Barry Callebaut expands Malaysian cocoa operations

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 18th March 2010

Chocolate giant Barry Callebaut has announced a plan to improve the quality of Malaysian cocoa and chocolate, in collaboration with the Malaysia Cocoa Board.

“Due to current growth limitations in cocoa supply from Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producing country – and our growing demand for cocoa, we have a strategic need to diversify our cocoa origins. Malaysia and neighboring countries currently produce about 15% of the annual global cocoa harvest and are logical
sourcing alternatives to West Africa for us,” said Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann.

With consumers used to the taste of west African cocoa, Barry Callebaut will attempt to improve the fermentation of the Malaysian bean to match quality, taste and colour.  The research will also attempt to improve the content of functional components in the cocoa, such as anti-oxidant flavanols.

By using Barry Callebaut’s controlled fermentation methods, Malaysian grinders will be able to improve the quality and value of their cocoa.  Selbourne Estate, one of the leading cocoa growers in Malaysia, will be a major test site for the fermentation processes and improved agricultural practices, and the new cocoa will be sold under the Selbourne and KLK Cocoa brands for the Asia-Pacific market.

Barry Callebaut hopes to increase production of the controlled-fermentation ‘Superior Grade’ beans to 5000 megatons within the next three years.