Olam opens Brazil cocoa plant

10 Nov 2016

To mark the 70th anniversary of Olam Cocoa’s Brazilian cocoa brand, Joanes, the company has opened a new Cocoa Product Development & Innovation Centre at its llhéus processing facility.

Olam opens Brazil cocoa plant

To mark the 70th anniversary of Olam Cocoa’s Brazilian cocoa brand, Joanes, and, the company said, to reaffirm its commitment to providing high quality cocoa products to the South American market, Olam Cocoa has opened a new Cocoa Product Development & Innovation Centre at its llhéus processing facility. It also launched a new sustainability programme as part of its ongoing belief in promoting investment in Brazilian cocoa.

The Innovation Centre opening coincides with the launch of a new, dark black cocoa powder that has no added sodium, as well as the unveiling of a new logo for Joanes.

The new Cocoa Product Development & Innovation Centre at the llhéus plant will serve as a support facility for new and existing Olam Cocoa customers across South America to experience first-hand the opportunities for collaborative new product development, proof of concept, and existing application recipe refinement.

Dedicated Product Development and Innovation (PDI) team members now join Olam Cocoa’s expanding, global team based in its other five Cocoa Innovation Centres located in the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, USA and the United Kingdom.

Presented to customers in the new Centre, the new AJ11PK cocoa powder meets what Olam sees as growing market demand for lower sodium products. Developed for the Brazil and South American markets, this cocoa powder aligns with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) policy to reduce dietary salt intake amongst South American consumers. Sodium is traditionally added as an alkalising agent during processing for dark cocoa powders to achieve the desired colouration and this increases the sodium content of the final product.

Through Olam Cocoa’s technology, the company says it has produced a cocoa powder that does not require added sodium during processing and is also less bitter than other classically produced dark cocoa powders. AJ11PK can be used across multiple applications, including chocolate, confectionery, compounds, dairy, bakery goods, ice cream and fillings.

“Our investment at Ilhéus is the latest in our efforts to support customers in their own region with both new concepts and existing product refinement, thus significantly reducing their time to market,” said Rinus Heemskerk, Global Head of Cocoa Product Development and Innovation. “The development of the AJ11PK cocoa powder was directly inspired by our Latin American customers’ needs for an alternative. The result – a fantastic tasting black cocoa powder with no sodium added.”

Brazil represents a crucial segment of Olam Cocoa’s global portfolio, the company notes, not only as a foothold in the critical Latin American market, but also accounting for about 10% of Olam Cocoa’s global processing, with products including natural and alkalised cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa liquor.

With six buying stations across the country, Olam sources from a network of approximately 1,000 farmers in Brazil. To mark the Joanes 70th anniversary, Olam said it will expand its Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) programme to help improve yields, quality and incomes.

“Utilising our origination experience to establish strong relationships with Brazilian cocoa farmers and co-operatives is key to building world class traceability and sustainability partnerships with our suppliers and customers,” said Kidambi Srinivasan, Cocoa Business Head for Brazil. “This, coupled with Olam Cocoa’s continued investment in Joanes’ first – class products, services and innovation, is helping to strengthen customer relationships across the continent and beyond.”

The 70th anniversary celebration for Joanes includes the unveiling of a new logo for the Joanes brand and coincides with a visual branding logo and style refresh across all of Olam Cocoa’s product brands, including global premium cocoa brand deZaan, cocoa powder brand Macao, Pan-African brand Unicao, and a new cocoa powder brand that will be launched in 2017.