The Spirit of Costa Rican Fine Chocolate
Limon Province and Heredia, Costa Rica 2018
Introduction, Background and Executive Summary
A revolution is underway in the global trade and production of quality cacao beans into nutritious, fine craft chocolate. For centuries, the raw material producers of cacao in the tropics did not process the finest chocolate-making machinery like the rest of the world.
From January 2019, a strategic alliance between two Costa Rican professionals (a plantation agronomist – Moises Gomez) and his wife (Catalina Valerio – a processing engineer) with a Canadian multinational business executive (Robert Stewart) and Monacan investor (Machteld Schrama) join forces to create the world’s first vertically integrated plantation-to-fine-chocolate processing company operating in Costa Rica.
Breaking this North-South global market divide by integrating a 4,000-year-old source of traditional cacao beans with the finest chocolate production marks a dramatic departure in the world of cacao/cocoa/chocolate.
A line in the sand will be drawn between an industrial product today consisting mainly of soya and poor quality non-Latin American cacao beans, manufactured under modern industrial processes in the Northern Hemisphere and sold to a global mass market will be challenged by a healthy, nutritious, locally-processed chocolate from its own exceptional plantation cacao beans in Costa Rica. Cacao are beans from the original tree and their ingredients kept intact with full nutritional value. Cocoa is the overly-processed beans, usually in the form of powder and heavily mixed with refined sugar and other ingredients.
Industrial chocolate consists of overdoses of unhealthy, refined and addictive sugar, soya additives, chemicals and false advertising. The new craft product will promote a healthy ‘Super Food’ using pure traditional cacao beans and raw sugar cane based on a formula which sustained Central American peoples for many millennia. We call it “La Pura Vida”, Costa Rica’s contribution to a true, honest, and healthy food product coming from the finest original beans, with no manmade additives or extractions.
Catalina’s fine chocolates will be produced by the world’s first company to own and operate its own 70-200 hectare cacao plantation and process a finished craft chocolate to be run by the family of Moises and Catalina Gomez-Valerio.
The quality artisan chocolate market had a great revival in Europe and North America between the end of the ‘90s and early 2000 thanks to the extraordinary ability of some chocolatier colleagues who were the first to educate the consumer about the diversity of the cacao origins, the cultivation techniques and processing but also and above all the organoleptic and nutritional/medicinal qualities of chocolate.
The artisan chocolate market experienced a few years of interesting growth, inducing the industry to differentiate itself and to address the issues that were previously exclusively promoted by small chocolatiers. On the shelves of supermarkets began to appear single origin chocolates, different percentages of cocoa, spices … the differentiation themes began to be diluted and the crisis of the artisanal quality market began.
This crisis lasted for a few years with weak and very risky attempts at differentiation. After a few years, many chocolatiers were downsized, some had to close, the most interesting forced to sell to large companies. What was missing was the ability to innovate, to remain a precursor, to know how to communicate diversity.
Raw cacao beans: The last few years witnessed the flowering of new initiatives that, following the model of what is happening in the US and in the Anglo-Saxon market, are following new paths of differentiation.
The new eldorado seems to be the “bean to bar” and “pure, raw chocolate”. On the widespread recent interpretation of the “bean to bar” there are strong doubts about the quality of the final result and the alleged control of the supply chain if one doesn’t own the plantation beans, ferment them oneself and process them to completion.
Regarding the theme of raw chocolate: there is a serious problem of how it is currently defined (chocolate in which the temperature of 42 degrees is not exceeded throughout the supply chain and throughout the production process), raw chocolate (as defined) does not exist. In our opinion there are reasons that imply the impossibility:
– The temperature of cacao in fermentation is certainly higher than 42 degrees and cannot be so punctually controlled;
– The bacterial load without a rise in temperature can be very dangerous;
– If there is no third body that can check and certify what is declared by the raw producers throughout the supply chain then there are reasons for opportunities:
– Only through exceptionally controlled fermentation is it possible to make available the nutrients and functional capabilities of cacao;
– Roasting, although light, is necessary to develop the aromatic notes of cacao.
The goal of the raw food approach is to preserve as much as possible the nutrients and functional properties of the cacao raw material used in the first place. To sum up, we think this fundamentalist approach is wrong because: it cannot be applied, it cannot be certified, it is counterproductive to the stated objectives, it does not guarantee food safety, and the process followed does not lead to an organoleptic quality.
Raw bar: We believe instead that it is possible to achieve the objectives stated by the raw food approach using well-fermented cacao beans, toasted for a short time and not too high temperatures, working cold chocolate without conceal and that this approach allows us to have a good product, safe and with highly functional properties.
This is why we called it pure CATALINA Fine Chocolate. It consists of only agricultural raw materials, cacao and raw sugar cane, which are worked as little as possible. A direct, aromatic and persistent chocolate which is organic, cold worked, and gluten-free.
The CATALINA plantation is located in NE Costa Rica alongside the Tortuguero National Park and the Caribbean Sea. This was for centuries, the cradle of the cacao bean which sustained Central America as a currency, a highly nutritional drink and a food rich in minerals, vitamins and many other healthy anti-oxidant nutrients. An automated Italian FBM production line will process the beans into a world-class fine chocolate for export.
Grown on the volcanic soils in a tropical rain forest, this traditional approach returns to the centuries-old formula of using two ingredients only: all of the cacao mass, butter and liquor contents of its original pure Criollo and Triniterio beans blended with local, pure, raw sugar cane filled with additional energy nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Varying in cacao/cane sugar combinations up to 70/30%, CATALINA will produce four chocolate varieties: a pure, dark, craft chocolate; milk chocolate; mid-range chocolates mixed with fruits/nuts/herbs; and white chocolate.
The product will be sold to consumers directly and for further use in pastries and other products. The products support good health to avoid sugar addiction, diabetes and obesity. Children will be introduced to a healthy chocolate avoiding addictive and refined beet sugar. The worst outcome from eating 95% of today’s industrial chocolates which cause most of the Northern Hemispere’s health challenge: heart attacks and acute coronary disease. There is a reason craft chocolate is called “The Medicine of the Gods”.
The entire operation will be built, owned, operated and controlled by the group. Moises Gomez is a professional agronomist and expert with the International Cocoa Organization in London for 11 years, advising growers worldwide in growing better cacao. He has perfected the fermentation and drying of the beans rarely seen in industrial chocolate production anywhere in the world.
The use of the very high quality, fermented Criollo and Triniterio beans, grown for centuries in the Western Hemisphere, is in stark contrast to the lower quality and less-controlled Forastero beans from other continents which make up +80% of industrial chocolate production blended with other contents lacking nutritional value.
Moise is overseeing the planting of 70-200 hectares of cacao trees as well as helping other local plantation growers to achieve the same high results in their beans throughout Costa Rica and the region.
Some of these acceptable beans will be blended with the family-owned plantation-sourced beans. FBM in Legnano, Italy are the chocolate machine manufacturers who are providing the entire processing line.
Catalina Valerio, wife of Moises and mother of their two boys, is a graduate process engineer who has managed the family banana and dairy farm on 600 hectares. She will manage the factory processing the beans into fine chocolate varieties for sale domestically and into the high-end European and North American markets. The products are named for her.
Few other companies will produce an equivalent high-quality chocolate from world-class beans and no other company will have a vertically integrated company owning the entire process from plantation to bar. Eugenia Valerio acts as the in-house legal counsel for the company in Costa Rica. Reg Olson (USA) is our civil, electrical and mechanical engineer assisting with the plant design, layout and operations.
This will not only be a world first, but the only factory (in Heredia near San Jose) to grow the beans in the country of origin, and also process them into the high, value-added finished products for export.
For centuries, cacao growing and chocolate production have been separated into different ownerships and operations, causing a dysfunctional market which does not support local farmers, improve the quality of crops, sustain a fair price to farmers or promote anti-slavery amongst children in Third World settings.
Catalina’s workers will be fully integrated into the company’s long-term growth strategy with support in employment, training, wages and family life. This is a far cry from present conditions worldwide in spite of efforts by Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance and other organizations purporting to support farmers but rarely passing on verifiable benefits. It is one of Catalina’s key building blocks.
Robert Stewart (Laren, Netherlands) and Maggie Schrama (Monte Carlo, Monaco) will oversee CATALINA’s product distribution worldwide through chocolateries dealing in fine quality products, high end hotels, restaurants, airlines, coffee shops, wine outlets, supermarkets, health/fitness centres, and networks that support genuine fine chocolate.
These will start in Europe with Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, Monaco, other EU countries and progress to sales in North America, the Middle East and Asia. Children will be taught to eat non-addictive, non-obesity forming and non-diabetes related industrial chocolates in which sugar plays a devastating role in contributing to these serious diseases including cardiological impact.
These conditions represent the three largest health problems worldwide, especially in Europe and North America. Given the highly addictive impact of refined white beet sugar and other substances found in over 95% of a modern industrial product falsely marketing itself as a ‘chocolate’, CATALINA fine chocolates will offer the opposite.
Description of a multi-phased production line of processing cacao into fine chocolate.
CATALINA will lead a revolution in creating a fine, craft chocolate which is highly nutritional, healthy and safe for all age groups. High quality fine chocolate which contains in all of its original beans including the total cacao mass, butter and liquor, has been proven in hundreds of clinical trials to provide a healthy, nutritional, even medicinal food product. CATALINA fine chocolates will be labelled and branded as ‘Super Food’.
Years of scientific, laboratory research projects by Dr. Stephen Gundry (California, USA), Dr. David Katz (Yale University, USA), Dr. Rob Verkerk (Dorking, UK), and nutritionists Suzie Sawyer (a UK dietary advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office) and Meleni Aldridge (UK), have consistently proven that +70% pure cacao products contain the following healthy positives:
- Fine dark chocolate has excellent antioxidant properties, is rich in flavonoids, which are naturally forming from the original cacao. The primary antioxidants present in fine, dark chocolate include catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins.
- Chocolate reduces platelet aggregation, particularly due to its epicatechin content. This reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- It lowers blood pressure, better renal function, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as cardiovascular mortality.
- In addition, the antioxidant effect of cacao directly influences insulin resistance, thus reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Furthermore, cacao consumption stimulates changes in redox-sensitive signalling pathways involved in gene expression and the immune system, thus boosting the immune system.
- Cacao protects nerves from injury and inflammation.
- It protects skin from ultraviolet-induced oxidative damage.
- It improves cognitive function and mood.
- The major benefit of eating chocolate is to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction. In patients who already suffered from myocardial infarction, eating chocolate twice a week reduced the risk of mortality from heart diseases by 66% compared to the group that never consumed chocolate.
- Chocolate may also be effective in reducing blood pressure as well as improving flow of blood through the arteries preventing atherosclerosis.
- Chocolate consumption on a regular basis lowers triglycerides and improves blood level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- Preeclampsia is a major complication of pregnancy with cardiovascular manifestation and can be alleviated with dark chocolate intake.
- The recommended daily intake is not more than 25 g of dark chocolate per day is recommended for prevention of heart diseases and to obtain optimal health benefits.
- Milk chocolate is rich in calcium for healthy bones and teeth, but eating milk and/or white chocolate other than for enjoyment and taste provides only little benefit. It is recommended that milk chocolate not be consumed because milk proteins may inhibit absorption of antioxidant flavonoids present in chocolate.
The FBM Class of October 2018, in Legnano, Italy: Formation of the CATALINA Fine Chocolate company. The Members: Moises Gomez and Catalina Valeria kneel at the front. Standing at the right, Robert Stewart (Swiss/ Canadian) and Machteld Schrama (Dutch resident in Monaco) will add investment capital and marketing support for the company.
Giuseppe Dichiano (in red), General Manager of FBM is overseeing the design and manufacture of the modern, new processing line which will start in the first year with 40/100 tons per year and build up to 400/500 tons per year over five years.
Section One: The Business Description:
- The proposed business plan describes to process, financial statement and action plan to establish a cacao-processing facility in the city of Heredia, Costa Rica, with the view to produce fine cacao-based products such as dark, milk and white chocolate, cacao nibs and couverture, for export to the European and North American markets.
- Costa Rica currently has a total of 3,500 hectares of cacao planted in the country, with an annual production of 650 tonnes of dried cacao beans. According to the International Cocoa Organization Fine and Flavour Cocoa Panel, Costa Rica produces 100% fine or flavour cacao due to the genetics of the planting material available in the country (ICCO, 2015). Although there is evidence that the genetic root-stock of the planting material in the country is considered fine and flavour, there are still knowledge gaps in the postharvest management of the cacao beans (fermentation and drying) which prevents some cacao beans to reach their highest flavour and aroma potential. As a result, cacao beans produced in the country can still improve flavour characteristics.
- The project idea started with the establishment of a cacao plantation in the province of Limón, Costa Rica, which is a family-owned plantation. Through the selection of high quality planting material such as Trinitario and Criollo trees and other improved planting material developed by the Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), the plantation started with the establishment of 10 hectares of cacao from the year 2016 up to 2018. The total area destined for cacao production is estimated at 70 hectares, with the ability to expand the plantation to 200 hectares. Through a strict control of the production, fermentation and drying, the project will ensure the highest quality standards by developing and applying specific postharvest protocols for each cacao variety, which will allow us to develop unique flavour profiles for our wide range of proposed products.
- The project also expects to initially purchase cacao beans from other sources through the establishment of strategic partnerships with cacao producers in the country who have proven fine cacao Through our knowledge of the Costa Rican cacao sector, the project has identified potential cacao-producers who also apply strict postharvest protocols and are already selling dried cacao beans to craft chocolate manufacturers such as Dandelion, Potomac and SOMA in North America, and also to award winning chocolate makers in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
- The second phase of the project is the establishment of a cacao processing facility in the city of Heredia, province of Alajuela. It is expected that within the first five years of the project, the plant will reach a processing capacity of approximately 250-300 tonnes of dried cacao beans per year. The plant will source at least 50% of all cacao beans from the farm if the plantation is extended to 200 hectares. The plant expects to produce a range of cacao-based products using high quality raw material combined with some of the best craft-chocolate machines in the market. The high-end nature in the quality of these products allows the project to easily establish itself in international niche markets.
- The processing facility will produce a range of cacao-based products for different consuming markets. The core principal of this project is to use the best quality raw materials to produce exquisite flavour cacao and chocolate products which also provide a health-benefits. To allow the production of these fine products, the company will ensure full traceability of the cacao beans from the farm source to the processing plant. Strict quality controls will be applied to all cacao bean sources, whether it’s from its own cacao plantation, or from other cacao bean producers in the country.
- The ability to source fine flavour cacao beans from several parts of Costa Rica will allow the project to offer a range of flavours and qualities, serving a wide number of consumers and market ranges. Originally, the project will focus on four products: dark, milk and white chocolates (various presentations) as well as couverture for the pastry and restaurant markets.
- The main features of our project will be based on the flavour and health benefits of the product. From the organoleptic point of view, the project will generate fine flavour chocolates with a description of the geographic origins, the type of beans used, type of fermentation and roasting profile, and other information which will inform the consumer of its uniqueness and quality of the products. From a health point of view, the project will work with a community of scientists and food-chemistry experts to describe nutritional content and develop the health benefit information about the products, ensuring full transparency in our communication and marketing strategy.
- There will be a second line of products which is aimed for a more “commercial” consumers, which is chocolate products with lower cocoa content such as milk and white chocolates. These products will be marketed in hotels, banks, coffee shops, as a complementary product served with hot beverages (mainly coffee). A third line of product will be developed once the processing plant is fully operational. This line of products will be aimed for children and those wanting to start consuming fine chocolate products with higher cacao content. The project believes that “training pallets” is an essential strategy to ensure the long term sustainability of the project. We want to secure our consumers in the short and long term.
- An additional service that this project will offer to consumers is assurance that our project has social responsibility through our close collaboration with farmers’ groups and cooperatives from which we will source some of the cacao. At present, there a more than 12 cooperatives operating in Costa Rica. Some of these cooperatives produce Trinitario and Criollo cacao beans. However, due to their lack of knowledge about adequate post-harvest practices, most of these cacao beans do not reach their potential and are sold as bulk cacao beans with a discounted price.
- To add to this situation, there are several middle-man who take advantage of this situation and buy cacao beans at a price lower than the international market prices. This model is not sustainable either for the farmers (and their families) or the manufacturers who rely on good quality beans. We will work in close collaboration with some of these coops to assist them in improving their processes and also ensuring a fair price for their cacao beans.
- Over the last decades the world chocolate market has experienced a steady increase in consumption. This increase in demand is partly due to new scientific information which shows that consumption of chocolates with high content of cacao (+70%), also known as dark chocolate, has a wide range of health benefits, from regulating blood pressure to reducing the risk of cancer. It is now widely recognized that cacao contains high levels of flavonoids, the same chemical compounds found in red wine and other food-products. This new range of chocolate products with higher cacao content, as opposed to the traditional confectionary product, is the major market driver for increase in consumption.
- Although the health benefits has being a major element in driving the increase in cacao and chocolate consumption worldwide, in recent years consumers in mature markets (mainly Europe and North America) are becoming more and more aware about the different qualities and organoleptic characteristics of the cacao bean origins. In addition, consumers are more aware about social and environmental aspects related to cacao production and manufacturing and are becoming more interested to know how cacao is produced and whether it meets basic standards of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). Our project will be able to “tick” the three boxes and ensure that this is communicated to our customers.
- Based on the experience of the project partners, there is an evident growing demand for higher quality chocolates in both the European and North American markets. More than ever, consumers are looking your unique and niche products to differentiate themselves. These products have to comply with ever more strict demands of social, environmental and economics sustainability for all those involve in the cacao and chocolate value chain.
- Costa Rica is a country that is able to project itself as a sustainable source of various products and is also a country committed to preserving its nature and all the resources that surround them. In the year 2012, Costa Rica took upon the challenge to become a Carbon Neutral country by 2021 (https://thecostaricanews.com/costa-rica-promotes-carbon-neutral-program-2021/). This environmental image, combined with other quality factors about or business model, will be a key marketing tool.
15. Although there are known chocolate brands in the European and North American markets, there is still not one well-known craft chocolate maker from Costa Rica in neither these markets. Considering the numerous factors that make Costa Rica and chocolate processing a unique product in various dimensions, there is a huge market potential for introducing and placing the first bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer made in La Pura Vida!
The first production of bars will be shipped to Europe and introduced to the Netherlands, United Kingdom and other EU markets. Distribution channels will be established with chocolate venders, supermarkets, wine boutiques, restaurants, hotels, airlines, duty-free shops, and on-line marketing supported by videos, photos and lengthy descriptions of the plantation and processing operations in Costa Rica. Robert Stewart will oversee marketing from Netherlands and Monaco. The product will be heavily advertised in print, television and video media throughout Europe as a healthy, nutritious and unconventional, pure chocolate.
Assistance with be provided from Gordon Taylor in the UK, Reg Olson in the US and others. Packaging, labelling, contents, definitions, descriptions, pricing and distribution will be determined at the outset to appeal to 1.) the children’s market, 2.) health products, 3.) high quality pure cacao and 4.) consumers of all ages. Once a packaging machine has been purchased and placed in Heredia, the designs for labelling and packing will be completed.
Two of Catalina’s European representatives will travel to the largest Chocolate Fair in the world (CHOCOA) on February 21/22, 2019 and meet with 3,000 people engaged in the cacao, cocoa, chocolate trade. https://www.chocoa.nl/ . As other cacao/chocolate trade fairs take place around the world, CATALINA’S Fine Chocolates will present the products.
Catalina’s Fine Chocolates will be imported into the EU at Rotterdam Import Duty Free and distributed throughout the UK, Netherlands and Monaco on the first test basis, then broadened as the market expands. https://www.cbi.eu/node/2690/pdf/ Import rules dictate strict adherence to EU production standards which Catalina’s Fine Chocolates are fully compliant. Inspection of facilities, complete description and written definition of the process and uniqueness into the EU market will be defined in accordance with EU regulations. https://www.cbi.eu/market-information/cacao/semi-finished-cocoa-products .
The decision to establish the processing facility in Heredia was taken for several strategic reasons. The proposed factory space located in the outskirts of the Costa Rican central valley, has access from various main national highways (Highway 1, 3 and 27) as well as other internal paved county roads, which will ensure access to cacao beans despite of any traffic problem. The location of Heredia is also a central point from the different cacao producing regions the project expects to source some of its beans, including the production from its own plantation, which is about 150 km, with the furthest point being 240 km. Heredia is also located near two points of export in Costa Rica.
Heredia is located 42 km from the Port of Caldera, the second largest port of Costa Rica. Secondly, Heredia is located about 30 km from Juan Santamaría International Airport, from where we expect to export most of our products. Finally, the government of Costa Rica announced the initial stages of evaluation and feasibility studies to build a new international airport in the city of Orotina, which is located about 26 Km from the city of Heredia, making it an ideal location for the project. It is expected that the new airport will be inaugurated in 2027.(https://www.elfinancierocr.com/economia-y-politica/nuevo-aeropuerto-de-orotina-estaria-operando-en-el-2027/SBY6YM6NKZENTBXSRSJJP5OMAI/story/).
The property where the processing plant will be established is also owned by a friend of the family, and has all permission needed from the local council to start a food-processing activities. The property has a total area of 5,000 mt2, which allows for the expansion of the processing facility in the future. The property has access to the national water and energy grid supplies (AyA & CNFL), with the respective meters in full operation and registered. To operate the equipment required for this project, consultation were made with the national power company (CNFL), who indicated that a Three-Phase power system is already installed on the property.
Due to the proximity and good access to the central valley area, most of the qualified labour available in Heredia or Alajuela for work on a daily basis. After consultation with CINDE, which is the Foreign Investment Agency of Costa Rica, they indicated that Heredia and the property described for the project qualifies within the criterion to establish a Free-Trade zone.
Although Costa Rica has a growing cacao and chocolate sector, most companies recently set-up in the country still do not manage the knowledge and quality requirements to reach an international markets. At present, there are more than 65 registered chocolate manufacturing companies working the Costa Rica. Some of these companies have positioned their products in the local markets and their marketing strategy is focused mainly on attracting tourist that visit the country. Other smaller projects attend local markets and produce “rustic” rather than artisan products. At present, only two companies (Nahua and Sibú) are exporting products in the USA and in Poland, with small volumes sold to a hand-full of chocolate shops. One of these two companies actually processes cacao liquor and butter, without managing the process of roasting and pre-grinding. All companies in Costa Rica are relying on a large manufacturer to obtain cacao butter, as their processes tend to be more commercial than craft.
Because cacao bean production in Costa Rica is relatively small (600 MT/year) compared to other countries in the region like Ecuador (280,000 MT/year), Peru (55,000 MT/year), Dominican Republic (40,000 MT/year), there are only a few chocolate manufacturers who work with Costa Rican cacao beans. There are examples of manufacturers in the USA such as Dandelion and Potomac and SOMA in Canada who are starting to source beans from Costa Rica, but still at very small volumes due to the costs of exporting small quantities. Being located in Costa Rica, our project is in a position to source the best cacao beans in the country and have direct control over the post-harvest and movement of the cacao beans to the processing facility, meaning we have full traceability.
Worldwide, there are thousands of craft chocolate manufacturers appearing both in the North American, Europe and Asia, which can be considered as direct competition. These companies, particularly those in the northern hemisphere have certain limitations. Although some of these companies have established themselves in niche chocolate markets, many of these companies rely on cacao producers in producing countries to obtain their raw material. This situation always presents a risks for these companies, as they have to rely on their suppliers to obtain the best quality beans. Most of these companies base their marketing strategy by highlighting the fine flavour of their chocolates, with some informing consumers about the true origin and type of cacao beans used.
There is a new “trend” in consumption of dark chocolate that looks to combine the quality of the product (flavour), social aspects (direct sourcing with a proven good price for cacao farmers) and environmental criterion (cacao produced under agro-forestry systems) which consumers are starting to look for in their products. Moreover, craft or artisan chocolate consumers are starting to recognize that the “colonial” model of purchasing raw material from “developing” countries to be processed in a developed or “rich” country is not as sustainable as it looks. Therefore, many consumers are looking for products which are produced and manufactured at origin country, arguing that a greater value of the product consumed stays in the country of origin.
In view of these situations, a proposed chocolate manufacturing facility in Costa Rica will address many of the concerns that consumers are looking for in their product. This, combined with information about health benefits, and a campaign aimed at improving consumption habits of children towards tasty but also healthier chocolate products, will set our brand and products above many possible competitors.
- Management and Operation
- The company and processing plant will be a family-owned business which will be operated by three members of the family as part of the General Board, including two investors from North America. In-line with new gender equality requirements, the company will operate with 90% female workers, with only around 10% of male workers.
- The administrative and legal obligations of the company will be managed by Eugenia Valerio Ellis. Eugenia has a BsSc degree in law from the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, as well as a PhD degree in International Contracts. Over the last 16 years, Eugenia took charge of many of the family agricultural businesses, such as a banana plantation with 200 hectares of production in 2001, followed by the management of the cattle ranch with over 600 livestock. Throughout this last 16 years, Eugenia has being able to obtain vast experience in the operation of the Costa Rican agricultural sector, with extensive knowledge on legal requirements and tax-law. She has being working with a team of external accountants and tax-advisers to ensure efficiency in the management of financial resources and compliance with tax regulations and requirements.
- The second member of the team is Catalina Valerio Ellis, the most beautiful woman in this world. Catalina has a BsSc degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and has being working with her sister Eugenia in the management and operation of the family farms. During the last six years, Catalina moved to London, United Kingdom, for five years (2013-2017) where she established a family. During her time in London, Catalina took several courses on chocolate manufacturers with high-end chocolatiers such as William Curley (https://www.williamcurley.co.uk/), the School of Culinary Arts of London and XXXXXX. Catalina shares a huge passions for food processing and food manufacturing, recently taking the chocolate making course at FBM Factory in Legnano, Italy. Catalina will be in charge of the overall operation of the processing plant, working on the area of processing and product development.
- Moisés Gómez has a BsSC degree in agronomy from EARTH University in Costa Rica (https://www.earth.ac.cr/en/). After graduation in December 2003, Moises moved to Ecuador, where he worked for one year at an organic banana farm, followed by a year working with a consultancy company in the area of capacity building with farmers’ coops. In mid-2006, Moises applied and successfully obtain the job as Project Officer for the International Cocoa Organization, based in London from 1973 up to 2017. During these 11 years as Project Officer, Moises worked with most cacao-producing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia and the worlds’ largest chocolate manufacturers (MARS, Mondelez, Barry Callebaut) and cocoa traders (Cargill, ADM, ECOM) in the formulation and implementation of cocoa development programmes around the world. Being the only Latin American citizen in the ICCO during those 11 years, Moises was also in charge of developing the supply chain for the fine and flavour cacao and chocolate markets.
- During this time, Moises gained vast knowledge in the fine chocolate world and continues to act as judge in international chocolate tasting events. Last year, he was selected as part of the Grand Jury for the ICA Chocolate Awards for Central America and Perú. This year, Moises was invited to both editions of this event, one which took place in mid-July in Lima, Peru, while the other is taking place from 1-5 December in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
- Since returning from the UK in October, 2017, Moises continued to be involved in cacao development project. He has done several consultancies for government and farmers groups, assisting them in the development of Programmes and Action Plan. From January to April 2018, Moises worked in close collaboration with the APEN (Association of Private Companies of Nicaragua) and the Nicaraguan government, to formulate activities within the national cacao plan. In addition, Moises has worked with the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA) on a capacity building programme for small/medium cacao cooperatives in Costa Rica to improve their capacity to produce and trade fine and flavour cacao, from production, to identification of fine and flavour cacao varieties, as well as developing models for centralized fermentation and drying facilities.
- In addition to this group, the company will hire the services of at least two or three additional operators that will assist the project in the processing of the cacao beans. These operators will be women and will be locally hired in order to improve job conditions in Heredia. As the processing plant increases volumes of processing through time, the project will increase the number of operators accordingly, ensuring they are women from Heredia.
Section Two: Financial Data (See Attached Tables in E-mail)
- Project Financial Statements
Cash Flow Statement
Assumptions to Project Financial Statements
- Break Even Analysis
- Source and Use of Fund
Section Three: Supporting Documents
Annex I. (See PDF document Attached to E-mail)
Picture I. Plant Design:
Table I. Remodelling Costs