This year, the Salon du Chocolat hosted 230 exhibitors from over 60 countries in a consumer-facing event that also attracted buyers and professionals from the international market.

The Salon du Cholat in Paris is always programmed around the public holiday in France on November 1 and organizers estimated that more than 100,000 visitors flocked through the doors at Pavilion Four, Paris-Porte de Versailles, for the five-day festival of chocolate.

Japan was one of the countries with a huge presence in Paris this year and is an important market because its consumers are happy to pay the best prices for premium chocolate.

Michel Arrion, executive director of The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), told ConfectioneryNews that, in his opinion, The Salon du Chocolat promotes a good image of the industry, which is sometimes tarnished with the concerns of sustainability, deforestation, child labour, etc.

Its’s an extremely important event to promote the image of chocolate and making the link between chocolate and cocoa … you can see the variety and diversity of the use of cocoa as an ingredient​,“he said. “It also gives cocoa growing countries the opportunity to promote their cocoa and for the producers and farmers to meet with the consumer and also market opportunities from bean to bar​.”

As well as the chocolate, the Salon hosted a chocolate-inspired fashion show on a daily basis, pastry chef demonstrations, and talks and debates in the Chocosphere area. The Salon is also home to Cocoa Excellence and the International Cocoa Awards, which showcases the finest producers from around the world.

Consumers of chocolate don’t understand cocoa, because the chocolate makers don’t understand cocoa, so they can’t tell the story of cocoa, they can only tell the story of chocolate. That is why The Salon du Chocolat is important; the organizers were very visionary in inviting the cocoa growing countries to the event and therefore making the connection between consumer, chocolate and cocoa​,” said Brigitte Laliberté, Cocoa Excellence programme coordinator.

Hot topics reported from the floor this year included organic and sustainable packaging as the cocoa industry continues to grapple with sustainability in the supply chain.

The Salon du Chocolat opens in New York this Friday​, November 15.

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