Please share with us your role in KANY Corp and the services your business provides within the cocoa value chain.
KANY Corporation is a family-owned cocoa supplying company. We have been working with large, mid-tier, and artisanal companies in the global chocolate and confectionery industry for over 30 years.
Our main origin of supply is Ghana for several reasons. Firstly, we are a wholly Ghanaian-owned company. But more importantly, Ghana has the best quality cocoa beans in the world. So we take pride in knowing that we supply our customers with the best quality ingredients for their end products. In addition to supplying conventional cocoa beans and products, we have partnered with the largest organic cooperative in Ghana to supply both organic beans and products. We see the organic space as a growing niche within the industry, as consumer preferences shift toward more health-conscious alternatives.
Lastly, we have incorporated a robust social impact program that includes being a sponsor of the West African Health Foundation, an organization founded by Ghanaian physician with a mission to eradicate infectious diseases in the region.
You have mentioned that fine chocolate companies often overlook West African cocoa, not realizing the good quality and consistency of Ghana cocoa. Can you elaborate on this?
Yes, we have noticed that many of the artisanal, or bean-to-bar, companies tend to gravitate toward the South American origins as their sourcing choice. While we agree that these regions have exceptional quality and differentiating flavor profiles, we are often surprised that folks tend to stray away from the West African origins, given that we have such a dominating presence in the industry. KANY has made it a focal point to instill that Ghana should not be seen just as a bulk or industrial producer of cocoa, but that the country can and should compete with its South American peers, given we boast extraordinary quality cocoa. Indeed, logistics may be more difficult than sourcing from other origins because a company must purchase through an intermediary vs. directly from farmers (which is a good thing in my opinion), but that should be a complete dealbreaker in terms of choosing Ghana as an origin.
What advice would you give to FCIA in terms of geographic focus of supply chain programs, membership recruitment, and services?
I would say not to limit the focus to Latin America as the primary source of premium cocoa, as it is difficult to overlook upwards of 70% of cocoa production in Africa. There are plenty of origins that boast unique and robust flavor profiles that would work well for FCIA members. Separately, FCIA should certainly make an effort to welcome minority-owned small business and new entrants working in the fine chocolate arena into its organization.