SunOpta Inc. has completed the construction and commissioning of a new value-added organic and specialty cocoa processing facility located in Middenmeer, The Netherlands. The facility processes internationally sourced cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, butter, and powder, and provides needed capacity to accommodate the company’s growing organic and specialty cocoa business that has historically been processed by third parties. The operation will ramp-up production capabilities and volume over the remainder of 2013.
“Vertically integrating into our own dedicated cocoa facility allows us to have increased control over our business and expand our margins, especially as we increase throughput. Organic and specialty cocoa products remain a key category for the International Foods Group, and we anticipate above average growth prospects in this segment of the market,” said Gerard Versteegh, President of the International Foods Group.
The operation has annual processing capacity of approximately 9,000 metric tons of raw cocoa and is one of the only operations in the world focused 100% on organic and specialty fair trade cocoa products. The facility utilizes a whole-bean roasting technology, which when combined with globally-sourced cocoa bean varieties, provides customers with a range of flavor profiles. With its own processing capabilities now in place, the company intends to expand its organic and specialty cocoa business and better serve the specialty chocolate industry with certified and specialty cocoa products.