‘GCC travelers developed a taste for chocolate’
BRUSSELS: European chocolate companies are keen on expanding their businesses to the Gulf region seen as a growing market for chocolate products. “We now want to go to the Gulf to present our show and also in Kuwait. Gulf citizens are travelling a lot abroad to destinations like Paris, London, Belgium where they have developed a taste for chocolate,” Sylvie Douce said. She is the founder of ‘The Salon du Chocolat (chocolate fair),’ which is believed to be the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa.
It has organized the annual Brussels Chocolate Fair this past weekend. It is the 5th time that the chocolate fair was held in the capital city of Belgium known for the fine quality of its chocolate. One hundred and thirty companies participated in the fair which took place under the theme ‘Chocolate and Cocoa: the Great Adventure’ to celebrate the latest chocolate trends. The Brussels fair featured participation from the South American country of Peru, a producing country recognized for the quality and diversity of its cocoa trees. The public were shown the many stages of processing cocoa into chocolate through the reconstruction of production by chefs who line up on the Pastry Show podium to present their best chocolate recipes.
Douce, of French-Swiss origin, said together with Francois Jeantet, they started this chocolate show 23 years ago in Paris and every year they organize 18 shows around the world. “If I have the opportunity, I am ready to expand our show in the Gulf region,” she said.
She noted that Belgium has the most important and oldest chocolate industry, and Belgian chocolate companies are everywhere in the world while their chocolate craftsmen are also very experienced and credible. The biggest cocoa bean producers are Ivory Coast and Ghana, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and Indonesia. The most important chocolate consumers are the US because of their large population and in Europe Switzerland, Germany, Norway, France and Belgium.
Meanwhile, Valerie Trolet, commercial sales manager of chocolate company Boissier Paris, said that this company was formed in 1827, adding that they have representative offices in Dubai and Oman which is a big market. Furthermore, she expressed her interest in gaining a foothold in Kuwait. She noted that their chocolate products that are distributed in the Arab world are made by hand and are free of any alcohol or animal gelatin. According to chocolate industry statistics, Global Chocolate Market was worth $98.3 billion in 2016. – KUNA