Sweet like chocolate

Euromar is combining excellence in cocoa products with an adventurous plan to run its processing site on alternative energy

Euromar Commodities Gmbh supplies various companies in the confectionary sector with semi-finished cocoa products such as cocoa powder, butter and liquor. Based in Fehrbellin, Germany, it was founded in 2003 and has quickly established itself as a major player in the industry. The 50,000 tonnes of cocoa beans that are being produced each year are split up between its domestic market, Europe, and the rest of the world. That figure is set to increase further under the stewardship of Peter Johnson, the company’s chief executive officer and co-founder. With ambitions to supply the world’s biggest chocolate and bakery companies, a number of developments are either underway or in the pipeline. The most ambitious is perhaps the plan to make the company’s processing plant energy self-sufficient.

“We have an aggressive green programme, and we are currently in the process of converting our factory so it runs on, and produces its own, alternative energy. This will be made possible via a combination of bio-gas, and wind and solar energy, alongside energy conservation and recovery projects. This project will be occurring in stages, which we hope to have finished in the first quarter of 2009,” Peter says.

With grave warnings over the damage that is being done to the planet, the move to near carbon neutral operations is one that is likely to be acknowledged as a blueprint for manufacturing in the future. Peter is insistent that it is an issue that the world’s companies must address – or face criticism, saying: “We feel that the energy crisis will only increase, as will the consciousness of the consumers. There is a growing trend for produce that has been made in an environmentally friendly, and economical fashion. By delivering this we will be well positioned in the market place.”

As well enjoying the benefits of being recognised as an environmentally aware organisation, Peter believes that this move will also increase profits. “From a financial point of view we will be in a far more secure position due to the fact we will
have close to a net zero per cent consumption and production of typical energy sources. When the investment is complete we will be a stronger company because of the drop in our energy costs – we realise that alternative methods are far more economically viable,” he comments

The company’s social awareness is also apparent from its relationships with its suppliers. “We are part of the World Cocoa Foundation, which is an organisation that is making a conscious effort to improve the quality of farmer’s lives in the developing world, whilst at the same time maintaining a sustainable supply chain. We also run a programme called Project Dream in Ecuador through our sister company Transmar Ecuador.

The scheme involves supporting communities through advantageous pricing, free farming supplies and training to increase the income of specific regions of cocoa,” Peter says.

While forging links abroad, Peter has been driving the business forward from the company’s base. A recent expansion to the factory has been completed and further work is scheduled in 2008. When complete, the plant’s capacity will increase to 100,000 tonnes a year – double the current limit. Costing 15 million euros, it is hoped that the extra produce will push Euromar into further markets. “It is a very exciting and dynamic market,” Peter enthuses. “There is fantastic growth in the chocolate related markets, in particular in the Far East and South America. In addition the pace of growth in the European and Eastern Bloc markets is changing the overall supply and demand dynamics of the industry. It is very demanding but it also provides great opportunities,” he continues.

The next few years look promising; despite health warnings, the market it operates within is the still growing. Euromar has put itself in a position to take advantage of that with an expansion to its processing plant that will both double capacity and slash energy costs. It is, therefore hoped that the current turnover of 110 million euros can be increased. Looking ahead, Peter concludes: “Worldwide consumption of chocolate is continuing to rise, and the prices of semi-finished goods that go into chocolate are at historically high levels. I think that overall the chocolate market will continue to grow at an above average rate, and the focus going forwards will be on supply.” If that is the case then, appropriately enough, the future looks sweet.

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