Fine Flavour Cocoa


There are two distinct, broad categories of cocoa beans in the world market: Fine Flavour Cocoa (FFC) and Bulk Cocoa (BC). While there is no set of universally acceptable parameters that differentiate FFC from BC, there are general differences between the two markets worth noting as summarized in the table above.

The main factors that separate both markets are source and quality.  Generally, FFC are produced from top quality criollo or trinitario varieties and used in fine chocolates; while BC are produced from forastero varieties and used in ordinary chocolate. There is an exclusive list of countries with designated fine, flavour status that meet stringent criteria set by ICCO’s (International Cocoa Organization) panel of industry experts. So far, 17 countries have been given the fine flavour status.


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Cocoa content can be as little as 12% in a bulk milk chocolate product but as much as 99% in a specialty dark chocolate bar. The higher the cocoa content, the more important the quality of the cocoa becomes to the final product flavour. In chocolate markets across the world, recent trends are seeing darker chocolate and higher-quality confections become growing sectors of the market. While demand for FFC is soaring, its production has steadily declined in recent years because most research has been focused on creating hybrids that are higher-yielding and more pest-resistant. The trinitario and criollo varieties, while renowned for their fine flavour notes, are typically less vigorous and lower yielding that the forastero hybrids used in bulk cocoa. Although buyers are often willing to pay double or triple the price of BC for FFC, these premiums often fail to reach farmers and thus provide little incentive for farmers to maintain less-productive varieties.

Oro aims to promote the cultivation of fine flavour cocoa in the Philippines. We believe that with sufficient volume, proper post-harvest processing and rigorous quality control and traceability, FFC can deliver significant value for farmers. We are currently working in partnership with farmers and cooperatives across the country to improve methods of cultivation and fermentation. We are also one of the buyers in the country to pledge different price premiums based on variety and quality. In addition, we are committed to spreading greater awareness and appreciation for fine, flavour cocoa to encourage everyone to join us in building a sustainable FFC local industry that can soon compete with the top quality cocoa beans in the world.

  (L-R):   Engr. Edwin Banquerigo (  ARD DTI Davao);   Kelly Go (  Oro   Managing Director); Marceline Alcantara (ARD DTI IV-A).

(L-R): Engr. Edwin Banquerigo (ARD DTI Davao); Kelly Go (Oro Managing Director); Marceline Alcantara (ARD DTI IV-A).

  Participants at the Regional Cacao Industry Convergence for CALABARZON.

Participants at the Regional Cacao Industry Convergence for CALABARZON.

In fact, one of our Managing Directors, Kelly Go, gave a presentation about this exact topic at the Regional Cacao Industry Convergence for CALABARZON on Aug 17, 2016. It was only then that we found out that San Jose, Batangas was the exact location where cacao was first planted in 1670. Many of the farmers at the conference showed great enthusiasm to turn CALABARZON into the fine, flavour capital of the coutnry. Slowly yet surely, we will uncover more about our long history of cacao and place the Philippines on the map as a producer of FFC!