We are delighted that you are interested in the 2017 Edition of the International Cocoa Awards of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme.


The partners of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme are pleased to announce the new 2017 Edition. The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for cocoa producers to participate in the International Cocoa Awards, a global competition recognizing the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavours globally. 

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme, coordinated by Bioversity International, is jointly organized with Event International in partnership with Guittard Chocolate, Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate, Barry Callebaut, Puratos and with sponsorship from CAOBISCO, the European Cocoa Association (ECA), The Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC), Nestlé, the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Mars UK, and with in-kind contributions from the Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (CRC/UWI), Valrhona, Weiss Chocolate and CocoaTown.

Every two years, this unique programme recognizes quality, flavour and diversity of cocoas according to their origin. By bringing together leading sensory evaluation experts, the chocolate industry and the next generation of cocoa pioneers, the Cocoa of Excellence Programme recognizes and rewards cocoa with exceptional and unique flavour attributes, while bringing know-how, cocoa evaluation tools, market opportunities and incentives for safeguarding cacao diversity to farming communities and national organizations globally.

All cocoa samples received by the 28th of February 2017 by the Cocoa of Excellence Programme are analyzed with a physical evaluation of the bean and cut test. Bean samples passing these initial tests are processed into cocoa liquor and evaluated by an international panel of experts. The best 50 high-quality samples from different origins, with recognized or interesting flavour attributes, are nominated for the International Cocoa Awards and evaluated by a broader panel of professionals and sensory evaluation experts. The best 3 to 5 cocoa samples from each of the 4 producing regions are selected and receive an International Cocoa Award celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat that will take place from 28th October to 1st November 2017.

The contact information of the producers and flavour profiles of the best 50 samples, including the ICAs, is made public. All sample producers receive a detailed feedback report. The feedback is a critical part of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme, providing an opportunity to understand and improve quality at cocoa producer’s and National Organization Committee’s levels. 


Invitation to Cocoa-Producing Countries & Cocoa Farmers


Each participating cocoa-producing country establishes a National Organization Committee that oversees the participation of cocoa producers from their country. National Organization Committee are invited to send well-prepared, fermented and dried cocoa bean samples representing the genetic and geographic origins of their regions, through a National Organization Committee.

How cocoa producers can benefit:

  • Awards & global recognition: the best 50 cocoa samples of exceptional quality and with promising market prospects and unique flavours are selected, processed into chocolate and nominated for the International Cocoa Awards. Between 3 to 5 cocoa producers from each of the 4 regions receive an International Cocoa Award.
  • Individual feedback and recommendations: All cocoa samples are evaluated by an international panel of experts and sample providers receive a detailed individual feedback, including a quality and flavour analysis and recommended innovations and improved practices. This feedback provides an opportunity for farmers to improve some practices and increase their capacity to produce high-quality cocoa and navigate on the premium cocoa market.
  • Marketing opportunities: the Cocoa of Excellence Programme and the International Cocoa Awards provides a platform for cocoa producers to meet representatives from the cocoa and chocolate industry. Contact information for the 50 nominated samples are published and shared with the industry through the Cocoa of Excellence website. Promising samples are displayed and promoted at the Salon du Chocolat celebrations and similar cocoa and chocolate events as well as distributed to interested chocolate makers. 

How National Organization Committees can benefit:

  • International & national recognition: An opportunity to be recognized as a producer of cocoa with exceptional and diverse quality attributes internationally and to promote the diversity, quality and industry at the national level.
  • Capacity building: Strengthened capacity to evaluate, identify and recognize cocoa with exceptional and diverse quality attributes at the national level.
  • Mapping Cocoa of Excellence a starting point for development and preservation programmes: Increased knowledge of the diversity and quality of cocoa nationally, resulting from the genetic diversity, “terroirs”and know-how of local farmers.


*Photo from Salon du Chocolat*