ITC and artisan chocolate at Salon du Chocolat

29 November 2023
ITC News

ITC's Alliances for Action partners exhibited at Salon du Chocolat 2023 in Paris to build commercial spaces for its chocolate network from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. ITC's Alliances for Action partners exhibited at Salon du Chocolat 2023 in Paris to build commercial spaces for its chocolate network from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. 

Paris is always a good idea: Chocolate artisans from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific exhibit at Salon du Chocolat

According to chocolate blogger Sharon Terenzi, Salon du Chocolat in Paris celebrated flavour diversity in craft bean-to-bar chocolate. ‘Slowly but surely, everybody is introducing more fun ingredients, sweet and savory contrasts, elements from national cuisines, complex textures and layers of flavors,’ she said.

Terenzi said playful chocolate combinations fly off the shelves, pointing to Definite Chocolate’s Edicion Carnaval collection’s great dessert flavour range. Definite Chocolate, a fast-rising Dominican chocolate brand, is one of the Caribbean companies that traveled to the show with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to consolidate and expand its European buyer network.

Monica Nana Ama Senanu from Chocoluv in Ghana poses with colourfully packaged chocolate bars
Monica Nana Ama Senanu from Chocoluv in Ghana
Photo by ITC

Forson Temeng-Asomaning from Chocolate Mall, a Ghanaian chocolate maker from ITC’s Netherlands Trust Fund V programme, said there was a rush for their Ginger Chocolate Bars. ‘They finished on the first day the fair opened,’ he said. ‘People seem to be interested in original flavours this year.’

Monica Senanu of Chocoluv in Ghana discovered surprising flavour combinations at the Salon. She sampled a spicy range of curry tomatoes in dark chocolate, puffed noodles in dark chocolate, and a vegan fruity range of mango dark chocolate. ‘These excited my taste buds and creativity juices,’ she said.

By teaming up with Alliances for Action, the ITC sustainable agribusiness programme, brands from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific brought their products to a global stage at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris – the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa.

Salon du Chocolat Paris attracts over 100,000 visitors, with French and international chocolatiers, artisans, manufacturers and cacao origin countries exhibiting. Brands met directly with consumers and received valuable feedback on their products. They also got to see, try, and experience new industry trends.

ITC’s Alliances for Action booth: An explosion of countries and flavours

A total of 20 chocolate brands attended from across Alliances for Action’s network. They came all the way from Ghana, Grenada, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cameroon, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Madagascar to showcase their unique chocolates.

All their chocolates are produced with care and innovation at origin, showcasing elements of cultural heritage. The stand also showcased other culinary products, like Belize Chocolate Company’s Spicy Cocoa Rub, a meat and fish seasoning, which quicky sold out.

The B2B Village allowed them to connect with other businesses, sharing contacts and information on packaging and machinery to compete better in the EU market. Meetings with potential distributors and buyers were also useful to build long-term collaborations and facilitate access to new markets.

The ITC booth gathered actors from bean to bar from across the world, including ITC’s Alliances for Action chocolate makers and institutional partner Prodominicana. This collaboration is part of ITC’s efforts to share best practices on market linkages and trade show participation with key national trade promotion institutions at origin to ensure sustainability beyond the project. It also ties into ITC-Alliances for Action’s goal of promoting chocolate from the Caribbean as a brand in itself.

Taking inspiration from the crème de la crème

The brand representatives kicked off their stay in Paris with a tour of the city’s finest chocolatiers.

Six Caribbean companies visited La Maison du Chocolat, where chef Nicolas Cloiseau showed them the producing facilities and held a tasting session.

A second group visited chocolatier Patrick Roger, bean-to-bar maker Mark Chinchole from Instant Cacao, and Jade Genin, who recently opened a chocolatier shop in Paris’s Opera area.

The brands and institutional partners all received support to prepare for the event. ITC set up virtual and in-person sessions led by industry professionals who offered advice on fair preparation, marketing and branding and insights on the EU cocoa and chocolate markets.

About the projects

The ACP Business-Friendly programme is funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and jointly implemented by ITC’s Alliances for Action, the World Bank and UNIDO. It seeks to improve the ability of agribusiness firms in ACP countries to compete, grow and prosper in domestic, regional and international markets. Through the Alliances for Action approach, it promotes inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains that value all stakeholders from farm to shelf.

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies through its EcomConnect programme and agribusiness sectors through its Alliances for Action programme. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalisation of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.

The UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) programme works with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to increase exports from SME suppliers to the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). The UKTP programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre.