Chocolate pieces arranged next to a package of a chocolate bar
Table arranged with types of packaging, bags and boxes
Group of people sit in lecture hall at desks

It’s a wrap! Ghanaian cocoa processors stand out with packaging

5 October 2023
ITC News

ITC is supporting small cocoa processors and chocolate brands in Ghana. They organized training on packaging for 45 businesses, to help them reach new markets and grow their operations.

Craft chocolate makers put incredible efforts into their products. They source the best cocoa beans, develop consumer-oriented recipes, and try hard to maintain quality consistency. But flavour holds zero importance on the shelf. In the competition between chocolate bars on the shelves, aesthetics rule.

Faced with a decision between two chocolate bars with the same price tag and similar descriptions and certifications, packaging will play a decisive role for the average chocolate consumer. To beat the competition and grow beyond a niche clientele, brands need to invest in appealing packaging. Today, chocolate bar wrappers need to preserve quality, but they also need to be Instagram-worthy.

Understanding this challenge, ITC’s Alliances for Action sustainable agribusiness initiative organized training on product packaging for 45 cocoa-processing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Under the Netherlands Trust Fund V programme, ITC is working with MSMEs in the cocoa sector to grow their operations sustainably, improve their competitiveness and reach new markets. Improving packaging is one step in the right direction.

The training was facilitated by Frederic Couty, a packaging and continuous improvement consultant at ITC. He guided processors and exporters on how best to develop packaging methods and systems that improve the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of their businesses.

The companies learned a step-by-step methodology on how to upgrade their packaging systems, including selection of materials, graphic design, labelling, equipment, and packaging for transportation.  

Meeting the demand for sustainable packaging

With growing consumer preference for environmentally friendly operations, a special focus was placed on sustainable packaging. This will allow the brands to tap into European Union and other international markets, as well as better accessing the local and regional markets they already serve. 

‘This was an incredibly valuable training,’ said Kimberly Addison, co-founder of Ghanaian chocolate brand 57 Chocolate. ‘I wasn’t even aware of a lot of what we covered, and I can’t wait to start implementing what I learned.’

Today, 57 Chocolate has already started changing their packaging. They are redesigning their chocolate bar carton to make it easier to open and close, while also making it sturdier to withstand transportation. They have opted for simple but striking graphics with a message.

‘I used to think my products were the best on the market,’ said Kweku Temeng, co-founder of Chocolate Mall. ‘Now, with deeper knowledge on product packaging, I feel I can strategically position my company’s competitiveness on the global market in the coming year.’

As a follow-up support, selected companies will benefit from one-on-one coaching to guide them on implementing their new knowledge.

About the project

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalization of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.

Group of people pose for group shot at workshop
Participants at the workshop.
Photo by ITC