Niche Cocoa Industry’s Chocolate Milk Drink To Support Ghana School Feeding
Ghanaian cocoa processing giant, Niche Cocoa Industry, is set to introduce its range of chocolate drink products on the Ghanaian market.
In a planned expansion of its business, Niche Cocoa intends to serve its own cocoa drink brand to the market in the West African nation with a population of over 30 million.
In a conversation with Kojo Hayford, editor of Cocoa Post, managing director of Niche Cocoa Industry, Mr Edmund Poku, said the installation of the production plant is expected to be completed in September this year.
The Niche chocolate milk or cocoa drink range will serve both the general consumer market and children.
“Yes, we have two types. Tetra Pak (180ml) for kids and 250ml PET (bottle) for the general market”, Mr Poku disclosed.
5.6 Million Pupils To Be Served
The government of Ghana under its School Feeding Programme intends to serve free cocoa drink to 5.6 million pupils at the kindergarten, primary and junior high levels.
That programme is expected to receive a massive boost with the introduction of the Niche Cocoa range of chocolate milk drink.
The Niche Cocoa boss said, “we are going to support the school feeding program.” The ready-to-drink cocoa beverage is to be served to pupils for 100 school days per year.
Approximately 9,350 schools in 261 districts are expected to benefit from the Free Cocoa Drink project.
The company’s novel business venture falls in line with a national policy targeted at boosting consumption of locally-made cocoa products.
Driving Local Cocoa Consumption
Cocoa consumption is woefully low in the country ranked as the second-largest producer of cocoa beans, with annual consumption rate per capita pegged at 0.5 kilogrammes.
But that narrative is being rewritten with an increasing local proceeding capacity, an emerging artisanal cocoa processing industry and a deliberate consumption promotion strategy by the sector regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board.
Niche has invested in top-of-the-range packaging technology by Sidel Group and a product design that delivers on convenience, attractiveness and affordability to serve a healthy and highly nutritious Ghana cocoa product to the populace.
“No other shelf-stable chocolate milk produced in Ghana is aseptically filled in PET bottles. Niche have always been an innovation-driven company with a regional focus, so opting for Sidel technology is an investment that reconfirms our values,” Mr Poku explained.
The Managing Director of Niche Cocoa, Mr Edmund Poku, said that the latest addition to its operation has been made possible, “thanks to a loan from the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO in autumn 2019, Niche Cocoa was able to purchase manufacturing equipment from Sidel, which will allow us to produce chocolate drinks.”
Niche Cocoa Industry was founded by Mr Poku in 2011 and produces high quality, semi-finished cocoa products for export, namely cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and cocoa cake.
The company also produces its own brand of chocolate bars with several flavour offerings.
In November 2019, Mr Poku led his company to make history by bagging five awards at the maiden edition of the Ghana Cocoa Awards, among them the Chocolate Brand of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year awards.