L Nitin Chordia, India’s No 1 certified Chocolate taster, Co-founder Cocoashala and Kocoat
L Nitin Chordia is a Sparing Partner and a Retail Business Consultant with over 15 years of experience in the Indian FMCG and Retail Domain. He got his certification in chocolate tasting from the International Institute of Chocolate Tasting, London.
Different tastes of chocolate
Chocolate can be of different tastes. It can be sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami. He tells us that the average Indian consumer might not be acquainted with the umami taste of chocolate.
Chocolate is one of the most consumed confectionery items in the world. It comes in different tastes and people can choose according to their preference. Every taste of chocolate is loved and has a high consumption rate. But have you ever thought about who decides what taste of chocolate would go into the market and what taste would not? Yes, there are people who are there to taste the chocolates and judge them so that you can have the best experience while eating your favorite chocolates. We have invited India’s first certified Chocolate taster for our show today, Mr. L. Nitin Chordia.
Mr. Chordia got his certification in chocolate tasting from the International Institute of Chocolate Tasting, London. He tells us that the candidates have to undergo training that has three levels. In the third level, they visit cacao farms to understand the whole process of chocolate production.
India’s production of cacao beans
Mr. Chordia tells us that India consumes 5% of the world’s total chocolate whereas it produces less than 1% of the world’s total cacao. However, we have the potential to cultivate more cacao. He adds that the popularity of palm oil in India is one of the reasons for less cacao production in our country. The land that could have been used for cacao production is being used in palm cultivation. Palm oil is a very lucrative crop and gives greater benefits to the farmers. Another reason he tells us is that the younger generation is not as into farming as the older generation.
How does Mr. Chordia contribute to increasing the cultivation of cacao beans?
Mr. Chordia tells us that he is trying to educate cacao farmers about the value of their produce. He says that the cacao farmers do not have many buyers. So he is helping them to understand and increase the value of their produce by opting for post-harvesting methods so that they can get better prices.
Cacao as a cash crop
The Cacao crop goes well with other crops. Whether it is multi-cropping or vertical cropping, cacao fits in very well. He tells us growing cacao with other crops actually benefits the farmers from a technical and financial perspective. There is no biodiversity challenge in growing cacao.
Why is ‘drinking chocolate’ still not as popular as tea and coffee?
Mr. Chordia tells us that drinking chocolate might not be as popular in India as it is in other countries. There are two major reasons for it. First, the temperature of our country and another one is the availability of pure chocolate. Mr. Chordia emphasizes that 96% of India consumes an alternative to chocolate which is called a compound. Unfortunately, we consume a reconstituted product which according to FSSAI cannot be called chocolate.
Chocolate – A premium product and the graph of its consumption
Mr. Chordia affirms that chocolate is a premium product if it is real chocolate because the raw material to produce pure chocolate is quite expensive. By substituting the expensive raw material, compounds are being created which are quite cheap. However, Mr. Chordia believes that consumption of chocolate will never go down, come what may.
Mr. Chorida tells us that while he was associated with a company called KSA Technopak, they were working on a project called Nature’s Basket. There he realized why certain management consultant projects fail. There he made up his mind to offer relevant consulting advice to his clients. In order to do that, he had to bring them to the same page he was on, before agreeing to a project. He tried this and the failure rates went down dramatically.
Mr. Chordia tells us that cacao by nature is circular, it has zero waste cycle, good for nature, and is highly sustainable. He adds that if you don’t even specify it, sustainability is always in the plan of growing cacao. However, Cocoashala has taken sustainability more seriously and given it a face so that the consumer can also know that what he is consuming is quite good for nature.
Kokoatrait was started in 2016 when Mr. Chordia organized virtual events. It was a club that was online but the events happening were offline. As the pandemic hit the country and India went into lockdown, the events also started to go online. In those events, Kokoatrait ships the chocolate boxes to its guests, and they all taste the chocolates for 90 minutes and discuss them.
India’s 1st certified Chocolate taster & Co-founder Cocoashala & Kocoatrait
L Nitin Chordia is a Sparing Partner and a Retail Business Consultant with over 15 years of experience in the Indian FMCG and Retail Domain. He has worked with several Indian and Global Retail/FMCG brands. His current consulting focus is Sustainability, Zero Waste & Circular Economy.
Nitin is India’s 1st Certified Chocolate Taster, Judge at the International Chocolate Awards, London, and a Cocoa Post Harvest Professional. Cocoatrait is an initiative to promote knowledge, production, and consumption of fine chocolates in India.
Nitin is the 1st external faculty at the Institute of fine chocolate tasting, UK. Cocoatrait operates the only one of its kind virtual chocolate tasting club in India with an aim to connect Chocolate Lovers with Chocolatiers.
Nitin along with his wife Poonam (a trained chocolatier) has initiated Cocoashala, a chocolate school that helps you discover the basics of chocolate and beyond. Nitin also co-operates India’s 1st Zero Waste, Sustainable luxury, and Eco-Friendly Bean to Bar chocolate contributing to the Circular Economy called Kocoatrait.