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Belcolade Cacao-Trace. A sustainable future for chocolate

Belcolade Cacao-Trace. A sustainable future for chocolate


As a nation, we’re all striving to ‘do our bit’ to make the world a better place. We’re taking personal action to live sustainably and making ethical choices by opting to buy products which make a positive difference.

Demand for products which meet these criteria is on the rise, and, as a consequence, food companies are developing and expanding their ranges. Some are choosing to commit to standards set by bodies such as the Fairtrade Foundation, whilst others are creating their own programmes, such as Belgian chocolate brand Belcolade. It has pioneered Cacao-Trace, a sustainable cocoa sourcing programme that is redefining the standard for chocolate.

Cacao-Trace was launched in 2013 after the company decided to develop its own approach for better control of the cocoa chain. 

The programme – which is validated by independent, third-party certification – focuses on taste improvement rather than productivity, and adds to the typical industry standards of training cocoa farmers and fair pricing.

‘Ferm’ foundations

Proper fermentation is the key to great tasting chocolate. Belcolade’s team of experts work closely with cocoa farmers to help them to produce cocoa beans of superior quality.

Traditionally in chocolate, different quality cocoa beans are bulk-blended to get a standardised quality and taste, but Cacao-Trace takes a different approach. Instead, cocoa beans are selected for their character and their quality is carefully checked.

Expert help

The beans are fermented in post-harvest centres close to the farmers in Ivory Coast, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam. This way, the natural taste potential of the beans can fully develop and can eventually be expressed in the final chocolate. By adapting the fermentation criteria, it even allows them to adapt the flavour from the same beans to personal preferences. 

Delivering wet beans to the post-harvest centres (instead of fermenting and drying themselves) also gives cocoa farmers more time to spend on other activities on their plantation.

Win, win

The end result is great tasting chocolate which earns the cocoa farmers more money.

They also receive an additional Chocolate Bonus (of 10 cents) for every kilo of chocolate sold, which can add up to one or two months of additional salary.

Chocolatiers benefit by having access to chocolate of the highest quality - so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Reaping the rewards in cacao communities

The Cacao-Trace programme runs projects to improve local communities in cacao-growing regions. 

A recent example was the building of a new school for the children of Adjamene in Ivory Coast. 

The range

Discover more about our Belcolade Selection Cacao-Trace certified chocolate range today. 

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