The chocolate industry has realized that sustainability makes both ethical and business sense, and is investing heavily in new approaches to improve in this area, according to data and analytics provider GlobalData.
The global chocolate industry is worth $92 billion (USD) and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.97 percent between 2016 and 2021. However, the prospect of sustained growth for such a large industry has led to concerns over whether production can match demand in a sustainable manner.
Ryan Choi, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, notes: “Confectionery giant Mondelez has recently begun to implement more sustainable practices within its cocoa supply chain in Ghana. Meanwhile, 41 players from the Swiss cocoa industry – including Nestlé and Lindt & Sprüngli – have pledged to source at least 80 percent of their cocoa-containing products from sustainable sources by 2025.”
Companies have also been searching for alternative sources of cocoa, in case there was ever a shortage of cocoa beans. Alternative ingredients – such as jack fruit seeds, which give off a similar aroma to chocolate once fermented and roasted – are being considered.
Choi comments: “The success of these alternatives will be based on how well they are able to recreate the taste of chocolate and how well it is received by the public, as the inability to recreate the original flavour can often be the downfall for products using alternative ingredients.”
Many confectionery companies had already implemented fair trade or sustainability initiatives in the last decade. For example, Cadbury’s started working with the Fairtrade Foundation in 2009 to support cocoa farmers and increase crop yields. It didn’t take long for confectioners to realize the benefits of pooling resources when socially responsible policies could improve crop yield and the quality of cocoa.
Choi concludes: “As a result confectionery companies are now looking to invest even more resources into this area, and some have set challenging pledges, with Mars looking to be 100 percent sustainable by 2020.”