07 Sep 2020 — Confectionery is undergoing a “chocolate renaissance,” according to chocolatier Theobroma Chocolat. The company details an uptick in product launches containing nutritionally functional, indulgent ingredients, tailored to fit specific dietary needs, such as keto. In business expansion developments, it is set to build a factory in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Canada, which will allow it to triple its area and “colossally increase” trend-driven product development thanks to investments of nearly US$10 million.
“Today’s consumers are looking for responsibly sourced Fairtrade, gluten-free and GMO-free chocolate with clear labeling. Theobroma Chocolat’s investment involves the creation of new ideas,” Kathleen Marcotte, Marketing Director, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“It is the main reason why our team has invested time and creativity in this new process, leading what we call the chocolate renaissance. Some of our deliciously innovative products include smooth milk chocolate with quinoa and caramel flakes. Elsewhere, we have special edition keto-friendly chocolate too,” she adds.
Theobroma ChunkiEs are also coming soon. The primary ingredient of the healthy bite-size snacks is chocolate, with 10 g of protein, low calories and less than five ingredients per serving. They are also peanut-free. “Eating chocolate that’s good for you and the planet is no longer a trend; it’s the norm,” explains Marcotte.
Storytelling is crucial
Consumers’ label literacy is maturing in line with an interest in ingredient provenance, notes Marcotte. “They expect to easily spot organic, gluten-free, allergen-free and dairy-free chocolate to fulfil their snacking needs. We’ve seen supermarkets and other stores implement policies to stock this kind of chocolate.”
“Our Theobroma Chocolat model is based on social responsibility,” Marcotte underscores. “We are transparent about every single ingredient that goes into our chocolate products. In our supply chain, our model offers traceability too via annual external audits conducted by Fairtrade and Fair for Life. Ultimately, our purchasing department is a positive force for change.”
On the impact of COVID-19, she further comments: “Amid price fluctuation, we sourced beans and commodities almost one year ahead of time. It’s been very difficult for anybody to anticipate what’s happened globally this year. Every morning since March 13, we’ve organized daily scrums to discuss strategies to handle the impacts of COVID-19. This helps us to diligently prepare for threats to the supply chain.”
Tailored robotics for chocolate production
Josée Vigneault and Jean-René Lemire, Co-Founders and Owners of Theobroma since 2008, have led the opening of the new factory. The facility relies heavily on robotization efficiencies to optimize production functions.
“We now have access to spider robots, distribution bar systems and tailored end-of-line robotics packaging. These advancements will help us increase our production capabilities with less physical effort,” says Marcotte.
Funding for the facility was provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), the National Bank of Canada and Candian governmental agencies active in the agri-food sphere.
“We are very proud to start a new adventure and help future generations. Social and economic innovations are part of the company’s DNA. We have always done things differently by putting people and pleasure at the heart of our concerns. We want to deliver sustainable solutions through new, nutritious products that are good for chocolate lovers and the environment,” concludes Lemire.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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