Sustainability is the future of the Japanese chocolate market

Image_Sustainability is the future of the Japanese chocolate market


Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, is partnering with Tokyo-based Yuraku Confectionery to drive sustainability in Japan. Together, the companies are taking an important step forward and call on all chocolate manufacturers and chocolatiers in Japan to come together to make sustainable chocolate the norm.

In order to secure the future of chocolate, Barry Callebaut has persistently championed for a sustainability movement with all the industry players within the chocolate value chain. In 2016, the Company launched Forever Chocolate – a bold plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. By committing to have more than 500,000 cocoa farmers in its supply chain lifted out of poverty, eradicating child labor from its supply chain, becoming forest and carbon positive, and having 100% sustainable ingredients in all of its products, Barry Callebaut is leading the way to ensure that chocolate will be around forever. The Group’s customers can contribute to these targets by participating in the Cocoa Horizons program to differentiate their brands by using the Horizons logo on pack.

In tandem, consumer awareness in Japan on existing sustainability issues has also ascended to unprecedented levels with a strong commitment of the Japanese government to the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Pascale Meulemeester, Managing Director for Barry Callebaut in Japan, said, “The time for action is now. The new Japanese consumers do not just want chocolate that is tasty and good for them, but also good for the planet and its people. This presents a great opportunity for chocolate manufacturers and artisans to unite behind a common ambition to make sustainable chocolate the norm. We are now working with several companies to develop sustainable products for Japan and we’re looking forward to the announcement in the near future.”

Research shows consumers in Japan consider sustainability an important factor

A 2019 consumer insights research by Barry Callebaut shows that 72% of Japanese consumers consider sustainability as an important factor when purchasing food and drinks. In fact, 31% said it is “very important” or “extremely important”. The research also shows that more than 70% of Japanese consumers link sustainable chocolate to a sense of feeling good, better quality, trustworthiness and alignment with their personal values. This alignment can be found through the Japanese expression “mottainai” which means “too good to waste”, and is a belief that is deeply ingrained in their culture that conveys love and respect for nature.

One of Japan’s trailblazers for sustainability is Yuraku Confectionery, who just announced (17 March 2020) their transition to 100% sustainable chocolate in all their highly popular Black Thunder chocolate bars by 2025.

Yuraku Confectionery is just one of many more Japanese manufacturers who are taking strides to mend the gap between mature consumer markets and origin countries. One of the ways they are embarking on this journey is in visiting Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, to experience and study the prevalent structural issues of cocoa farming in person.

The successful partnership between Yuraku Confectionery and Barry Callebaut shows how to make a difference on a large scale, and they are calling on other companies in the industry to join this movement.

Tatsunobu Kawai, President of Yuraku Confectionery said, “Sustainability positions us well, not just today, but for the future. We understand that it is what consumers are asking for and we are happy to partner with Barry Callebaut and its Cocoa Horizons program to lead the way until it becomes the norm in the market.”

Barry Callebaut’s artisan customers such as Chocolate Design have long paved the way using 100% sustainable chocolate through the company’s Gourmet product offerings under the well-known European brands Callebaut® and Cacao Barry® and, coming soon, Van Houten Professional. The Belgian Callebaut® brand, which pioneered 100% sustainable chocolate since 2012, will now take its next step and ensure farmer group traceability in all its chocolate products.


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