2021 is proving to be an explosive year for the Indian chocolate market. As of April 2021, there are around 28 chocolate producers in India of various sizes and all have experienced healthy growth in the last 2-3 years. 

Estimates indicate there will be circa 40 producers by 2022 as demand skyrockets! 2020, a year that was disastrous for the western market, hardly impacted the demand for cacao from the Indian population and hopefully, this demand will continue which helps to alleviate the supply glut from lethargic demand elsewhere.

European companies such as Cadbury have integrated themselves into Indian culture and chocolate has even begun to replace traditional Indian sweets such as mithai which is commonly gifted during the Diwali festival of lights in South Asia. Today, local Indian companies are looking to snag some of that market share from foreign companies like Cadbury. While it is unlikely they will pose any threat to the chocolate giant, there is certainly room for small players to be profitable.

As small to medium-sized artisan chocolate producers pop up around the US and Europe, technology catering for these producers becomes available and more economically viable. This will invariably help chocolate producers start-up in India.

Companies such as Dandelion chocolate from San Francisco, California were using modified rotisserie ovens and homemade winnowing machines when they began. Today, technology is honed in for the small-scale artisan chocolate producer with roasting machines specifically designed for cacao.

Indian chocolate makers are throwing traditionally Indian flavours such as rose, cardamom, and masala inclusions into their bars. However, these companies have their work cut out for them when it comes to competing with Cadbury. Chocolate has been a luxury commodity in India since the days of British colonialism, and even today, the older population have a loyalty to the Cadbury brand. These artisanal companies are hoping to target the younger Indian audience who don’t have strong ties to the British chocolate company, or for a simpler explanation, have more impressionable taste buds.

An advantage that Indian chocolate producers could have is the ability to use locally grown cacao, instead of relying on imported beans. With a range of biomes within the Indian subcontinent, there are likely many regions that could produce different cacao varietals.

Hopefully, the bean to bar movement in India continues to rise in popularity and ethical-sourcing remains a priority.

One such popular company is Socklet. Bartalks’ Nick Baskett met the founding brothers at Chocoa in 2020 who explained that they started in their kitchen, without any specialist equipment. They just wanted a way to improve the profit from their cacao farm by adding value through the chocolate-making process. They also may have indicated that a little alcohol was consumed during the decision-making process, but we couldn’t possibly comment! https://soklet.in

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