How Switzerland’s first 100% organic cocoa processing plant is meeting demand for traceable and sustainable food

PRONATEC Swiss Cocoa Production is an entirely organic production plant, the first of its kind in Switzerland, that will process around 15,000 tonnes of organic cocoa beans a year. The cocoa is sourced directly from smallholder farming cooperatives and, the company believes, its approach is well positioned to meet growing demand for sustainably produced foods.

“With the new plant combined with our direct sourcing from small-farmers we can much better meet the growing demand: The trend towards organic and fair trade certified products, especially towards stricter labels such as Bio Suisse or Demeter and the trend towards traceability from farm to table,”​ CEO David Yersin told FoodNavigator. “More and more consumers are not only looking for sustainable products but wanting to know exactly where the ingredients come from,”​ the Swiss organic and fair-trade pioneer believes.

While Yersin conceded that this demand is coming under pressure given the current inflationary environment, he nevertheless believes the long-term prospects for sustainable, traceable food are solid.

“We are indeed seeing shifts in the market, consumers seem to buy differently. They are facing price increases in food, petrol and energy, stretching their daily budget,”​ the cocoa executive reflected. “Branded organic products and organic shops are suffering, however less expensive organic private labelled products from the big retailers still seem to grow. We do not believe that the long-term trend towards sustainable food will be broken, but temporarily slowed down.”

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