ADM Cocoa starts supply of organic chocolate ingredients in UK
the UK so as to be able to supply a new range of certified organic
chocolate to its food industry customers.
The company, which is part of the agri-giant Archer Daniels Midland, is launching a new range of organic chocolate ingredients in liquid form and in solid forms, (such as chips, buttons and fragments) to meet the customer's specific needs. The ingredients are also available in dark, milk and white variants. ADM Cocoa has said this new range was developed in response to growing demand from consumers for a wider range of organic products. According to consumer research by Mintel, seven in ten Britons bought organic produce in 2007, and sales of organic food are now worth £1.5 bn - up by some 70 per cent since 2002. But meeting demand required some considerable changes for ADM Cocoa at its cocoa processing plant in Hull, where the organically-grown beans undergo their initial processing, and at its chocolate manufacturing facility in Liverpool, to where the resulting cocoa is then transferred. While this did not involve actual changes to the processing line or equipment, Simon Haywood, sales director, chocolate at ADM Cocoa said some procedural changes were needed. "We had to introduce a new cleaning and segregation procedure," he told FoodNavigator.com. "When switching to organic processing, we have to flush the system with approximately four metric tonnes of organic beans to eradicate any trace of non-organic material." Any products made from the beans involved in the flushing must then be labelled as non-organic. "We also had to introduce a complete mass balance system for full traceability of organic products." The company said that the long-process of facility upgrade, plus the certification process, makes it "one of the few organic chocolate producers in the UK". The company worked on gaining accreditation for around six months from initial conception, with two staff members dedicated to the projects. Haywood said the most time consuming aspect of the process was drawing up a new organic quality procedures manual. "We had to design new procedures for cleaning, flushing, storage (both raw materials and finished product), process flow, packaging, labelling and delivery, import and export etc." Procedures and records at the two sites will subject to annual audits from the Soil Association, the UK organic certification body. The growth curve of the organic market shows clear opportunities for food manufacturers that are able to secure certified organic ingredients from their suppliers, thus enabling products for which consumers have shown willing to pay a premium. As for the organic chocolate market, Haywood said: "We estimate current organic chocolate market share to be around 1.4 per cent of total UK chocolate market. We think this could grow to around 2.4 per cent over next 5 years." Chocolate is the biggest segment of the confectionery industry within the EU, taking up a 49.7 per cent of the overall market in terms of volume sales, according to a report published by Global Business insights at the end of last year. By 2010, the European chocolate market is expected to account for €35.4bn of the wider €61.2bn confectionery market value in the region, making the area potentially one of the most segments for new product development.