Promotional Features

Innovation and sustainability at Cargill’s Cocoa Development Center

Paid for and in partnership with Cargill

The following content is provided by an advertiser or created on behalf of an advertiser. It is not written by the editorial team, nor does it necessarily reflect the opinions of

For more information, please contact us here​.

Driving innovation and sustainability in cocoa product development

Last updated on

Cocoa processing begins with the cultivation of cocoa beans and is an intricate process.

It involves a series of steps such as fermentation, drying, roasting and grinding of cocoa beans. Each step of the process can significantly impact the final quality, flavour, and characteristics of the cocoa products, necessitating careful testing at each stage.

Given the broad range of applications for cocoa products across categories including confectionery, bakery, beverages, and dairy goods, the ability to be agile within cocoa product development is a critical requirement for F&B manufacturers as they require flexibility in tailoring cocoa solutions to cater to the diverse Asian palette.

Across all industries, including cocoa, the need for F&B manufacturers to develop and communicate sustainable practices and build long-term relationships with key suppliers is crucial. As consumers increasingly seek out products that align with their sustainable values, a focus on sustainable sourcing practices has intensified, fuelling a more holistic approach that ensures environmental responsibility and community welfare throughout the value chain.

Through its well-established network and sustainable commitments, Cargill strives to maintain a meticulous approach to sourcing, towards the attainment of ethically produced cocoa while prioritising environmental conservation and social responsibility. The company's advanced global sourcing footprint not only contributes to the security of cocoa supply but also underscores its dedication to sustainable agricultural practices, delivering impact across farmer livelihoods, community wellbeing, and planet protection throughout the cocoa supply chain.

Cargill Cocoa Promise has made significant strides here as it marks a decade since the launch of its comprehensive sustainability program.

“Over the past 10 years, together with our partners, we have helped cocoa farmers improve their yields, incomes, and living standards. We have reached approximately 25,000 farmers in Indonesia with training and coaching to build their capacity for good agricultural practices. In addition, we made good progress in assessing deforestation risk with our digital traceability system for better transparency and traceability," says Talitha Wibisono, Indonesia Sustainability Lead, Cargill.

Between 2022 and June 2023, 94% of farmers in Cargill’s direct supply chain have been fully GPS-polygon-mapped under the Cargill Cocoa Promise program in Indonesia, which can detect forest cover changes on the farms in nearby forests and protected areas.1​ The program’s strategic approach aligns with the company’s mission of transforming agricultural chains to be free of deforestation by 2030 by pinpointing high-risk areas and fostering a more targeted and effective prevention strategy.

Accelerate innovation in cocoa sensory

Innovation and product development of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) is fast and frugal in Asia. When it comes to cocoa and chocolate products, Asia is the leading region globally with the number of Limited Edition launches doubling in the last three years.2

This results in rapid product launches, with a continual influx of new flavours and formats hitting the shelves. This market environment gets more challenging for F&B manufacturers to launch new products at the speed required to meet the fast changing preferences of consumers in the region.

To address the need for agility and increased speed to market for product innovation, in November 2023 Cargill launched the Cocoa Development Centre (CCDC) in Indonesia. CCDC is one of Asia’s most advanced pilot production facility for cocoa product development and aims to help F&B manufacturers explore innovative ideas in cocoa solutions. The state-of-the-art CCDC facility enables proficiency in small-scale product samples development from cocoa beans to liquor, powder, and butter, before scaling up in commercial production.

F&B manufacturers can expedite product innovation by conducting accurate trials with the localisation of cocoa solutions to meet specific taste profiles, yet at the same time creating a direct connection with cocoa farmers in the region.

With an emphasis on cocoa product development, building a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come, and fostering a customer-centric approach, Cargill’s latest Cocoa Development Centre is here to help F&B manufacturers cater to the fast-evolving consumer trends and preferences by offering:

Faster product development ​Insight-led category expertise supported by CCDC’s advanced capabilities in cocoa product development enable F&B manufacturers in faster product innovation to meet fast changing consumer demands.

Strong partnership on sustainability​ With a direct sourcing network that benefits from the Cargill Cocoa Promise sustainability program, Cargill is well positioned as a reliable cocoa supplier.

Greater flexibility ​Dedicated go-to-market and R&D Cargill teams in APAC provide tailored support and flexibility for F&B manufacturers to validate product trials before commercialisation, saving time and resources.

Customer-centric innovation from ‘bean-to-bar’

Within the new Centre, F&B manufacturers can experience Cargill’s Cocoa Expedition, a journey that takes you through the stages of cocoa development, from the processing of cocoa beans to the crafting of cocoa products in specific colours and flavours to meet the sensory experiences Asian consumers are looking for.

To co-create more effectively with F&B manufacturers, CCDC offers access to a consumer study commissioned by Cargill in 12 markets globally across food and beverage categories. The study aims to understand the drivers of liking in cocoa and chocolate products for different consumer segments. This pioneering approach allows F&B manufacturers to anticipate and tailor their cocoa solutions to evolving consumer preferences, and stay relevant with the ever-changing, fast-paced and innovative market.

"Cargill Cocoa Development Centre serves as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and the advancement of new, sustainable cocoa products. Through this Centre, we are excited to co-create more closely with F&B manufacturers to bring innovative food solutions that delight consumers across Asia and the world," says Francesca Kleemans, Managing Director, Food Solutions Southeast Asia, Cargill.

CCDC primarily focuses on cocoa product development tailored to meet specific sensory preferences in product applications. It also considers the various sensory qualities, such as flavour, colour and fineness, which play a crucial role in the sensory experience of the final product.

“The Cocoa Development Centre is part of Cargill’s integrated regional innovation ecosystem. Together with our Lipid Research & Development Centre in Malaysia, Chocolate Academy in Singapore, as well as our Innovation Centres in Asia – this integrated innovation ecosystem enables F&B manufacturers to access a complete ‘bean-to-bar’ innovation suite across food and beverage solutions,” adds Kleemans.

Cargill’s regional network of innovation centres provides R&D, applications, and technical service support to F&B manufacturers in Asia; they are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Gurugram, India.

Because when innovation and sustainability are crucial for success, the Cargill Cocoa Development Centre helps F&B manufacturers accelerate innovation in cocoa sensory while aiming to optimise sustainable practices.


1.​ Cargill. 2023. ESG Report.
2. ​Innova database. Nov 2020-Oct 2021 vs Nov 2022-Oct 2023.

More content from Cargill