Olam Cocoa unveils US innovation center

Olam Cocoa serves a variety of applications, including chocolate confectionery, biscuits and bakery.

Olam Cocoa has opened its latest innovation center in Williowbrook, Illinois, to scale up its North American business.

The cocoa products supplier, which sources cocoa beans from all major origins across Africa, Asia and South America, posted $19bn in group revenues last year. 

Olam Cocoa has previously built innovation centers in Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Singapore and the UK, and it said the new one would further “assist customers in the refinement and reformulation of existing recipes, provide proof of concept opportunities, and aid in the development of new products across diverse application categories.”

The application categories Olam Cocoa serves include cereal, chocolate confectionery, biscuits and bakery among others.

“The [2,500-square-foot] facility will also host regular educational and application-specific seminars as part of a range of services designed to greatly reduce product development cycle timelines and help customers keep pace with changing consumer tastes and market trends,” said global head of product development and innovation, Rinus Heemskerk.

Olam Cocoa’s head of sales, William Pearce, told ConfectioneryNews that the company hopes to be its North American customers’ “go-to supplier” in the future.

Growing US chocolate market’s retail value sales

VP of cocoa for Olam North America, Matthias Richter, said, “The North American market continues to see growing demand for products containing cocoa as exemplified by the recent projection that the US chocolate market’s retail value sales will grow by 9.9% from 2016 to 2021.”

“This cocoa innovation center is a valuable resource that will help them to maximize opportunities related to these demand increases,” he added.

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