Barry Callebaut has revealed its collaboration with local chocolate manufacturers, artisans, retailers and wholesalers such as Morinaga, Yuraku Confectionery and J.Maeda to “make sustainable chocolate the norm for the Japanese market.”
The commitment comes as more chocolate manufacturers in Japan are turning to sustainability programs to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, eradicate child labor and protect nature.
A 2019 consumer insights research by Barry Callebaut revealed that more than 70 percent of Japanese consumers believe that sustainable chocolate products are more trustworthy, of better quality and in alignment with their values. Seventy-five percent of Japanese consumers linked the purchase of sustainable chocolate products with a feel-good factor. More than half indicated that they would buy sustainable chocolate in the future.
Since the global launch of Forever Chocolate, the company’s plan is to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 and Barry Callebaut is persistently pushing for systemic change to the cocoa and chocolate value chain worldwide and in Japan over the past few years.
Among various efforts, the cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers have consistently championed for companies to be purpose-driven and put sustainability at the heart of their business strategy.
They have also led the introduction of Cocoa Horizons, one of its key sustainability programs, as an effective avenue for customers to contribute directly to sustainability efforts in origin countries.
Focus on sustainability amid COVID-19 pandemic
With the long-term shift toward sustainable chocolate caused by its positive effects on economic, social and environmental change, several chocolate manufacturers in Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to producing sustainable chocolate even during the pandemic.
In March, Yuraku Confectionery pioneered this move by announcing its transition to 100 percent sustainable chocolate in the Black Thunder chocolate bars by 2025. In the coming weeks, Japanese confectionery maker Morinaga will also introduce its sustainable chocolate products that will be widely available in grocery shops and retailers across Japan. These partnerships with Barry Callebaut show it is possible to make a difference on a large scale, the company notes.
With escalating global awareness around environmental issues, as witnessed at the Davos Conference and the Australian wildfires, we were considering how we, as a manufacturer of chocolate, should tackle these issues through our business,” says Machiko Miyai, Director and Managing Executive Officer of Morinaga.
“At such a time, Barry Callebaut introduced the Cocoa Horizons program as a way for us to make chocolate that is good for the people who eat it, good for the people who make it, and good for the planet. So we decided to start using Cocoa Horizons cacao as the environmentally friendly source,” he adds.
Going back to the source
COVID-19-related disruptions, such as the impact on cocoa farmers’ livelihoods in Africa and Indonesia, have also brought focused attention on the preference of businesses to understand the source of their products.
Barry Callebaut’s artisan customers, such as Le Chocolat De H, have long paved the way for sustainable chocolate through its Gourmet product offerings. Under the finest Belgian chocolate brand Callebaut, cocoa can now be traced back to the Cocoa Horizons farming communities in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ecuador.
Hironobu Tsujiguchi, Chocolatier from Le Chocolat De H, adds: “We tell consumers that a good tasting product begins with the growth and fermentation of raw materials at origin countries. Therefore, it is important to know where these ingredients come from and find added value for the farm and the store.”
Consumers too, particularly Generation Z’s, are increasingly integrating their social and environmental concerns into their buying decisions. These consumers are mindful of their purchases and want to make social and ethical contributions through their everyday life.
Pascale Meulemeester, Managing Director for Barry Callebaut in Japan, also comments: “Our mission is to change Japan’s entire chocolate industry. We cannot do this alone, and we are not alone. Japanese consumers care deeply about our planet and its people and today, as we stand together to represent the chocolate industry in Japan, we are serious about sustainability.”
By: Elizabeth Green
Source: Food Ingredients First
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