Taza Chocolate celebrates milestone, shines light on industry

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Taza Chocolate
Source: Taza Chocolate

Related tags Chocolate

Taza Chocolate is celebrating the release of one million pounds of finished goods and its best year since it set out in 2005 to make “stone ground chocolate that is seriously good and fair for all."

Co-founder and CEO Alex Whitmore acknowledges that one million pounds of chocolate may seem small compared to industry giants like Hershey that rolls out over a billion pounds a year, but it is momentous to a family-run business built on social and environmental responsibility, authenticity and transparency.

“The million-pound milestone we passed in 2021 was a goal we had that enabled us to have a greater impact economically,”​ he says.

“It of course starts with a big impact on our cocoa farmer community with our Direct Trade cocoa bean purchasing program. We are also able to employ a greater number of people here in Somerville and other places around the country.”

A pioneer in ethical cacao sourcing

Whitmore opened the Taza factory in Somerville, MA, with his wife and Taza Chief Design Officer Kathleen Fulton soon after learning how to make stone ground chocolate from molineros​ in Oaxaca, Mexico. Since then, the business has grown to 40 different products crafted with organic premium cacao beans that are sustainably sourced and minimally processed using traditional Mexican stone mills.

“No lab grown stuff here,”​ Whitmore says, adding that “Taza has always been certified organic, vegan and Direct Trade.”

Early on, Taza cut out intermediary cacao brokers and launched the chocolate industry’s first third-party certified Direct Trade sourcing program. It committed to paying small cacao producers at least $500 more per metric ton above the world market price, a 15 to 20% premium.

“Having this direct personal relationship gives us much greater control over quality, reduces supply chain challenges and establishes long-term partnerships with the families that make the primary ingredient we need to be successful,”​ Whitmore says.

Last year, Taza bought over 300 metric tons of beans for over $1 million, benefitting 2,269 farmers in Dominican Republic, Ghana and Haiti who are committed to fair labor and sustainable agroforestry practices. The company has published an annual transparency report since 2011, sharing key indicators and partner reports.

“Our hope is that by shining a light down the long roads in the cocoa supply chain we can make a more sustainable cocoa industry,”​ Whitmore says.

“The more consumers see companies like Taza show transparent pricing and trade practices, the more they will be expected and demanded of the large companies. Ultimately, this will create a better, more resilient cocoa supply chain and a stronger, healthier industry.”

Introducing certified-organic Haitian cacao

In 2015, Taza achieved another significant milestone. Partnering with cacao processor and exporter Produits des Isles SA (PISA) in the North of Haiti, it became the first chocolate maker to source organic-certified, premium Haitian cacao and bring it into the US.

“Taza was our first client, they were the first to give us a chance,”​ says Gilbert Gonzales, CEO at PISA.

“At the time, PISA was taking a big leap of trying to go for high quality fermented cacao. We were the first Haitian private entity to do this.”

The relationship has increased the visibility of Haitian chocolate in the US market and helped PISA expand its farmer network and business while significantly raising the farm gate price for producers.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Flavor technology for bold, bright citrus flavors

Flavor technology for bold, bright citrus flavors

Content provided by ADM: Gain an Edge with Global Consumer Trends | 09-May-2023 | Case Study

Our collaborative global team of expert citrus flavorists combines technology and experience to make ADM the full-service partner you need to shape your...

Drinking with our eyes first

Drinking with our eyes first

Content provided by Lycored | 28-Apr-2023 | Product Brochure

Whether flavored waters, sports drinks, juices, mocktails or low alcoholic beverages, the beauty behind coloration doesn’t just lie in visual appeal, but...

Energy Drinks That Perform on Every Level

Energy Drinks That Perform on Every Level

Content provided by ADM | 18-Apr-2023 | Infographic

As the number of energy options for consumers continues to grow, best-in-class innovation allows your brand to stand out. From adventurous and fresh flavor...

Fiber, the Original Gut Health Ingredient

Fiber, the Original Gut Health Ingredient

Content provided by Brightseed Inc | 18-Apr-2023 | White Paper

Gut health is in the spotlight as consumers take control of their own wellness, and fiber is taking center stage.

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more