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  • October 08, 2019 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mey Choy joined the FCIA team on August 1, 2019, as our Private Sector Liaison for the USDA-funded MOCCA program in Latin America. MOCCA is a five-year agricultural development program, focusing on improving fine cacao and specialty coffee supply chains. Mey is specifically helping FCIA companies examine lots of cocoa with fine flavor characteristics and establishing business linkages with local contacts in Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala. She also is a resource for a variety of technical information on cocoa for prospective buyers and sellers.

    Another aspect of Mey’s position will be to support Mobile Cocoa (Cacao Móvil) app, which is a web-based platform providing precise information on sensory profiles, origins, benefit process, and volumes offered by each origin to cocoa buyers and sellers.

    Mey belongs to the National Network of Tasters of Peru, where she has been a taster in the XII Editions of the National Cocoa Contest. She has also participated in the Cooperative Development Program, CDP, with Equal Exchange, TCHO and partners of Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic.

    Mey has worked with cocoa since 2001, in the areas of Quality Control, Cocoa Processing, Chocolate and Post Harvest Benefit of Cocoa; in private companies, NGOs, cooperatives and as a consultant.

    Through her previous consultancies, Mey has worked in most cocoa areas of Peru as well as Central America. These consultancies included a variety of topics including related to cocoa including post-harvest handling, quality control, sensory analysis and processing.

    She is currently certified before SINEACE (National System for Evaluation, Accreditation and Certification of Educational Quality of the Ministry of Education of Peru) as an Evaluator for Pasta Tasters or Cocoa Liqueur.

    FICA members who are interested to meet with Mey or learn more about her role in FCIA can contact m.paz@finechocolateindustry.org or b.guyton@finechocolateindustry.org.

  • October 08, 2019 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Gary Guittard

    1. What were some of the original reasons that you and other industry leaders founded FCIA in 2007?

    Seeing the changes in the industry of using less flavor cocoa over the last 50 years and the emergence of their use in the bean to bar movement led us to want to shine the spot light on some of these classic genetic types. Many famous brands rose to prominence using some of these cocoas but because competitive price pressure started the process of incremental degradation and their original personality was lost.

    2. Looking back over the past 12 years, how has the fine chocolate industry evolved? Were there any surprises? How have consumers tastes and preferences changed?

    I think the evolution of the fine chocolate industry, which today is centered on the bean to bar movement, has grown tremendously over that last 12 years, maybe to the point of saturation. It was surprising that the growth was so rapid. I’m not sure that consumer preferences have changed, I think they, like Guittard, are always looking for something new. I do think their knowledge of chocolate flavor and its diversity has grown. I think in reaction to that there are many flavored bars with inclusions on the market today. I’m surprised it hasn’t evolved more into fine candy like bon bons, box chocolate or candy bars.

    3. As you look towards the next 12 years, what are your hopes for the future of fine chocolate in the United States and abroad?

    Over the next 12 years we need to sort through the overabundance of bean to bar products and companies. I’d like to see more use of flavor cocoa in the industry as a whole where flavor is the goal over price. This is good for farmers and good for consumers. I would also like to see more healthful finished confections using fine flavor cocoa.

    4. How do you see FCIA evolving over the next decade to meet the needs of the industry?

    I think the FCIA will evolve towards more finished healthy specialty creative confections based on unique textures and flavors.

    5. You were also instrumental in founding HCP with other industry leaders and USDA. What role would you like to see HCP fulfill? Do you see a relationship between FCIA and HCP?

    I think HCP is important especially in partnership with the USDA in linking flavor characteristics with genetics. There really hasn’t been much work in this area and it is a unique partnership. I think the FCIA is a helpful platform that cultivates the relationships between farmers and chocolate producers. It’s what makes HCP work.

  • October 08, 2019 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Bill Guyton, FCIA Executive Director

    Are you seeking ways to better promote your products to retailers, consumers, and specialty food buyers? Would you like to learn and share experiences with other leaders in fine chocolate industry? Would you like to sell product during a conference in order to cover travel costs? Are you looking for guidance on growing or expanding your business?

    FCIA has two upcoming events in 2020 to help you accomplish these goals. First, we are excited to announce a new partnership with the Specialty Food Association (SFA) for their upcoming Fancy Food Show in San Francisco on January 19-21, 2020. We will host our first ever FCIA Fine Chocolate Pavilion at SFA Fancy Food Show, offering up to 20 kiosks at the amazing price of $1,200. In addition, FCIA will have a stage area for guest speakers, tastings, and pairing demonstrations over the three days to further promote our members, their products, and fine chocolate in general. FCIA members will also receive deep discounts on registration to the Fancy Food Show to attend the Pavilion and Education forums if they are unable to get or didn't want a kiosk. This is a great way to showcase your products to retailers. For more details, please contact Bill Guyton or Nicole Price.

    Second, we have partnered with the Craft Chocolate Experience in San Francisco, March 2020. FCIA will hold our Elevate Chocolate Event on March 5-6, 2020 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, directly before the Craft Chocolate Experience consumer festival. Elevate Chocolate will have nine educational workshops and general sessions on key topics important to your business. We are also replacing and expanding the Gallery Showcase with our first ever FCIA Trade Fair. This will be a perfect exhibit space for chocolate makers, chocolatiers, bean traders, farmer groups, equipment suppliers, and our affiliated partners to promote their products and organizations. Our goal is to double the number of exhibitors from last year. Please contact Bill Guyton or Nicole Price for details.

    In addition to these two events, FCIA is also preparing for June 2020 in New York. Details will follow.

    We are as always very thankful to our affiliate partners who provide discounts to FCIA members attending their events. I have personally had the pleasure to attend the Dallas Chocolate Show last month, and look forward to participating in the NE Chocolate and NW Chocolate Shows in October and November, respectively.

  • October 01, 2019 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this article, BBC Travel shares the story of how FCIA member Dan Pearson and his stepson Brian Horsley stumbled upon the Pure Nacional Cacao Tree in a remote valley of Peru. The tree was thought extinct until found in Marañón Canyon.

  • September 11, 2019 7:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Created by Hazel Lee, Chocolate Judge & Consultant, Taste With Colour: The Chocolate Tasting Flavour Map is a simple and approachable tool to help people discover and describe flavours with colour. Taste With Colour is designed for everybody to use; from consumers and industry professionals. No training or certification is required!

    Since its launch in 2017, Taste With Colour has been sold to over 30 countries and translated into 5 languages. Additionally, Hazel has held tasting and painting workshops across the globe. Taste With Colour has a brand new website where one can discover more about this unique tasting tool and purchase all five languages.

  • September 05, 2019 11:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sacha Gold's farm manager, Marisol Choez, is featured in this article from Republica del Cacao.

  • July 26, 2019 10:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bioversity International has published a review of research and potential mitigation solutions addressing the issue of cadmium in cacao from Latin America and the Caribbean. 

    The publication is available in English and Spanish – details and links below.

    ENGLISH - Citation:  Meter, A.; Atkinson, R.J.; Laliberte, B. (2019) Cadmium in cacao from Latin America and the Caribbean: A review of research and potential mitigation solutions. Rome (Italy): Bioversity International 73 p. ISBN: 978-92-9255-135-3

    Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/102353

    CGIAR Affiliations:  Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

    Abstract:  Cadmium is a heavy metal which accumulates in the body and affects our health. In order to control the amount we consume, the EU has set maximum permissible levels for different foods. A regulation specifying maximum levels of cadmium in cocoa and chocolate products came into force in January 2019 and similar regulations are being developed by other countries. In comparison to other cacao growing regions such as Africa and Asia-Pacific, some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are particularly impacted by worrying levels of cadmium in cacao beans that are a concern for the manufacturers of high-cacao content products. In this context, there is a pressing need to identify solutions that reduce cadmium levels in cacao beans and provide mitigation solutions at key processing stages in the value chain. This review presents the status of research on sources of cadmium contamination in soils, soil properties that affect cadmium bioavailability, physiological mechanisms and varietal differences in cadmium uptake by the cacao tree and the consequence of post-harvest processes. It presents potential mitigation solutions applicable to cacao that have been investigated through trials or considered by the research community. The review also includes information on ongoing research projects to gain a better understanding of the direction of research and potential gaps to be filled. This work was coordinated by Bioversity International and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) through the Latin American Cacao Initiative (ILAC). We thank all the institutions and individuals that provided information concerning research on cadmium and cacao and contributed to the review. We hope that this document is useful to understand the status of knowledge on this complex issue and guide future investments and collaboration to urgently provide solutions for stakeholders and particularly smallholder producers in LAC that are the most impacted.

    ESPANOL- Citation: Meter, A.; Atkinson, R.J.; Laliberte, B. (2019) Cadmio en el cacao de América Latina y el Caribe: Análisis de la investigación y soluciones potenciales para la mitigación. Roma (Italia): Bioversity International 77 p.  ISBN: 978-92-9255-136-0

    Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/102354

    Abstract: El cadmio es un metal pesado que se acumula en el cuerpo y afecta nuestra salud. Para controlar la cantidad que consumimos, la UE ha establecido los niveles máximos permitidos para diferentes alimentos. Un reglamento que especifica los niveles máximos de cadmio en los productos de cacao y chocolate entró en vigor en enero de 2019 y otros países están elaborando reglamentos similares. En comparación con otras regiones productoras de cacao como África y Asia-Pacífico, algunos países de América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) se ven particularmente afectados por los preocupantes niveles de cadmio en los granos de cacao que son una preocupación para los fabricantes de productos con alto contenido de cacao. En este contexto, existe una necesidad apremiante de identificar soluciones que reduzcan los niveles de cadmio en los granos de cacao y brinden soluciones de mitigación en etapas clave de procesamiento en la cadena de valor. Esta análisis presenta el estado de la investigación sobre las fuentes de contaminación de cadmio en los suelos, las propiedades del suelo que afectan la biodisponibilidad del cadmio, los mecanismos fisiológicos y las diferencias de variedades en la absorción de cadmio por parte del árbol de cacao y las consecuencias de los procesos posteriores a la cosecha. La análisis presenta posibles soluciones de mitigación aplicables al cacao que han sido investigadas a través de ensayos o consideradas por la comunidad de investigación. La análisis también incluye información sobre proyectos de investigación en curso para obtener una mejor comprensión de la dirección de la investigación y las posibles lagunas que deben cubrirse. Este trabajo fue coordinado por Bioversity International y el Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF) a través de la Iniciativa Latinoamericana de Cacao (ILAC). Agradecemos a todas las instituciones y personas que proporcionaron información sobre la investigación sobre cadmio y cacao y contribuyeron a la análisis. Esperamos que este documento sea útil para comprender el estado del conocimiento sobre este tema complejo y guiar las inversiones futuras y la colaboración para brindar soluciones urgentes a las partes interesadas y en particular a los pequeños productores en ALC que son los más afectados.

  • July 25, 2019 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Bill Guyton, Executive Director of FCIA

    Since its inception in 2007, FCIA has grown to over 350 members. This year alone, 34 new companies and individuals have joined our association to support the fine chocolate movement in the United Sates and abroad. Our growing membership base enables us to leverage and negotiate various group rates for shipping, conferences, retail outlets and international tours.

    Shipping Discounts: FCIA members who attended the Elevate Chocolate Event in New York on June 22, 2019 may have noticed promotional materials from PerhiShip which, through negotiations, is offering significant discounts to FCIA members. PeriShip reports that since the end of June, several companies have already taken advantage of this benefit. Within the short time period, these discounts more than offset FCIA membership dues for associate and small businesses.

    Festival and Trade Show Discounts: FCIA has developed "Affiliate Organization Partnerships" with trade associations, research institutes and trade festival organizers. Through these agreements, affiliate partners offer discounts to FCIA members who attend or exhibit at their events. We reciprocate by offering space at our Elevate Chocolate Gallery Showcase.

    One of our most recent Affiliate Partnerships is with the Salon du Chocolate in New York on November 15-17, 2019. Earlier this year, the show organizers offered FCIA members a 20% discount on exhibit space and no corner charge. By mentioning "FCIA newsletter," FCIA members can still receive a 15% discount over the next few days. We are seeking similar arrangements with other conference organizers.

    Retail Store and Cocoa Tour Discounts: A third category of benefits involves retail store and cocoa tour discounts. FCIA member company KahKow is offering members a 10% discount at their store in Brooklyn though the end of this year. FCIA companies and partners operating in Latin America are also providing discounts to members for tours of cocoa producing regions in different countries.

    Seeking Your Suggestions: FCIA's membership committee is exploring other opportunities to provide value and benefits to our members. If you have suggestions of other ways FCIA can leverage our network of companies, please let us know.

    For additional information on discounts, contact Bill Guyton or Jennifer Wicks.

  • July 25, 2019 3:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nate Saal and Karen Alter in the CocoTerra booth at a trade show

    CocoTerra has built the world’s first tabletop chocolate maker, a single system that can go from roasted cacao nibs to solid chocolate in about two hours. Based in Palo Alto, the company just recently started providing details of how its machine works, but has been an FCIA member for several years. Information about Cocoterra is available on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Q: Tell us how you started your company and your motivation for working in fine chocolate.

    A: Nate Saal and Karen Alter have known each other for years, both personally and professionally. They came to working in the chocolate world from different paths.

    Nate founded CocoTerra after a eureka moment sparked by a conversation with his brother-in-law Mark while at a chocolate tasting. As recounted here, at this event Nate, Mark, and the host wondered why people know much more about fine coffee than about fine chocolate, and one speculation was that consumers could easily make and experiment with coffee at home, whereas they couldn’t readily do so with chocolate. So Nate, a long-time food “maker” and trained biochemist, decided to figure out a way to solve this problem.

    In the meantime, after years at Intel and a number of startups, Karen was partnering with founders of early-stage companies, figuring out their overall business and go-to-market strategies. She began consulting to CocoTerra part-time, but rapidly joined full-time as the scope and excitement of the opportunity became evident.

    While neither Nate nor Karen set out to work in fine chocolate per se, they both have enjoyed meeting so many dedicated people and craftsmen along the way. In addition, they both see how more education and technology in the hands of consumers, commercial makers, artisans and farmers can be a powerful tool in improving quality and value throughout the chocolate supply chain.

    Q: What have been the high points in your professional journey over the years?

    A: For both Nate and Karen, high points have involved bringing new technology solutions to market over the years. For Karen, this involved microprocessors, electric vehicle services, and online educational content, among other areas. For Nate, his journey included simplifying software updates over the internet, home audio and touch-screen technology. These might seem very different, but the common thread is finding a way to create something that solves a real customer problem, or brings new capabilities to consumers and other market segments.

    Q: Why do you believe it is important to work collaboratively with others in industry associations such as FCIA?

    A: Anyone who has spent time in the computer industry knows how important industry associations (and standards) are to moving things forward. Thus, it’s really natural for the CocoTerra team to engage with the FCIA and its members as part of building our business. Obviously, we can learn a lot from all FCIA members and organizations! But also, the FCIA provides a forum for us to meet experts in the field of chocolate, who can validate (and provide feedback about) what we are doing (include the quality of our chocolate), partner with us in making it easy for consumers to buy ingredients and accessories, and work with us to raise the awareness of and delight from fine- flavored cacao and fine chocolate overall. We also recognize that we are newcomers in this field, and have deep respect for the individuals and companies that have spent decades working with chocolate. We are truly grateful for the time and energy many FCIA members have provided us as we launch the CocoTerra company.

    Q: What advice would you give to a company starting out in the industry?

    A: Listen and learn! The fine chocolate industry includes many people who switched careers or industries mid-stream: it’s a very welcoming place for someone just starting out. The people we’ve met have been helpful, open and incredibly knowledgeable. But the industry also has a long, fascinating history, with many established players, and taking the time to meet, learn from and respect them seems so important as you move from newcomer to fellow-traveler.

    Previous post about CocoTerra: https://www.finechocolateindustry.org/FCIA-Member-Happenings/7331694

  • July 25, 2019 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greg D'Alesandro seated in a room of drying cacao

    Q: You were elected by your peers to the FCIA Board late last year. What excites you about the direction of fine chocolate and the role FCIA can play in growing the sector?

    A: This is a really exciting time in chocolate! Chocolate making at a small scale is popping up all over the world. Every country I've been to has at least a handful of new chocolate makers doing something interesting with local flavors, customs, or beans. The specialty cocoa industry is just getting started, and you can taste amazing beans from places such as Sierra Leone, St. Vincent, Tanzania, and Taiwan. Chocolate based confections are becoming more popular in a variety of places that classically had lower interest in chocolate, such as India. Now is a great time to help figure out how we can all work together to make a better and more sustainable industry for everyone. What we do now could resonate throughout the growth of the industry for decades.

    Q: What accomplishments you would like to see the organization reach within your board tenure?

    A: I'd love to see the FCIA start to work on a more international level. We are already engaging with industry members from all over the world, but let's formalize that. As this industry grows it will be looking for information as to how we can work together and form an industry group that helps each of us in our businesses.

    Q: What advice would you give to companies considering FCIA membership?

    A: The FCIA is the most comprehensive set of industry members working together. I'm constantly excited by the people I meet and get to know through FCIA. You could have the same experience!

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Executive Director: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

Event Manager: Nicole Price / 1.312.953.4541 / Email Nicole

For membership inquiries: Jennifer Wicks / 1.406.370.8606 / Email Jennifer


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