Madecasse Cinnamon & Sakay from MadagascarBy
Madecasse is a chocolate operation set up in 2008 by two former Peace Corps volunteers, Brett Beach and Tim McCollum. Their mission is to create more of a social impact in Madagascar. By growing and then producing the chocolate in Madagascar, more of the money stays in the country, jobs are created, and, according to Madecasse, four times the impact is generated. This should be the Peace Corps’ mission, shouldn’t it?
I classify a chocolate bar’s ‘nationality’ based on the location of its headquarters. Nestle is a Swiss company. Its head offices are in Switzerland, but as it’s a multinational, it has manufacturing facilities and regional headquarters around the world. Nestle bars made in Australia particularly for the Australian market, such as the Nestle Club range, are considered Australian. Okay, that’s an easy one. Nestle has executive offices and manufacturing operations in Australia. But what about Bloomberry? This is a New Zealand company not shy about telling everyone its chocolate is Swiss made. We classified this as New Zealand because the Swiss manufacturer is not identified and the Swiss angle is clearly a marketing ploy. Swiss-made is not essential to Bloomberry’s brand. They could start making the chocolate in Timbuktu tomorrow and leave the packaging the same.
So what about Madecasse? Madecasse LLC is an entity registered in Brooklyn, New York, USA. The two founders spend most of their time in the USA. In a 2010 alumni profile on co-founder Brett Beach by Loyola Marymount University, it was mentioned that Brett only spends several weeks a year in Madagascar, but he explains why. “The real value is talking to the people who buy the chocolate in the Western world.” He’s right. Only tiny amounts of the chocolate Madecasse produces are consumed by the local economy. Africans can’t afford it. Madecasse chocolate is actually produced by another bean-to-bar manufacturer known as Cinagra. Cinagra is undeniably a Madagascan operation. Isn’t Madecasse just a repeat of the Bloomsberry example, the chocolate being made in one country for antoher market?
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