When the product is right, you don’t have to be a great marketer - Lee Lacocca.
Welcoming my little girl from the United Kingdom to spend her vacation in Ghana, I got to the airport with a box of chocolate to calm her and also give her a welcoming feel. Our ride home was taken over by a chocolate discussion after she opened one Kingsbite and had a bite.
Her outburst after the bite, “Is this made in Ghana? It’s not big though, but very tasty“. I can taste the cocoa unlike those in the UK with very high sugar and milk content”.
Her statements about Ghana’s chocolate spoke volumes and could not be taken for granted.
Ghana has for over a century carved a respectable reputation worldwide as the producer of the finest quality cocoa beans rated second to its neighbour, Ivory Coast, in the production of cocoa beans, with the two West African nations accounting for more than 65 per cent of annual global output.
Cocoa growers in Ghana still use older and more traditional methods for processing the cocoa beans, which leads to a higher quality bean and more complex flavour than mechanised methods that are used in some other places.
That said, it is undeniable that Ghana’s chocolate with a strong cocoa character has an appealing taste for the chocolate experience.
Here in Ghana, Cocoa Processing Company, the sole cocoa processing factory in the sub region, can boast of processing only the choicest premium Ghanaian cocoa beans without any blending.
Established in 1965, with the aim of projecting healthy lifestyles and also producing international quality standards for consumer satisfaction, it is achieving just that.
“The health and wellness of our people forms our paramount goal, hence the 100 per cent cocoa butter used,” Mr James Rhule, the Public Affairs Director of Cocoa Processing Company stated in an interview in Tema.
According to him, most chocolate manufacturers across the world source materials from CPC attested to the quality of Ghana’s cocoa products accounting for their consistent cumulative client-base every year.
Ghana’s chocolate has found its way into diverse market spaces across the world and one such unique client is from neighbouring Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
Apart from that, Ghana has market for its cocoa products in Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Kenya. You can also find the Golden Tree chocolate in African shops in the UK and the US while our semi-finished products can be seen in Europe, the Netherlands, Belgium and other Asian destinations.
Getting finished products, such as, our Golden Tree Ghanaian chocolate bars into the international markets is a herculean task owing to non-tariff barriers used across the world by industrialised countries to protect local industries against foreign competitions, including licences, quotas, embargoes, foreign exchange restrictions, and import deposits compound exports woes.
A Ghanaian based in the UK while in Ghana tried exporting the Ghanaian chocolates to the UK, but the product got misplaced on arrival at the UK.
To make this dream of exporting the Golden Tree chocolate possible, he used his wife who is an American to buy the product to America, got it melted in her small chocolate factory and repackaged for the American market.
Another American entrepreneur of Ghanaian origin, also got the Ghanaian Chocolate into the International market by providing his company approved packaging materials to the CPC for exports, while others use agents to sneak products into foreign markets.
Exporting 95 per cent of its raw materials ranging from the cocoa liquor, butter, natural/ alkalised cake or powder, Ghana remains the world’s best potent chocolate producer, identified on the World market performing chart-index as the second largest in the world which also is the most expensive, giving its quality and health benefits.
In processing the cocoa beans to a semi-finished product, out springs the Cocoa Liquor which is 65 per cent fats from which the cocoa butter is extracted with the residue referred to as the cocoa cake grounded to the cocoa powder.
From its raw materials, the company supplies potassium to soap and body cream manufacturers and also uses the cocoa shells as manure procured by farmers to help nourish their farm produce while the liquor residue finds its way into pharmaceuticals to help underweight patients gain weight, stimulate the nervous systems of weak people, calm hyperactive people and improve digestion and kidney functions.
Every fragment of the cocoa is useful, from the pod which is used as manure to fertilise the soil to regain its strength, the seeds from which our cocoa and chocolate products are made while the shells and husk are supplied to soap manufacturers for the popular “alatae samina” owing to its rich potassium content.
Polished fancy bowls and other fabricated usables emanate from cocoa residue contributing greatly to Ghana’s economic prospects, which can be enhanced with adequate government support through production expansion capacity of the CPC to engage more hands, augment and produce more raw materials and finished products for a greater market, jobs and healthy livelihoods.
Cocoa Processing Company also employs over 300 staff, directly, while creating more jobs for other private individuals in the cocoa and chocolate beverages and products chain, besides traders and vendors, who depend on the sale of such products for survival.
Mr Rhule said, “To get our chocolates safe and tasty, we have rigorous processes in the application, trade and sales of chocolates and chocolate-related products in Ghana, which requires clients to apply to CPC, have their facilities and place of trade inspected to ensure proper storage, sales, health and safety of the cocoa products for consumers across the country to avoid contamination which could alter the taste and flavour.
This simply implies that you cannot keep the Ghanaian chocolate near toiletries or polluted environments. Take a bite and keep health.
The writer is a staff of the Information Services Department (ISD)