Confectionery corporation Fazer is in the process of researching the potential of cell-cultured cocoa, as it looks for new solutions as climate change threatens traditional cocoa growing areas.
Citing sustainable management of cocoa sourcing, profitable farming and improving cocoa community wellbeing as its main priorities, the threat of climate change means the need to explore alternative sources for cocoa. Researching the potential of cellular agriculture for future sustainable cocoa production, the company acknowledged cell-cultured cocoa being “far in the future” but a time to explore possibilities.
All of the company’s cocoa comes from sustainably managed sources in Ecuador and West Africa, however areas near the Equator face the threat of climate change and may, in the future, find it increasingly challenging to grow cocoa.
“We are inspired to innovate new means for continuing to fulfil consumers’ expectations and wishes. Although we are exploring new means for raw material production, the taste experience of chocolate will remain unchanged,” explained Heli Anttila, VP of New Product Development at Fazer Confectionery.
“Fazer has already, in partnership with VTT, received the first successful results of cell-cultured cocoa. Now are are continuing the research as part of the larger CERAFIM-consortium, which joins several Finnish companies and research institutions around the theme of cellular agriculture to fearlessly explore future solutions,” she added.
“It will take years before cell-cultured cocoa is launched on the market. This is a long-term project, aiming at the future,” said Annika Porr, Senior Manager at Fazer Confectionery’s Forward Lab. “Cell-cultured cocoa is still far from our places, but it offers us a novel approach to managing the challenges of sustainable cocoa sourcing in a fair and transparent value chain.”
Fazer currently runs several programmes for its cocoa farmers in Africa, to ensure they are trained and supported in the sector. Their programme for farmers in Nigeria, for example, noted the attendance of 72 growers, who received diplomas for their attendance and given additional materials. The field training sessions reached 2860 growers, of whom 232 were women.
The project on cell-cultured cocoa currently receives funding from Business Finland.
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