Our business depends on cocoa

We care about sustainability and farmer livelihoods

Controlled fermentation


While traditional techniques on the cocoa farm rely on spontaneous fermentation, Barry Callebaut has developed an innovative method to control and optimize cocoa fermentation. 

In addition to careful bean selection and handling, this technique involves adding a 100% natural fermentation mixture to the cocoa beans at the start of the process (picture). By contrast, conventional fermentation leaves some of the beans poorly fermented – which have to be removed manually. The technology also intensifies cocoa flavors – key attributes of premium chocolate – and helps to preserve healthy functional components which are naturally present in the cocoa bean.

This new technique has been introduced to 9,000 cocoa farmers combined with training sessions. The greater quantity and superior quality of the cocoa also result in higher farmer incomes.

Barry Callebaut sells chocolate made from these beans. Terra Cacao™ chocolate is made from beans from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and West Java and has won several innovation awards. In 2013, we also launched three pure-flavor chocolate couvertures made with “Q-fermented” cocoa under the Cacao Barry™ brand.

Our controlled fermentation project in Côte d'Ivoire is supported by funding from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF).