Valued at approximately USD $139 billion, the world chocolate confectionery market is experiencing a growing demand for artisanal chcocolate. Trinidad and Tobago's cocoa and chocolate industry has embraced this opportunity with over 40 estalished crafters some already boasting international awards for their artisanal chocolate.
The traditional global love affair with chocolate continues today, as a multitude of exotic confectionery chocolates appear on the consumer market each year. Trinidad and Tobago is among the countries invested in this market. The country has a growing number of local artisanal brands, some of which have earned international recognition such as Tobago Estate Chocolate – Laura, which won a silver award at the International Chocolate Awards in 2019. Chocolate produced by Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company was also featured as part of Harrod’s special collection of international chocolates in 2017 and is the recipient of five Academy of Chocolate Awards.
Once a wilting industry in Trinidad and Tobago, cocoa is rising again as “King” in this tiny twin island republic known for exceptional Trinitario cocoa beans and noted internationally for its fine cocoa. From the depths of once abandoned cocoa estates, the industry has undergone a metamorphosis and has reinvented itself. Overgrown estates are being revitalized to produce bountiful crops that conform to international standards through the direction of the Cocoa Research Centre under the IDB-LAB funded project Improving Marketing and Production of Artisanal Cocoa from Trinidad and Tobago (IMPACTT). The number of plantations rehabilitated is estimated to reach 40 by 2022. In addition to the trading of cocoa beans, there is a vibrant sector of chocolatiers who produce delectable handcrafted chocolate products ranging from decadent chocolate bars to exotic soap bars.
During October 2019, the Cocoa Research Centre along with partial support from the IMPACTT project, hosted the World Cocoa and Chocolate Day Expo and Inbound Trade Mission at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad. Over 40 chocolatiers exhibited their products at the event. Also in attendance were the national support institutions - The University of The West Indies – Cocoa Research Centre, Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. (CDCTTL), as well as local experiential tour operators. The overwhelming response to this event is proof in itself that this sector is rapidly expanding to establish itself in Trinidad and Tobago not as the dwindling sector of yesteryear but as one that promises sustainability and economic viability.
Support for the sector’s development is also seen with the establishment of the Moruga Agro-processing and Light Industrial Park in southern Trinidad where Cocoa Processing and Chocolate Production have been identified as specifically targeted industries to be established at the Park, with pre-designed facilities being built out for each. InvesTT supports the expansion of the local chocolatier industry by encouraging artisans to establish processing facilities at the park. Interested persons may contact InvesTT’s Investments Team to discuss the opportunity of setting up at the Moruga Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park.
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