Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 4930 producer profile chocolate," McCollum says. "We had to take a step back." Rather than completely give up on manufacturing chocolate in Madagascar, they looked at what they'd learned and how it could be applied when they tried again. They wanted to come out stronger, not make the same mistakes. "We are absolutely devoted and attached and committed to the model of manufacturing locally, but it had to be set up from a much different starting point," McCollum says. "Basically, every reason people say you can't manufacture in Africa —when we were starting the business, we didn't know what those were—but by day one thousand we'd experienced all of them firsthand." There was not enough locally-based, open-minded talent, he says. There were issues with infrastructure, energy, and political corruption. At the same time, they had also seen some progress, fueling enough confidence that under different circum- stances they could mitigate all the risks. In 2015, the partners decided to move the production side to Italy for two years or so, until they could build a more sizeable factory with the right layout in Madagascar. "You can't retro-engineer quality con- trol into a factory that's poorly designed," McCollum says of the transition. The Next Stage In the interim, Beach left the company and is now working with another chocolate com- pany in Africa. McCollum expects the new factory in Madagascar to be operational by August 2018, allowing Madécasse to double its volume and grow 40 to 60 percent per year. That also means doubling the number of farmer-suppliers from 85 to at least 160. Currently, Madécasse produces eight 2.64-ounce/75-gram bars that retail for $4.50, in varieties like Sea Salt & Nibs Dark Chocolate, Honey Crystal Dark Chocolate, and Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate. Ingredients are organic, certified Direct Trade; and non-GMO. The brand is carried in 2,000 outlets in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australia. The company also has three SKUs of bulk chocolate and four SKUs of vanilla extract and beans. "We've seen the impact in the villages," he says of their program, in which farm- ers earn 50 percent more than they used to. "They're thriving, not just surviving." Thatched huts are bigger, he's observed, and things that were once prohibitive, like buying paper and pencils for students, are now possible. "It started as a humanitarian venture to change the world, and that's a good story," says McCollum, "but what's more impor- tant for the success of our product is that it tastes better." And forget the song, "New York, New York," he added with a laugh. "If you can make it in Madagascar, you can make it anywhere." TIM MCCOLLUM Age: 40 Years in specialty food: 10 Favorite food: Sausage Least favorite food: Kale Last thing I ate and loved: Thick cut bacon for breakfast this morning If I weren't in the food business I'd be: A (very bad) diplomat in the foreign service. One piece of advice I'd give to a new food business: Don't take my advice. Build the type of business you were put on this earth to build. 62 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com Julie Besonen writes for The New York Times and is a restaurant columnist for nycgo.com.

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