The Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) is pleased to inaugurate our “Raising the Bar” column with Bar Talks. Each month, we will feature a different topic of interest tailored for chocolate makers, chocolatiers and chocolate enthusiasts.
“Raising the Bar” will be written by FCIA company members who have extensive expertise on a variety of subjects, including sales and marketing, the art of chocolate making, pairing and collaborations, bean sourcing and traceability, equipment and packaging, and many others. We hope you will enjoy it!
In case FCIA is new to you, we are an international trade association originally formed to promote and support the art of fine chocolate making. Since our start in 2007, our membership has grown and diversified.
Today, FCIA represent over 300 companies and professionals with the mission to promote quality, innovations, ethical sourcing and best practices in the fine chocolate industry from tree to bar to bonbon.
Nearly two-thirds of our members are either chocolate makers or chocolatiers, while the remaining third are specialty retailers, equipment suppliers, traders, farmer groups, and other actors in the cacao value chain.
FCIA members define “fine chocolate” in terms of its flavor, texture and appearance, as well as its limited ingredients, high cocoa and low sugar content, and minimal processing. The fine chocolate segment currently represents roughly 5 to 10 percent of the overall chocolate market. Our ambition is to double that share over the next decade, as more consumers discover and appreciate unique chocolate flavors and support ethical sourcing.
Like many trade associations, FCIA has traditionally organized trade shows, conferences and festivals over the years. The COVID pandemic in 2020 forced us to move towards virtual events. Since March 2020, FCIA has held over 60 educational online webinars for our members and partners.
Typical viewership is 100 to 200 attendees per webinar. These sessions are recorded and made available free of charge to company members. https://www.finechocolateindustry.org/events
Last year, FCIA launched Make Mine Fine https://www.makeminefine.com in an effort to promote our members’ online sales. This consumer-facing website lists over 80 company members and provides information on virtual tastings as well as educational content on cacao producing countries.
FCIA’s newest initiative is called “Chocolate Break/Giveaway” where we host three featured companies each month on Instagram Live. Chocolate Break is particularly popular with younger chocolate enthusiasts and provides a way for consumers to hear directly from fine chocolate companies about their products. https://www.instagram.com/makeminefine/
And finally, FCIA prioritizes ethical sourcing. We have an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and partners on a regional Latin America program called Maximizing Opportunities for Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) (https://mocca.org), which is helping to improve the livelihoods of farmers and strengthen specialty value chains in Central America and the Andean Region.
The program specifically helps to establish better farming practices and quality standards and to build direct linkages among producers and businesses. We also signed a new partnership agreement with the Inter-American Foundation to provide support to local farmer groups in Latin America who grow cacao. https://www.iaf.gov/get-involved/partner-with-us/partners/
We look forward to FCIA’s collaboration with Bar Talks and hope that “Raising the Bar” will bring insights and value to your business.