International chocolate manufacturers present social and economic sustainability – Food Tank

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The annual Eurochocolate festival in central Italy will bring together chocolate producers from around the world to showcase global chocolate traditions and fair trade products.

Since the first festival in 1994, Eurochocolate has made a point of highlighting both Italian and international chocolate traditions. The event attracts thousands of visitors every year to the city of Perugia, now known as the City of Chocolate.

This year, from October 14th to 23rd, Eurochocolate invites selected producers from 11 cocoa producing countries around the world. The festival will feature participants from Colombia, India, Peru, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Togo, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Uganda and Madagascar. Eurochocolate has named Mexico Guest of Honor in recognition of indigenous chocolate traditions.

“We are very happy with this participation,” said Eugenio Guarducci, President of Eurochocolate, says“which confirms the international authority gained through our event and lays the basis for a possible development of concrete cooperation between the two countries in the cocoa and chocolate supply chains.”

The Mexican Minister of Tourism from Tabasco, José Antonio Nieves Rodríguez, says The exhibition offers “an opportunity to become an excellent vehicle for Italians to learn more about the history and culture of cocoa and chocolate”.

Producers will share their values ​​of quality and sustainability through fair trade chocolate products, emphasizing tradition alongside contemporary values ​​of social and economic sustainability. Visitors can find the makers in the Chocolate Experience Pavilion, where they offer tastings, learning experiences, and products for sale.

ChocoTogo is one of the producers presented at Eurochocolate. Founded in 2014 as the first cocoa processing company in Togo, the cooperative is working to reconnect farmers with the rest of the value chain. “Even the cocoa farmers had never eaten chocolate,” Eric Agbokou, founder of ChocoTogo, told Food Tank. “We wanted to make chocolate available in our own country.”

For ChocoTogo, bridging the cocoa supply chain means creating jobs to support the local economy. “We want to give the farmers their dignity back,” says Agbokou. ChocoTogo works on this by having direct contracts with the national cocoa farmers’ union, which increases traceability. Many of these relationships are with family farms of one to two hectares in size.

Through her work, ChocoTogo hopes to help women in particular. “We hire our mothers and older women because they don’t have a chance to apply for jobs. No one will accept them,” Agbokou told Food Tank. “We want to create paradise for them.” He adds that they’re also doing what they can to reinvest in the community and direct the proceeds toward local development projects, including rolling out solar power and building schools.

ChocoTogo, along with the other international manufacturers at Eurochocolate 2022, brings global perspectives on local traditions in chocolate making. “We want to show where chocolate comes from,” Agbokou told Food Tank.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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