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  • January 23, 2021 9:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Northwest Chocolate Festival will take place October 30-31, 2021. For event details visit the website.

    https://www.nwchocolate.com/

  • January 19, 2021 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you looking to invest in your first melanger and want to know how easy it is to use and maintain? Do you have a CocoaTown melanger and want to know how to care and maintain your melanger to extend its lifetime?

    Join us this Saturday January 23 at 10 am - 12 Noon Atlanta time for another Empowering Chocopreneurship education series Equipment Basics webinar.


    Webinar Topic - Care & Maintenance of CocoaTown Melangers Presented by Ms. Andal Balu and Dr. Balu Balasubramanian, Co-Founders of CocoaTown.  


    What you will learn:

    • The difference between the four CocoaTown melangers                   
    • What are normal wear and tear parts
    • How to maintain, repair, replace parts

    There will also be time for a question & answer session.

    Please feel free to ask your specific questions about CocoaTown melangers in the comments section and we will be sure to cover them during the webinar or through our FAQ after the event.

    To register please visit https://cocoatown.com/blogs/blog/care-maintenance-of-cocoatown-melangers

    Also, please share this information with anyone you think will benefit from our Empowering Chocopreneurs webinars.

    #cocoatown #empoweringchocopreneurs #beantobar @cocoatown





  • January 11, 2021 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FCIA is pleased to welcome Ecuakao as one of our newest members. Ecuakao is a company dedicated to sourcing, processing, and distributing cocoa beans and cocoa products.


    Q: Could you please tell us about your business in terms of size, specialization, and services?

    Ecuakao is a cocoa bean and cocoa semi-finished processing company founded in March 2018 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We purchase cocoa from small and large farmers, as well as from our network of suppliers throughout the country. We process cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder at our factory in Guayaquil, then export our beans, liquor, butter, and powder to clients around the world. We’re currently exporting approximately 25,000 metric tons per year on a bean-equivalent basis. We’re also active in implementing sustainability programs on the ground, and around 60% of our exports in 2020 have been UTZ certified.

    Q: What were some of the main reasons you decided to join FCIA? What do you hope the membership can bring to Ecuakao?

    As an Ecuadorian company, we are interested in being part of important dialogue related to cocoa in Ecuador and learn from the esteemed members of the FCIA. We are also dedicated to the well-being of the Ecuador producers and look forward to working with fellow members to find the very best markets for their cocoa.

    Q. What do you see as the growth potential for the specialty cocoa market over the next five years? How is it different from commodity cocoa?

    Specialty cocoa in Ecuador has a rich history that many farmers are proud of, and they are a result of hard work preserving their traditional cocoa trees. However, producing specialty cocoa faces numerous challenges related to flavor issues due to mixing with commodity-grade cocoas, agrochemical contamination, and excessive heavy metal content. Most importantly, specialty cocoas are under threat due to the relatively low productivity found on traditional farms than farms with highly productive clonal varieties. Direct contact and direct working relationships with specialty cocoa producers are essential to the long-term sustainability of these varieties.

    Q. Could you tell us about some of your farmer training and support programs in Ecuador? Has COVID-19 impacted your abilities to implement these programs?

    Ecuakao carries out extensive farmer training programs in collaboration with our customers. UTZ remains the certification that most of our customers support, so our farmer training work is based on that standard. We are now preparing to shift from the UTZ program to the Rainforest Alliance program as the merger is now complete, and the transition will be implemented this upcoming year. Regarding the impact that COVID-19 had on our programs, it was certainly challenging in terms of group farmer training, mobility throughout the country, gathering of support documentation, and scheduling/execution of training and audits. We were fortunate in that the most severe lock-downs in Ecuador occurred in the main cities of Guayaquil and Quito. We managed to maintain our programs throughout the year.

    Q. There are concerns from some of our members that high yielding cultivars such as CCN51 are displacing Arriba flavor cocoa. How has Ecuakao positioned your business to supply cocoa with specific flavor attributes to interested buyers?

    Ecuakao sources cocoa from small farmers, large farmers, and from our network of suppliers throughout all cocoa growing regions in Ecuador. It is certainly true that the ability to source Arriba flavor cocoa is increasingly challenging as CCN51 grows and spreads throughout the country. However, Ecuakao does feel that with a careful selection of beans and thorough sensory control, flavor cocoas can be sourced consistently, both now and for many years to come. Ecuakao sells cocoa beans and cocoa liquors to customers, both large and small, throughout the world. Each of these customers has a specific flavor profile that must be matched every time we ship. To support this process, Ecuakao has a highly trained sensory staff and rigorous sensory control procedures. Our sensory staff maintains control samples in our sensory lab, and we offer pre-shipment sample approval conditions to our customers.

    Q. What trends do you see in fine chocolate in the next couple of years?

    As cocoa and chocolate lovers, we have a deep passion for fine chocolates related to the incredible flavors and the stories behind the chocolate. We believe that providing chocolate consumers with a connection to producers at origin will be a significant trend of the future. We hope that our membership in the FCIA will help to facilitate some of these connections.

  • January 11, 2021 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The FCIA support team is looking forward to working with our new and returning members in 2021. Since we don’t have a physical office, the team meets virtually every week via Zoom to plan our work schedules. This has always been the case, even before the COVID pandemic. I thought it might be helpful to give a brief introduction of our team members for your reference. All are part-time consultants to FCIA.

    Bill Guyton, Executive Director (Arlington, Virginia)

    I have been in this role for nearly three years. I recently wrote a background blog post on my professional experience, including supporting agricultural programs and trade associations. My main tasks at FCIA involve supporting the board and committees, developing new partnerships, managing staff and finances, serving as FCIA spokesperson, and implementing FCIA’s strategic plan.

    Ephi Maglaris, Events Manager (Chicago, Illinois)

    Ephi joined FCIA last summer. Her background is in event planning, and she has worked with the National Restaurant Association in the past. At FCIA, Ephi works closely with the Events and Education Committee to organize and implement all FCIA events, including educational webinars, conferences, regional meetups. She also helps to onboard new members and assists with our social media efforts.

    Jennifer Wicks, Finance Manager (Sevensville, Montana)

    Jennifer has worked several years for FCIA and is the only chocolate maker on staff. She manages FCIA finances and oversees the partnership program budgets, including for MOCCA.

    Mey Choy Paz, Private Sector Liaison (Tingo Maria, Peru)

    Mey is a sensory analyst with a background in cocoa trading. She represents FCIA on the MOCCA program in Latin America, which is funded by the US Department of Agriculture. Mey’s specific duties are to link cocoa farmer organizations with company members and to provide quality assessments of cocoa.

    LaSaundra Scott, Administrative Assistant (Shreveport, Louisiana)

    LaSaundra joined the FCIA team in the last half of 2020 to assist. She helps behind the scenes on webinars, board elections, membership database, and email distributions.

    Taylor Beasley, Communications Intern Winter 2021 (Oakland, California)

    Taylor is a student at Miami University with a co-major in Strategic Communications and Entrepreneurship. Due to the pandemic, she is living in California and taking classes remotely.

    "I am thrilled to have the chance to work with and learn from such a passionate and hard-working team such as this over the next few months. With my interest in social media marketing and outreach paired with my love for fine chocolate, I plan on both educating myself on the industry as well as contributing to the already successful FCIA to the best of my abilities."

    Kristopher Nunez, Communications Intern Winter 2021 (Woodhaven, New York)

    Kris is a Freshman at Wheaton College in Boston. Due to the pandemic, he is living at his home in New York.

    “It's such an honor to finally work with FCIA, a team so eager and motivated to educate and grow the fine chocolate industry. With my previous experience in social media marketing, web design, and video editing, I hope to contribute to FCIA's continued success. As someone from the Dominican Republic, where I'm from, fine chocolate is starting to rise in popularity, so I'm thrilled to bring back anything I can educate myself on working through FCIA."

  • January 11, 2021 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brad Kintzer President of the Board, FCIA Dear FCIA Colleagues,

    This month marks the midterm of my two-year appointment as FCIA Board President. It is an honor for me to be part of this distinguished trade association, representing the very best in the chocolate industry. Fellow officers Lauren Adler, Dan Domingo, and I look forward to working with the newly elected board this year. Together, we will continue to provide strategic direction and build on the strong foundation of our outgoing board. At the top of FCIA’s agenda will be developing new initiatives in a “post-COVID economy” as we recover and grow our businesses. We are planning virtual and hybrid conferences, educational webinars, online sales platforms, and many other support services to help connect and advance the fine chocolate market.

    To hear more about our 2021 plans, please make sure to join the new board members, committee chairs, and FCIA staff on January 28 at 1 pm ET during FCIA’s Membership Assembly Meeting. This one-hour meeting will directly follow Sander Wolf’s presentation “Think Outside the Booth: Maximize Your Chocolate Festival Experience”. As a reminder, FCIA Membership Assemblies are open to all active members.

    Despite the COVID pandemic, FCIA continues to grow. I am pleased to report that during the last quarter of 2020, FCIA added 18 new companies and professionals. At present, we have over 300 members including cacao farmers, chocolate makers, chocolatiers, ingredient suppliers, packaging and equipment suppliers, pastry chefs, marketers, specialty retailers, wholesalers, and festival organizers. FCIA is the only professional trade association dedicated 100% to the support and promotion of fine chocolate. We rely on membership dues to support operations and programs. Therefore, please make sure and join or renew your membership for 2021 if you have not already done so.

    One of FCIA’s greatest strengths is our ability to innovate and partner with organizations inside and outside our association. In closing, I wanted to share with you some of the major achievements in this area and plans for 2021:

    • FCIA Educational Webinars: One of the pillars of our COVID-19 strategy has been weekly educational webinars, which are offered complimentary to FCIA members. Our members decide on the topics and often are featured in these hour-long sessions attended by roughly 100+ a week. These webinars have opened doors to new partnerships.

    • Trade Shows and Festivals: FCIA has partnered with Specialty Food Live! this month, a virtual trade show which will feature our own “Fine Chocolate Pavilion”. We are also partnering with Chocoa in the Netherlands this coming February, where we will co-host panels for chocolate makers. We are also excited to return to in-person consumer festivals, including the Dallas Chocolate Festival and Northwest Chocolate Festival in 2021.
    • Cocoa Supply Chain Programs: We are very excited about the new partnership with the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) in Latin America and the Caribbean. IAF brings many years of experience working with farming communities and supports over $4million annually in cocoa programs in the region.

    • Market Research: FCIA will partner again with the National Confectioners’ Association (NCA) on a national survey of chocolate consumers this year. We also worked in collaboration with Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) to share important information on the impact of COVID-19 on fine chocolate sales and the cocoa supply chain in 2020.

    • Online Market Sales and Consumer Education: FCIA launched Make Mine Fine in 2020, which now hosts over 100 company members who offer online sales to consumers. In addition, the site provides education on cocoa-growing countries, chocolate demonstrations and experiences information, and blog posts. Over 15 different partners have co-sponsored the site, with FCIA.

    • Regulatory and Trade: FCIA and NCA co-hosted a regulatory update last year for our members, in partnership with PMCA, RCI, and AACT trade associations. This session touched on several specific and timely topics. Another session will be held in 2021.

    • Cocoa Quality and Flavor Standards: Along with Bioversity International/CIAT, FCIA and select companies have been meeting monthly to develop protocols on cocoa quality standards. Field tests of these standards are now underway in several Latin American Countries.

    I look forward to talking with you in the coming weeks and wish you all the success in the new year!

    Brad Kintzer
    President of the Board, FCIA


  • January 08, 2021 3:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a part of our Empowering Chocopreneurs webinar series 2021 we are going to focus on Equipment Basics that will help you get the most benefit out of your CocoaTown equipment. We are starting off the series with our melangers.


    We are excited that Chef and Chocolatier Mayari Castellanos of Kakaw Museo and Chololateria Cultural Mexico will be presenting the first webinar for this year - How To Use Melanger.

    Did you know that our customers are still using ECGC-12 melangers after 14 years? Do you want to use your melangers for decades for high ROI? Do you wish you had some basic guidelines and troubleshooting knowledge? If you want to know the secrets for extending the life of the melangers and to have less frustration while operating it, you should register for this webinar.

    During our Melanger Basics webinar you will learn the main uses of the melanger, how to prepare your melanger for use, when and how to load the ingredients, grinding time and temperature, fluidity vs. viscosity and more.

    There will also be time to get your questions answered by Mayari and CocoaTown.

    Please feel free to comment your specific questions about CocoaTown melangers and we will be sure to cover them during the webinar or through our FAQ after the event.

    Join Mayari and CocoaTown as we explore this important piece of the bean to bar process on Saturday January 16, from 12 noon - 2 pm Atlanta time.


    To register please visit https://cocoatown.com/blogs/blog/cocoatown-equipment-basics-series


  • November 27, 2020 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    SAVE THE DATE! Chocolate lovers, we have great news for you. After weeks of uncertainty, we can finally announce there will be a Chocoa in February. While you cannot travel to #Amsterdam due to the Covid-related travel restrictions, we bring Chocoa 2021 to you.

    From February 24 - 26, Chocoa takes place virtually featuring the Chocolate Makers' Forum and the Amsterdam Sustainable Cocoa Conference.

    Soon we will share more information on our 2021 program. Until then stay connected and make sure to mark February 24 - 26 in your calendar. If you enjoyed last year's program, you definitely don't want to miss out on Chocoa 2021.

  • November 27, 2020 11:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As a part of CocoaTown's Empowering Chocopreneurs webinar series we are bringing you Post-harvest Processing and its Effects on the Cocoa Bean Quality presented by Dr. Darin Sukha of the Cocoa Research Centre, University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago.  

    When: Saturday December 12 2020 10:00 AM - 12:00 p.m. E

    This webinar will help cocoa farmers and chocolate makers work together to produce delicious chocolate.  

    Here are the points he will cover in the webinar:

    • What is cocoa quality?
    • What is the relationship between post-harvest processing and quality attributes in cocoa beans?    
    • What are the factors that affect the expression of genetic flavor potential in cocoa? 
    • What can happen when things go wrong in fermentation? 

    To register visit https://cocoatown.com/blogs/blog/post-harvest-processing-effects

    Stay safe and Healthy.


  • November 24, 2020 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The launching of the Fall issue of ReVista on Chocolate features a fun-filled and informative afternoon with panels on chocolate, a tour of a chocolate museum in Mexico and a virtual chocolate tasting.

    Dec 8, 2020 03:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
    Register for the Webinar

    Download Event Flyer

    Panel 1 - 3-3:45pm
    Chocolate, social justice, and labor
    Moderator: Carla Martin, Harvard University
    Katie Sampeck, Illinois, State University, former DRCLAS Visiting Scholar; Amanda Berlan, De Montfort University

    Panel 2 - 3:45-4:30pm
    Cacao and chocolate business in COVID-19
    Moderator: José López Ganem
    Bill Guyton, Fine Chocolate Industry; Aline Etlicher, Haitian agro-industry

    Chocolate tasting - 4:30-5pm
    Amanda Jo Wildey, manager, El Cacaotal, Peru

    Tour of Mexico's City MUCHO Museo de Chocolate - 5-5:30pm
    with Ana Rita Garcia Lascurain

  • November 18, 2020 10:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    After the success of Specialty Food LIVE!, SFA’s first virtual experience this past September, a second virtual event is scheduled for January 19 - 22, 2021. 

    As a Specialty Food Association partner the Fine Chocolate Industry Association will have a pavilion at Specialty Food Live! 2021. This four-day virtual marketplace and event that combines amazing product discovery capabilities with buyer and supplier matchmaking.


    The second iteration of Specialty Food LIVE! will be an all-inclusive digital marketplace event, where members and buyers can conduct business and continue to put specialty food on store shelves, safely and economically.

    This 4-day virtual event will include:

    • Improved SalesMatch functionality and Leads with more information
    • SFA’s Incubator Village and International Pavilions
    • Our new and very popular Virtual Product Tasting Experience sessions
    • New and unique educational programs
    • On-demand chat capabilities and videoconferencing
    • New topic-focused and facilitated share rooms
    • Fun virtual networking events

    DISCOVER a marketplace where SFA members showcase their incredible products
    CONNECT with thousands of buyers from across all channels
    BUY right from the comfort and safety of home

    This is where retailers and manufacturers meet and do business.

    Find Out More About Exhibiting at Specialty Food Live

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Executive Director / Membership Inquiries: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

Operations & Membership: Ephi Maglaris / 1.312.771.0181 / Email Ephi

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