Barry Callebaut enters into Malaysian cocoa project

by Jeff Gelski
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — In an effort to diversify its cocoa sourcing, Barry Callebaut AG has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Cocoa Board on a collaborative research project seeking higher quality chocolate from Malaysian cocoa beans. The project will apply and assess different microbial starter cultures developed by Barry Callebaut for a controlled fermentation process.

“Due to current growth limitations in cocoa supply from Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa-producing country, and our growing demand for cocoa, we have a strategic need to diversify our cocoa origins,” said Juergen Steinemann, chief executive officer of Zurich-based Barry Callebaut. “Malaysia and surrounding countries currently produce about 15% of the annual global cocoa harvest and are logical sourcing alternatives to West Africa for us.”

Mr. Steinemann added many Europeans and North Americans are used to the flavor of West African cocoa in chocolate products.

“Malaysia is the largest cocoa-grinding country in Asia,” Mr. Steinemann said. “Malaysian grinders import beans from Africa to make high-flavor cocoa products. Controlled fermentation will allow us to match the taste of Malaysian cocoa with West African cocoa.”

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