying and testing the finest flavored cacao which becomes the most flavorful chocolate in the world. Once identified, they are mapped and targeted for natural reproduction. Cocoas designated fine-flavored means more money to the individual farmers to ideally dissuade them from planting hybridcacao trees. By recognizing and rewarding the growers who cultivate this precious dwindling resource we can preserve and propagate heirloom cacao for future generations.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Fine Chocolate Industry Association go to http://www.finechocolateindustry.org
Contact: Karen Bryant, FCIA, 206.577.9983 or info@finechocolateindustry.org
SOURCE Fine Chocolate Industry Association

RELATED LINKS
http://www.finechocolateindustry.org

FCIA thanks Guittard for assistance in creating and disseminating this media release.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 7 is Chocolate Day - Chocolate Infographics

Food Science - Link source - http://www.elsevier.com/connect/infographic-what-science-says-about-chocolate

Infographic: What science says about chocolate

To celebrate Chocolate Day July 7, here are six things that may surprise you about chocolate

Chocoholics have always argued that chocolate is good for the soul and psyche. Studies in Elsevier's scientific journals show that it can also be good for a lot of other things including our libido, blood pressure and coughs. It may even help prevent wrinkles.
In honor of Chocolate Day on Monday, July 7, Elsevier colleagues have prepared this infographic, followed by a list of "six things science says about chocolate."
Of course, many chocolate treats are laden with sugar and fats, so before you indulge, you may want to check out the actual studies here. (No science we could find justifies eating a steady diet of bonbons or downing a half liter tub of chocolate ice cream at one sitting.) 
But in moderation ... bon appetite!

Infographic: What science says about chocolate

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fabros Farm: More than just a cacao farm, but a cacao forest




If  Fabros Farm accomplishes their goal  of planting more than 50 hectares of their forests with cacao, then it would become one if not the biggest cacao farm in Northern Luzon.

My introduction to the Fabros Farm is by way of a blog post - My own Bean-to-Bar chocolate making experience. Mr. Ansel Fabros, a medtech in Canada  got to read my blog and that started our exchange about cacao and chocolate.

He was also instrumental for the first cacao seminar  I attended that was offered for free by SOAP. There I met with his brothers Arnold and Ariel and some of their farm technicians. They brought and gave me several cacao pods (they call native variety) that I am now growing as seedlings.

He agreed on my request to visit their farm. So  past midnite, on a Holy Thursday (April 17, 2014) , with bus terminal jam packed with people, I joined the chaos of an  hour-long queue of commuters wanting to get a ride. Lucky enough to get a seat to Cabanatuan and then a van ride to Aurora, I arrived safe for the first time in the province.


I was received at the public market and was brought to the nursery of the Fabros Farm. I was told that there are around 50,000 seedlings ready to be transferred to the site. Most of the seedlings were grafted. And that they have a  70%  success rate of survival for their grafted seedlings. The grafted seedlings appear to be healthy, although some of the leaves shows sign of being eaten by insects. The farm uses insecticides to keep away insects from harming the seedlings.  In some parts, the nursery is a bit grassy, almost serving as shade to the seedlings.

Aside from the seedlings located on the designated nursery plots, some of the seedlings were also under mango tree serving as shade. Although not prevalent, one of the problems identified is the presence of some fungus that seems to attack the roots of seedlings, making them rot. Solution to the problem is still being identified by the farm technician.

Cacao is endemic in the locality of Maria Aurora. In the neighborhood of Brgy. Diaat alone, cacao trees are grown in backyards. I was even shown of one resilient and abundantly fruiting cacao that is precariously thriving on a rocky ground on one end of the bridge just on top of its abutment. The tree appears like dangling on a cliff  above the rushing water. In other locations close by the river are some tall cacao trees that are intercropped with coconut and other trees. The trees are more than five years old and showing some of the  common cacao diseases.







Fabros Farm manages two separate locations for their cacao farm. One of the locations is called Agtedtedted more than 20 hectares and the other area is called Mumunsi, bigger area and several locations of more than 30 hectares. Both are forest areas that used to be logging sites where  remnants of cut trunks of huge and giant trees are on a state of decay. And the road system for 6x6 trucks remain passable.















Agtedteded is the pioneer farm. The location is about two kilometers away from the residential areas. Going to the area one has to traverse the long and winding river system.   Given also the condition of the bumpy roads, the seedlings from the nursery are allowed to recover for a week after they get transported to their new location.  After more than six months, almost half of the cleared area are now  replanted with cacao seedlings and other intercrops.  The distance they implement is 3.5m x 3.5m  for coconut and cacao intercrop  and  3m x 3m for cacao to cacao. The location has a spring that serves as a source of potable water for drinking and farm use.

Several farmers are tending the farm doing different farm duties. Some are clearing the farm for planting. Others are making charcoals from the fallen trees.  Others do the spraying  of a cocktail of foliar, fungicide, and  insecticide.  Spraying is one of the most challenging tasks given the hills get steep. Additional workers are being considered so as to cover spraying the wide expanse of the area.

Corn is used as shade and intercropped with cacao. Other vegetables are grown as well to serve as source of food for farmers who prefer to stay in the farm for the whole duration of the weekdays. Fruit trees and other trees (madre de kakaw) are also planted to serve as wind breakers.

Meanwhile the Mumunsi is the second location for the cacao  which is more expanse.  In an adjacent area are some old coffee trees which will be rehabilitated and soon planted with new coffee trees. Plots of coffee seedlings are also maintained in that location. There's a small cottage being built on top of the farm. And just below it is a swimming pool size pond to raise fresh water fishes as future source of food for farmers. Water source is from a spring. An almost kilometer length of water pipe was laid out from the spring to the cottage.










There are lots of work that still needs to be done in the area. Much of the cutting of trees and clearing are still on-going, although in the cleared area close by the cottage it is already planted with cacao seedlings. Transport of the cacao seedlings are being scheduled since the river gets swollen during rainy days and the rainy months is soon to come. Since the location is surrounded by forests, it gets cool in the late afternoon and sometimes showers at night.

Mr. Ansel Fabros is well aware of the challenges and concerns that they are faced with. But since he has invested most of his savings and support from angel investors, there's no more turning back.  Fabros Farm continues to invest in training their farm technicians. They are scheduled this summer for a 2-week cacao farming immersion with Mr. Peter Cruz in Davao.

So what was the inspiration for setting up the farm?  Below is a quote from Mr. Fabros:

When I went home in 2012, I saw many folks are jobless and just hanging around in our barangay (village). Also, I felt like that some of the amount we give as  investment for the family business back home are going nowhere. Some of our properties remain idle so I  started reading about High Value Crops and cacao got my attention. I did research on the internet and communicated with some  cacao players. And was frustrated BIG TIME with government's lack of reply to my queries. 
When I consulted a friend about cacao growing and  believes in the profitability of the project,  that's when Fabros Farm started. I have high hopes about this project. It is a very ambitious and daring  and I credit my brothers effort.  They are all absorbing the stress and pressure from me.  I hope someday, it will not only my family that will benefit  but the rest of the folks in our barangay. When the cacaos are fruiting and we have added income, it is my  plan to do "contract growing, intercropped with coconut" with or without government assistance.
 
Fabros Farm's pioneering spirit and noble goal of providing livelihood to the people of their barangay is laudable. Despite the many challenges and their lack of experience, the family enterprise make up for it with their collective effort and enthusiasm to see to it that their venture succeed. With its humongous size Fabros Farm is not just a cacao farm but a cacao forest full of potentials.

 More fotos here - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.617984204937828.1073741830.365825456820372&type=3

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Guide to Chocolate by MyChocolate


Thank you Mr. Edwards, Maraming salamat po, for the offer to feature your infographics. Below is an excerpt of his letter to me:

Good Morning,

My name is James Edwards and I work with MyChocolate; a specialist provider of chocolate making workshops in London.

I’m excited to tell you about a fun infographic we’ve just created which acts as a ‘Guide to Chocolate’!  It’s packed with interesting facts and statistics all about the history of this delightful food, the varied characteristics of the cocoa bean and the lesser known health benefits it holds.

Given the nature of your site, I thought that your readership would really like to have a look at it as well, so I’m offering it to you to use totally free of charge.


Many thanks for your time.


Kind regards, 

James
A Guide to Chocolate InfographicProvided by MyChocolate

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cacao Sense: The story of Dingayan Cacao Farm

Little did I know that cacao is also grown in several farms up north of the Philippines. I found out of such farm that has already been existing the last six years in Lasam, Cagayan through the presentation made by Mr. Wiley Dingayan, the owner and farm manager of Dingayan Cacao Farm (DCF) at the Philippine Chocolate Festival held last 15 February 2014 at SM Masinag. I inquired if I could  visit the farm someday and Mr. Wiley was polite enough to accede to my request.

So when I went back to Ilocos for the graduation of my niece, I made arrangement to visit the farm. The story below was related to me both  by Engr. Fred and Mr. Willey of DCF during our exchange when I visited their farm in Lasam, Cagayan.



DCF Inspiration

It was a Pastor of United Methodist Church, Pastor Joey Nitura, who suggested that we plant cacao. He informed us that Mr. Arthur Cruz (a Methodist church member at Gattaran) had already planted 3,000 cacao trees that came from Davao, in his farm in Brgy. Minanga, Lasam Cagayan.  We got interested, so we paid him a visit and read some of his brochures and books about cacao. We invited Mang Arthur to visit the property we planned to plant cacao and he told us it was okay to grow cacao there.

What inspired us to persevere in the farm is the recognized demand and need of cacao supply both in the local and global market that is not being met with the current Philippine cacao production. Although, it is not an easy task, it is our aspiration and mission here in Lasam to increase cacao production. 

We started planting cacao in our lot in Nicolas Agatep, Lasam Cagayan. The cost then of the 50 seedlings we bought was PhP25.00/seedling. During that time, we had zero knowledge of actual cacao growing and encountered problems in its maintenance. Then, there was drought, not one of our cacao plants survived. 


So, before we tried planting again. We made several researches and then decided to do massive planting, we created a nursery, then, we purchased 1,000 seedlings from Mang Arthur. 

We were then using iron bar and spade for digging, but it was very slow.  So, we invented a new hole digger, which made digging faster and easier. That innovation has become one of the most useful tool we now have in our farm. Since the farm is now bigger we recruited people to help us maintain the farm. When the property adjacent to our farm was sold to us, it was a sign for us to go massive cacao planting. We were quite choosy with the people who work for us.  We only selected people who are dedicated, and true enough they still remained with us. 




Cacao sense is common sense 

Most of our practices are based on common sense, keen observations and experiences gained throughout the years of our operations. In the farm, we have existing shade trees, like madre de kakaw and the big grasses served also as shade. Since our seedlings were being transported from another place we made sure that the seedlings recovered first, before they get re-planted. We even dug deeper and wider holes using our invented hole digger for planting the trees. 

Our approach to pest is more of an integrated pest management. Most of the time we use organic inputs, but as a balance, we also use chemical pesticides, herbicides, and weedicides, especially, at that time when the cacao seedlings were still growing. Through time we have learned the life cycle of insects. We also learned when and where to spray, and where these insects hide during day time. 

We had a very bad experience on grafted cacao trees.  Of the 100 field grafted cacao seedlings, only one survived. So we stopped grafting and let the cacao seedlings grow naturally. Besides, the life span of un-grafted seedlings is longer than the grafted ones. 



We are also particular at record keeping. We have assigned one of our workers in monitoring and filling data of the farm journal we devised. It contains information as to their daily, weekly and monthly tasks. That way, we can keep track of their output and can also know the status of the cacao trees. At first, we even kept data of the weight of the harvested pods including its thickness; weight of beans, before and after mucilage is removed; the weight of beans before and after fermentation; and weight loss before and after drying the beans. 





Harvest Target

Our target harvest is at least 2800 pods/week from the 5000 trees that are now flowering. If we can attain that this year, we can already sustain our operations and fund our next expansion. Last year, we were already harvesting more or less 1200 pods weekly, but due to typhoon “vinta”, we are down to 80-100 pods a week. The trees have just recovered, and they are flowering and fruiting right now, by June or July we are optimistic that we will be back to 1200 pods/week harvest or more. We have instructed the farmers to prioritize the flowering trees and then focus on what intervention to do next with the non-flowering trees.


Looking back, during our first few harvests, we were able to harvest 50 pods, our biggest that time, and we were so happy that we invited some friends to come over our house and eat the cacao mucilage, and that’s when we formed the, what we called, "molmol club".  We did that for a few months, it was good way to introduce cacao to our town folks.



Post Harvest

Our process from harvesting to drying has improved through the years. As we learned the nuances of the operation, we try to adjust, modify and innovate according to our needs, but without sacrificing the quality of our beans. Our aim is to produce clean and high quality beans. So, we always keep that in mind every time we make changes.

The first step after harvest is to break the pods to get the cacao beans. The usual practice was to use a wooden pallet to break the pod or bolo. We found this very tedious and very slow, so we made a portable pod breaker to make the process faster and it is what we are using now. And since it is portable, it is easier to clean and we can bring the pod breaker anywhere in the farm.


The second step is fermentation. The beans are placed in a container and are fermented for 6-7days. Even our containers have changed. The one we are using now makes it very convenient to get the juice for wine, vinegar and fertilizer making. 


The third step is to wash and sort the beans. At first, we were only using a pail and a strainer, but as the volume of harvest increased, so is the time do the task. So we designed a device where we can easily wash the beans, and at the same time, sort out the small-sized beans, as well as the empty beans. And this saved us so much time. Another reason for this idea, is that when small beans and empty beans are NOT separated from the bigger beans, the beans takes longer to dry, and they are more prone to have molds. So, we opted to separate them before drying.


The fourth step is drying, we used to dry cacao beans in a bilao (native baskets). And we had to use old mosquito nets to shield the cacao beans from being infested by flies. We are very particular with cleanliness, so as much as possible; we don’t want insects and flies on our beans. So, in 2012, when our harvest increased, we decided to create a portable solar dryer, it’s another innovation for our farm. And, as the harvest grew we constructed more solar dryers for drying the beans. 

We are also planning to invest on a mechanical dryer useful especially during the rainy season. With a mechanical dryer we can control the drying of cacao beans as compared to the conventional drying we are using now. Also, we are considering a “pugon” (oven) type of drying like they do when drying Virginia tobacco. 










Even our cacao grinder for making tablea is also a product of innovation. We based it on existing equipments we have seen, like that of a peanut grinder that make peanut butter.

Government support for Cacao Entrepreneur

It is high time for the government to give support not only to cooperatives, but also to individual cacao entrepreneurs. And the support should come in the form of cash. This way it gives entrepreneurs the freedom to choose a suitable equipment for his/her farm.

Another thing that we would like for the government to do is to establish a ceiling price for cacao, just like rice and corn, so that more farmers will be encouraged to plant cacao.


Tsokolate drink tradition with cacao farmers

Every morning before the workers go to the farm they come to our house for a chocolate drink.  I personally make and serve them their energy drink. It is one of our farm’s regular activity that we have institutionalized. During our chocolate drinking session we exchange, update and discuss what’s to be done for the day. It is good for the workers to have a taste of the fruit of their labor. 


Our workers take care of our farm, so we also care for their welfare and well being. That is why, aside from their daily wage, we also give them daily meal and transportation allowance. And we also provide scholarships to the children of our workers. We planned to give them more benefits once we generate enough income to sustain our operations and have funds for those additional benefits. 





Dingayan Cacao Farm (DCF)
Owner: Willette “Wiley” Medrano-Dingayan
Add: #127 Centro 01, Lasam, Cagayan 3524
dingayancacaofarm@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/dingayancacao

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Strangled Cacao: Debunking Coconut-Cacao Inter-cropping?



The account and personal experience below  of Mr. Lazaro was pointed out to me by Mr. Wiley of DCF when I visited their farm. I mentioned to them that I saw an article about inter-cropping cacao and coconut so I shared it on this blog through these posts:


http://pinoychocophile.blogspot.com/2014/01/intercropping-coconut-and-cacao.html#.Uz7CUKg-rpo

An excerpt from the book:
One big mistake Lazaro distinctly remembers is a decision he made while still with the Benguet Corporation, when he strangled... cacao. "I wanted to move into the agricultural filed in a non-traditional way, so we identified a location that appeared ideal for citrus development. We spent a lot of money to develop the farm, but it did not produce the kinds of fruits we wanted. We planted cacao under coconut trees because cacao needs shade, and we thought there was a symbiosis between the two - we could fertilize the cacao and the coconut at the same time. But we ended up with two cropfields that lost a lot of money because, as we fertilized cacao. which is the higher value crop, the roots of the coconut went after the fertilizer, and you know the roots of the coconut are so strong so they eventually strangled the cacao. We produced coconuts that were so big, but lost the higher value crop, the cacao, was lost."
How to deal with such a blunder? Lazaro is quick to answer:"You just accept it and write it of."

Extraordinary Stories for Aspiring Leaders
Editors, Victor L. Madaraog and Nikki Katherine M. Dy-Liacco
page 121, Anvil, 2008



The book features fifty-one extraordinary men and women business leaders whose life challenges, experiences and achievements have given them insights into the kind of leadership that inspires, ignites and propels positive change in our society. Written for aspiring leaders, this book features extraordinary accounts that can inspire and instill hope for those who are searching for present-day role models.  http://www.anvilpublishing.com/shop/extraordinary-bookpaper/


I will verify with PCA if they have farms to demonstrate and validate what they've proposed is really working and will contradict the account above. Perhaps there are farms that would prove PCA's suggestion is really effective based on their own experience and I would like to visit and see the place for myself, because I am even proposing such scheme to a group of farmers in Quezon. Now I have to refrain from pursuing  the suggestion until I have personally verified it myself.

Hope readers of this blog could point me if there are farms that effectively, efficiently, and productively inter-crop of cacao and coconut. Would appreciate any lead. Salamat po.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chocolates in the Philippines by Joy Kristel L. Orzales

The Sweet World of Chocolates in the Philippines1

April 2011

Joy Kristel L. Orzales
Researcher
Center for Food and Agri Business
University of Asia and the Pacific
 
 
Chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the world. Ever wondered why many people turn to chocolates when they are sad?

Studies show that chocolates have many chemicals that interact with the brain and enhance the mood. Some of the known chemicals are anandamide that causes the feeling of well-being, phenylephylamine that changes the blood pressure and blood sugar and increases the pulse rate similar to the feeling when in love, and endorphin, better known as the happy hormone, because it can lessen pain and decrease stress. This is the reason why there is a steady demand for chocolates all around the globe.


Performance

Chocolate manufacturing is a billion peso industry in the country. Based on the latest Census of Philippine Business Industry (2006), there are eight local establishments with total employment of 20 and above that manufacture chocolate and cocoa products including chocolate candies with total revenues of P3 billion.

Meanwhile, according to the National Statistics Office-Family Income and Expenditure Survey, Filipinos spent P4.8 billion in 2009 for sugar products that consist of candies and chocolates, among others. Spending was up by 10 percent per annum from P3.6 billion in 2006, or 4.7 percent per annum if adjusted for inflation.


Trade

The Philippines is a net importer of chocolates. The trade deficit (exports minus imports) increased by 15.7 percent per annum from US$2.1 million in 2006 to US$3.7 million in 2010.

Imports. In 2010, the country imported 1,818 tons of chocolates valued at US$5.4 million. There was a decrease of 0.5 percent per annum from 2,166 tons (US$4.2 million) in 2006. Imports peaked in 2009 at 3,051 tons valued at US$8.2 million.
Figure 1. Total Volume and Value of Chocolate Imports*, 2006-2010
(Volume in tons, CIF value in US$ '000)
Figure 1: Description of this image follows
Figure 1. Total Volume and Value of Chocolate Imports*, 2006-2010: In 2010, the country imported 1,818 tons of chocolates valued at US$5.4 million. There was a decrease of 0.5 percent per annum from 2,166 tons (US$4.2 million) in 2006. Imports peaked in 2009 at 3,051 tons valued at US$8.2 million.
* includes chocolate confectionery and white chocolate
Source: BAS
The United States (US) was the major source of chocolates from 2006 to 2010 except in 2007 where Malaysia was the major origin. In 2010, it supplied 361 tons valued at US$534 thousand, which was 20 percent of total imports. Other leading sources of chocolates during the year were Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Indonesia, and China.

The popular brands imported from the US are Hershey's, Mars, Snickers, and M&M. Gandour chocolates like Tofiluk, Demolino, and Safari are from Saudi Arabia. Delfi chocolates like Delfi Chocolate Sticks and Chic Choc biscuits are from Singapore under the management of Petra Foods Ltd.

Exports. Philippine exports of chocolates were volatile from 2006 to 2010, with peak in 2007 at 898 tons valued at US$2.8 million. Exports decreased from 747 tons (US$2.1 million) in 2006 to 591 tons (US$1.7 million) in 2010. Volumes contracted by an average of 2.6 percent per annum although export values increased during the period.
Figure 2. Total Volume and Value of Chocolate Exports, 2006-2010
(Volume in tons, FOB value in US$'000)
Figure 2: Description of this image follows.
Figure 2. Total Volume and Value of Chocolate Exports, 2006-2010: Philippine exports of chocolates were volatile from 2006 to 2010, with peak in 2007 at 898 tons valued at US$2.8 million. Exports decreased from 747 tons (US$2.1 million) in 2006 to 591 tons (US$1.7 million) in 2010. Volumes contracted by an average of 2.6 percent per annum although export values increased during the period
Source: BAS
In 2010, Korea was the major market of Philippine chocolates, followed by Canada and the US.

Key Players

There are several companies engaged in chocolate manufacturing in the country. The three largest are Universal Robina Corporation, Commonwealth Foods, Inc. and Goya, Inc. under Delfi Foods Inc.
  • Universal Robina Corporation. Universal Robina Corporation (URC) is the market leader in chocolates and the leading branded convenience food and beverage company in the Philippines. It manufactures enrobed chocolates and panned chocolates. Its popular enrobed chocolate brands are Cloud 9, Big Bang, Chooey, and Monster Munch while its panned chocolate, Nips, is the most popular in its category. It also exports chocolates to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.
  • Commonwealth Foods, Inc. Commonwealth Foods, Inc. (Comfoods) is a manufacturer of chocolates as well as other products like coffee, cookies, biscuits, milk products, coffee beans, flour, and sugar. Its chocolate brands are Flat Tops, Curly Tops, Choco Mallows, and Chocolate Crunchies.
  • Goya, Inc. Goya, Inc. is now under Delfi Foods Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petra Foods Inc., a Singapore-based manufacturer of branded consumer confectionery. Delfi bought the manufacturing plant and sales and distribution assets of Nestle Philippines together with Goya for an aggregate deal of US$5 million in March 2006. Currently, Knick Knacks and all of the Goya products are under Petra's subsidiary in the Philippines. Delfi Foods Inc. had net sales of P1.2 billion in 2009, according to Business World's Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines. The popular Goya products are chocolate coins and eggs.
  • Other players. There are other chocolate manufacturers like Multirich Foods Corp. (Choco Mucho), Columbia International Food Products Inc. (Klicx Cruncher and Chocquick bars), Monde Nissin (Snitch Choco Bar), Twin Oaks Foods Corp. (Mayfair), Stateline Snack Food Corp. (Stateline Nimble Chocolates), New Unity Sweets Mfg. Corp. (Choc-Nut), Annie Candy Manufacturing (Hany Milk Chocolate), and Gracepoint Enterprises (Lala).
Aside from the manufacturers, there are also importers and distributors in the industry. These include Nestlé Philippines Inc. (Kitkat and Crunch), Hershey's Philippines Inc. (Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's Milk Chocolates), Valiant Distribution Inc. (Hershey's Kisses), Cadbury Adams (Philippines) Inc. (Cadbury), Grand Dragon Ent. Inc. (Meiji chocolates, Yan Yan and Hello Panda), Mars Philippines Inc. (Mars, M&M, Snickers, and Malteeser), Sweetie Shoppe Inc. (Toblerone), Gandour Philippines Inc. (Tofiluk, Demolino, Safari, and Pik-One), Kenda International Inc. (Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Frey, Swiss Delice, and Rittersport), Delfi Marketing Inc. (Delfi), Mega Marketing Inc. (Ferrero Rocher and Ferrero Tronky), and Rustan Marketing Specialists, Inc. (Marks and Spencer).

There are also kiosks that sell high-end chocolates like Royce' and Leonidas. Royce' is a Japanese chocolate manufactured by Royce' Confect Co., Ltd. which offers chocolate-powdered chocolates that melts in the mouth. Royce' chocolates cost more than P500 for a 20-piece chocolate box. Kiosks can be seen at Powerplant Mall and Greenbelt 5 in Makati, Trinoma Mall and Eastwood Mall in Quezon City, and Robinson's Place in Manila.

Meanwhile, Leonidas is a Belgian brand that offers 100 percent pure cocoa butter for the coating with many flavors available. The price ranges from P1,700 to P3,500 for tin cans, P250 to P2,500 for boxes, and P200 for singles. Leonidas kiosks are located at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, Alabang Town Center in Ayala-Alabang, The Podium in Ortigas, and Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong.

Prices and Distribution

People can buy local chocolate bars for as low as P4.95 for a 28-gram (g) Klicx Cruncher or Chocquick to as high as P78.50 for a Goya Chunky chocolate. Meanwhile, packed chocolate prices ranged from P21.50 (Curly Tops, 15 pieces) to P154.50 (Goya chocolate coins). Imported chocolates are much more expensive. Prices can vary from as low of P20.00 (Nestle Kitkat) to as high as P149.50 (Lindt Almond) for chocolate bars and from P54.50 (Ferrero Rocher, 3 pieces) to P564.50 (Ferrero Rocher, 30 pieces) for packed chocolates.

Table 1 shows the indicative prices of selected imported and local chocolates.
Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos)
           
Chocolates Imported (90-100g)Price
Lindt Almond149.50
Lindt Double Milk139.50
Frey Classiq84.50
Rittersport White83.50
Toblerone Chocolate84.50
Toblerone White91.50
Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Imported (90-100g)Price
Goya Chunky78.50
Goya Indulgence78.50
Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Imported  (35-55g)Price
Nestle Kitkat20.00
Butterfinger Crisp31.50
Nestle Crunch31.50
Snickers Almonds44.50
Snickers Classic31.50
Toblerone White46.50
Toblerone Chocolate44.50
Cadburry Dairy Milk42.50
M&M peanut31.50
Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Local (35-55g)Price
Nips11.50
Goya Cookies n' Cream18.50
Goya Almond Choco17.50
Goya Milk Choco17.50
Goya Strawberry n' Cream17.50
Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Local (25-30g)Price
Cloud 9 Crunchy6.50
Cloud 9 Berry Burst5.95
Cloud 9 Nougat5.95
Goya O' Nuts15.00
Goya Dark Chocolate19.50
Goya Intense Dark28.50
Choco Mucho5.50
Klicx Cruncher4.95
Snitch Chocolate Bar5.50
Chocquick4.95


Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Imported  (In Packs)Price
Ferrero Rocher, 30 pieces564.50
Ferrero Rocher, 16 pieces314.50
Ferrero Rocher, 5 pieces99.50
Ferrero Rocher,3 pieces54.50
Ferrero Tronky, 108g 6's112.50
Hershey's Kisses, 235 g239.50
Hershey's Kisses Almonds, 235g239.50

Table 1. Indicative Prices of Selected Imported and Local Chocolates
(in pesos) - continued
         
Chocolates Local (In Packs)Price
Flat tops, 30's38.50
Choc-Nut, 24's33.50
Curly tops, 15's21.50
Curly tops, 24's34.50
Goya Chocolate coins, 500 g154.50
Goya Silver cups, 420 g104.50
 
Source: Selected Supermarkets in Metro Manila, March 2011

Chocolates are patronized by people from all ages and gender. They are highly in demand during the months of February (Valentine's Day) and December (Christmas) because people usually give them as gifts.

Chocolates can be bought in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, drugstores, department stores, and duty free shops. They are usually packed in foil or boxes.

Challenges and Opportunities

Local chocolate manufacturers face several challenges. For one, production of cocoa, a key raw material, remains lacking in terms of both quantity and quality. It also has to be shared by different industries like beverage, baking, ice cream, food service, and chocolate, among others.

Manufacturers are also affected by the rising prices of sugar, another important ingredient. In late March this year, the retail price for refined sugar stood at P64 per kilogram (kg) from only P53 per kg during the comparable period last year.

Aside from the price of sugar, tariff is also a concern. The current tariff imposed on imported sugar is higher than the tariff for processed chocolate imports. Since 2009, the tariff is 38 percent for in-quota and out-quota shipments from countries under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and 50 percent for in-quota and 65 percent for out-quota from other countries. This is higher than the tariff imposed on processed chocolates which is zero for AFTA countries and seven percent from other countries. This puts local chocolate manufacturers at a disadvantage compared to just importing processed chocolates. Tariff on sugar though will be lowered to 18 percent in 2013 and to five percent by 2015 for AFTA countries.

The lower tariff on chocolates has also led to intensified competition between local and imported chocolates. Local producers have to exert more effort to be competitive in the local market.
Amid the challenges, there are opportunities in the local and international markets. The advantage that local chocolate manufacturers have is the ability to cater to the majority of the population by offering low- to mid-priced chocolates in small packages. They also pursue continuous product innovations to cater to changing consumer tastes and preferences. Some have products which are already comparable with imported brands.

There are also international chocolate manufacturers like Askinosie Chocolate and Mars, Inc. thathave started to import Philippine cacao. Askinosie Chocolate sources out some of its cocoa bean requirements from Davao. Mars, Inc. has established a Mars Cocoa Development Center in Davao to help farmers produce quality cocoa beans, which has started to import at market value. This shows that the Philippines has the potential to produce high quality chocolates that can compete in the international market.

An increase in the production of high quality cacao beans will help propel the local chocolate industry. In this regard, the government provides support in terms of improving the production of high quality cacao beans such as Criollo. A research, development, and extension program for cacao from 2008 to 2012 has been funded by Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR). The agency's National Research and Development Extension Agenda and Programs for 2011 to 2015 has listed cacao as a priority crop. The DA Agri-Pinoy High Value Crops Development Program also includes cacao production that will give the farmers technical assistance, technologies, and choice planting materials.

There are also programs for the development of the local cacao industry initiated by private organizations such as Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil), a non-stock and non-profit organization of farmers, cacao buyers and processors, and professionals. A cocoa road map, which aims to plant 50 million cacao trees by 2020 to supply the demand of 30,000 tons of cacao beans per year by the local manufacturers, was initiated by CocoaPhil and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA), a US-based non-government organization. ACDI/VOCA also implemented the SUCCESS Alliance program aimed to improve cocoa production and marketing linkages in the country from 2002 to 2005 for the first phase and 2006 to 2009 for the second phase. The project was funded by US Agency for International Development and US Department of Agriculture (USDA), respectively.
Another project of ACDI/VOCA is the CoCoPal (Cocoa, Coconut, and Palayamanan), a three-year USDA-funded project that aims to equip the farmers with skills and introduce them to new technologies so they can produce beans and sell premium black chocolate that will pass international standards. This project started in 2010, in collaboration with four local agencies: CocoaPhil, PhilRice, Landcare Foundation, and Philippine Association of Small Coconut Farmers.

All these initiatives to increase the production of high quality cacao beans will help boost the local chocolate industry. And hopefully, the industry will enjoy sweet success in the future.


References
  • BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines 2010.
  • Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.
  • Galvez, Marie Annette. A Bite of the Philippine Chocolate Industry. Food and Agri Business Monitor. University of Asia and the Pacific. August 2001.
  • National Statistics Office. Census of Philippine Business Industry, 2006 and 2009.Family Income and Expenditure Survey, 2006 and 2009.
  • Philippine Sugar Millers Association. Retail Prices of Refined Sugar (monthly
  • Philippine Tariff Commission. ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature Book 2010 MFN Rates.
  • Remo, Amy. Cocoa: Answer to RP's need for a cash crop? Manila Bulletin, May 24, 2008.
  • Sarian, Zac. Ambitious Cacao Production Program. Manila Bulletin, March 4, 2011.

Various company websites.

  • www.cocoaphil.org
  • www.thesuccessalliance.org


1. Published in the April 2011 issue of the Food and Agri Business Monitor, a monthly magazine of the University of Asia and the Pacific's Center for Food and Agri Business, Pasig City, Philippines.
 
 
 

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