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Chocolate lovers go straight to the source

By Catherine Boal , 15-Sep-2006

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli is the latest company jumping on the trend for greater consumer transparency in cocoa sourcing.

Yesterday the company released the Excellence Origins Collection which boasts a line of products separately sourced from different growers.

As consumers become more aware of environmental issues and food quality concerns, there is an increasing demand from purchasers to know exactly where ingredients originate from.

Lindt is making the range from cocoa grown in Ecuador, Madagascar and Peru.

Most of the bars will be available from October with the Peru edition making it to market by early next year.

Cocoa content will be high with the Ecuador bar containing 75 per cent of the bean and the Madagascar 65 per cent.

Chief executive officer Thomas Linemayr said: "Consumer interest and the upward momentum of the premium chocolate category are driving the emergence of single-origin chocolate."

Many chocolate companies have now caught on to the potential of using sourcing as a marketing ploy - last week US chocolate giant Hershey launched a new Cacao Reserve line with bars containing cocoa from Arriba and San Tome.

In August, Lindt & Sprungli posted a 17.2 per cent rise in sales to €622.65m.

In a statement the company said: "There is continuing growth in the premium quality segment with an increasing preference for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content."

Sales at the company were bolstered by its range of seasonal gift products - such as the signature Gold Bunny sold at Easter - and popularity in the world's three biggest chocolate markets of Germany, the US and the UK.

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