Farmers are the Heart of CocoaVIa™
To improve by care, training or study. To grow.
When we set out to find the ideal place to grow the best quality cocoa for our CocoaVia™ extract, our quest took us to Indonesia, an island country in southeast Asia between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Warm tropical days, balmy nights, high humidity and fertile soil created the idea environment for the cocoa tree.
In Indonesia, cocoa beans are a very important export, grown mostly by small, independent farmers. There, cocoa farming is a family affair and has been for generations. The life of the entire farming community revolves around cocoa.
We came to Indonesia with high expectations. The farming expertise had to be tops. Soil conditions had to be just right. Legacy drying processes would need to change because cocoa flavanols are highly delicate—heat and humidity destroy them. And we’d need our beans to be grown fairly close to where we purchased them to ensure freshness.
We came looking for the best beans, cultivated and handled with white glove care. The Indonesian cocoa farmers families were there for it.
To prosper, flourish. To realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.
Today, Indonesian farmers are the life blood of CocoaVia™. The relationships we’ve cultivated have brought us together as partners, as co-workers, as friends. They give us their all, growing and handling premium cocoa beans for our CocoaVia™ extract.
And we give them our all, paying a premium for the cocoa and helping them improve their productivity, which lifts entire communities’ standard of living.
Because just like we’re passionate about supporting our customers’ health, we’re passionate about helping our farmers—and their communities—thrive.
For us, it’s all about Mutuality, one of the Five Principles we live by. And we’re a family-owned (five generations!), private company, which gives us a bit more flexibility to bring our values to life.
- To help cultivate a steady, sustainable supply of quality cocoa, we needed a steady supply of smart young farmers who saw a prosperous future in cocoa. So we established a teaching farm, where new and experienced farmers come to learn best agricultural practices.
- Our field facilitators visit farms to share best practices and identified new ways for farmers to earn money, like diversifying crops, managing cocoa nurseries for new trees and creating compost from harvested cocoa pod husks.
- On the island of Sulawesi, we established a school for 15-17-year-olds, adding cocoa—and a cocoa farm—to the curriculum. Students teach their parents, and we hire many to be field facilitators, run village cocoa centers, sell plant grafting material or work as community cocoa farming experts.
- Our Associates (that’s what we call employees) volunteered to build a bridge spanning a river that regularly floods, forcing farmers to stop farming each time.
Saving Tomorrow’s Cocoa, Today
Our work in Indonesia is part of our company’s Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which includes Cocoa For Generations, a billion-dollar investment to make the global cocoa supply chain sustainable.
Cocoa for Generations aims to ensure 100 percent of our cocoa is responsibly sourced globally and is traceable by 2025. It goes beyond the current level of certification standards and practices, and commits us to action across three focus areas:
- Protect children: work with partners to ensure children in cocoa communities have a safe alternative to work and the opportunity to thrive.
- Preserve forests: achieve a deforestation-free global cocoa supply chain by 2025
- Improve farmer income: first step is to overhaul the payment model for responsible cocoa to ensure farmers receive a higher share.
So that’s our story. And you can feel good knowing your CocoaVia™ is made by real people around the world, working together to support each other, our planet—and you!