Today marks the launch of Twenty Degrees, a new specialty cacao business sourcing premium quality cacao beans from around the world. The new venture is backed by Olam Cocoa, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients.
The premium chocolate market has seen significant growth in recent years as consumers become more interested in the provenance of their food and increasingly seek out high quality, artisanal products with a unique flavour and story. Twenty Degrees – named for the cacao belt which ranges twenty degrees north and south of the equator – is responding by sourcing premium quality cacao beans from ten unique regions, each hand-picked for their distinctive flavour and sensory profile.
The business will unlock opportunities for farmers by bringing single origin cacao beans to market that are either too specialist or too remote to be sold to mainstream manufacturers. From cacao grown in the highland Simbu region of Papua New Guinea, to beans farmed by the indigenous Eperara community in Ecuador’s coastal rainforest, a community only accessible by boat. A team of agronomists will work with each community to make sure the quality and flavour of its cacao meets the highest standards.
The Twenty Degrees business model is built on positive partnerships with farmers and customers. It is helping farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices and investing in the growth and security of the communities it works with. This also allows it to provide customers with new levels of transparency and traceability right back to the farm gate, so chocolate makers can know everything about the cacao beans they buy, from the farmers who grew them to the carbon footprint of the crop.
Leopold Palmer, Business Head, Twenty Degrees, said:“ We’re on a mission to change the way we think about premium cacao. We’re exploring new territories and discovering fresh terroirs in established growing regions, uncovering unique cacao beans farmed to the highest quality with the greatest possible positive impact. And we’re doing this in a way that is transparent, traceable and delivers quality, consistency and taste to meet the needs of craft chocolate makers.”
Twenty Degrees will be led by an entrepreneurial new team but draw on the expertise and operational strength of Olam Cocoa, one of the industry-leading businesses under Olam Food Ingredients (OFI). Twenty Degrees benefits from Olam Cocoa’s long-standing experience in cocoa sustainability and from the insight and expertise of its dedicated flavour lab in the Netherlands, which will test the specialty cacao beans and help to bring out their unique flavour, smell and texture.
Commenting on the launch, Gerard A. Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa concluded: “With Twenty Degrees, we are combining our knowledge of cocoa farming and our capability to source from distant and often remote communities with a greater focus on flavour differentiation. It will leverage our existing presence to drive sustainable farming practices and support livelihoods as part of Cocoa Compass, our sustainability ambition for the future of the industry. We are building on our wider Olam Food Ingredients offering to provide natural, value-added ingredients that positively impact people and the planet. With the benefit of our knowledge and scale, Twenty Degrees will create something truly unique in the specialty market.”
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Editor, International Confectionery
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