The Conference offers a platform to various stakeholders in the cocoa and chocolate industry



Meet cocoa growers, suppliers and service providers from 5 continents and participate in a debate on the edge of innovation and sustainability! What are the new trends and market developments? 

The 2015 Chocoa Conference will be held on Friday March 6th.  Featuring key note speakers from all over the world representing various market segments, the Conference is at the forefront of innovations in sustainable and high quality cocoa and chocolate.

The aim of Chocoa is to stimulate the production and consumption of sustainable cocoa and chocolate. Large manufacturers and distributors of chocolate are committing themselves more and more to the principles of sustainable cocoa. In 2010 the Dutch Government signed a voluntary agreement with large companies aiming for a 100 per cent sustainable cocoa consumption in The Netherlands by 2025. How far are they with achieving those goals?

The theme of the third Chocoa Conference is Market differentiation: The missing middle in the cocoa sector”. Niche markets and mainstream cocoa have always coexisted in the cocoa sector. There are large differences in views on quality and sustainability between and within these segments. But what is in between the niche and the large consumer markets? Is there a middle segment in the cocoa sector? What does a mid-market in cocoa and chocolate look like? How do the parties involved relate to other market segments? What impact could it have on the development of higher prices for cocoa products, allowing better livelihoods for cocoa producers? 

The Chocoa Conference will discuss the potential and challenges of different market segments for quality and sustainability, thereby exploring the potential of the mid-market in the cocoa sector. See also the programme below.

This year, the Chocoa Conference will not only provide a platform for discussion on sustainability and quality. The Conference will be part of the Chocoa Trade Fair, allowing the participants to get in direct contact with cocoa producers from all over the world. 

The ambition of the Chocoa Conference is to bring about more than just a one-off discussion. During the first edition of Chocoa, the Royal Tropical Institute launched the Cocoa Connect website, a digital platform where knowledge about sustainable cocoa and networks is being shared. The results of these discussions have been presented during Chocoa's Conference 2014.

Missed it last year or want to refresh your memories? Read the report or view the presentations on the Cocoa Connect website.

Register now for the Chocoa Conference 2015! The programme below will be regularly updated. To receive updates on the speakers as they are being confirmed, click here.


If you want to speak at the Conference, benefit from the discount tickets for NGOs and scientific institutions or for any other question feel free to send us an email.



Friday March 6th 2015
Time 09.30 - 18.00

The Chocoa Conference is organised in collaboration with the Royal Tropical Institute and will take place in the Beurs van Berlage. This historical building, located in the heart of Amsterdam, was originally used as a commodity exchange center. 

De Beurs van Berlage | Damrak 243 | 1012 ZJ Amsterdam

To receive updates on the speakers as they are being confirmed, email us



Buy Tickets


Looking for a hotel in Amsterdam during Chocoa? book a room against a special Chocoa rate at Hilton Double Tree. 

Or at the Exchange Hotel, across the Beurs van Berlage. Please mention the Chocoa promotion code.  



Market differentiation: The missing middle in the cocoa sector

The central theme of the third Chocoa Conference is market differentiation, exploring the potential of the mid-market for quality and sustainable cocoa and chocolate.

Niche markets and mainstream markets have always coexisted in the cocoa sector. Is there anything in between? What does a mid-market in cocoa and chocolate look like? What impact could it have on the development of higher prices for cocoa products, allowing better livelihoods for cocoa producers?




10.00     Opening by Jack Steijn, Director of Chocoa

10.15     Impact of scale on market differentiation and innovation

·       Market concentration and the consequences for sustainability

Speaker:  Lucas Simons (CEO, New Foresight)

·       Experiences with the mid-market: exploring the possibilities

Speaker: Arjen Boekhold (Chain director, Tony’s Chocolonely)

·       Efforts to move to a higher market segment by producing countries specialized in mainstream cocoa  

Speaker: Brigitte Laliberté (Cocoa of Excellence/Bioversity International)

11.20     COCOA BREAK

11.50     Stretching the market for cocoa products?

·       Developing a mid-market: Learning from beer

Speaker: Johan Swinnen (University of Leuven, invited)

·       Stretching the market for cocoa products

Nitin Chordia Loonchand (Business analyst/chief tasting officer Chocotrait, India)
Juan Patricio Navarro (Head of Pro-Ecuador Netherlands)
Arnold Noorduijn (Initiator of single Finca Medellin Secret)
David Klingen (Ghee Easy)


13.00     LUNCH BREAK

14.00     The consumer at the helm?

·       Impact: Reaching more or focussing on the few?

Debaters: Philipp Kauffmann (CEO, Original Beans) and Bart van der Linden (WCF)

·       Information: How to correctly inform the consumer?  

Debaters: Lars Saquero Moller (CEO, Ingemann, Nicaragua) and Frank Mechielsen (Oxfam Novib)
Moderator: Anna Laven (Royal Tropical Institute – KIT)

15.00     COCOA BREAK

15.30     Progress on sustainability: The cocoa Barometer - Keynote

Speaker: Antonie Fountain (Coordinator, The Voice Network)

15.40     Are we running out of cocoa? - Debate

·       Panellists:
Pamela Thornton (CC+ Fund)
Laurent Pipitone (Director of Economics and Statistics Division, International Cocoa Organization –ICCO)
Han de Groot (CEO, UTZ Certified),
Friedel Huetz-Adams (Südwind)
Alex Bruijnis (Ministry of Economic Affairs)
Moderator: Lucas Simons (CEO, New Foresight)

·       Closing remarks by Jack Steijn (Chocoa) and Anna Laven (Senior Advisor, Royal Tropical Institute- KIT)