The Puratos Group has begun expanding its Belcolade facility in Erembodegem, Belgium, with the goal of making the site carbon neutral.

As well as increasing capacity and boosting flexibility, the expanded Erembodegem site will enable accelerated innovation. It will also be an “exemplar of sustainable chocolate production,” according to Jean-Philippe Michaux, CFO and head of the sustainability steering committee at Puratos. 

“With consumer demand for sustainable Belgian chocolate rapidly accelerating, and as the only Belgian family-owned producer of that for professionals here, it was an obvious move for us to expand in Erembodegem,” adds Youri Dumont, director of the chocolate business unit at Puratos. “We will nearly double our Belcolade output over the next five years, with customers benefiting from inspiring innovation brought to market faster than ever before.” 

The development of Belcolade is attributable to Puratos’ CacaoTrace program and the high-quality cocoa ingredients it provides. Cacao-Trace benefits the cocoa farmers, who receive a better price for their quality beans and an extra Chocolate Bonus for every kilo of Cacao-Trace chocolate sold. 

In line with Puratos’ commitment to future generations, the entire Belcolade site will become carbon neutral. It will run 100 percent on renewable electricity and be completely free from fossil fuels. The facility will also source 90 percent of its water from collected rainwater. These measures are fundamental to the company’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2025. 

This investment will be financed with a new sustainable loan granted by KBC. Completion of the first phase is set for 2023.

“We are very excited about this expansion and the benefits it will bring to our valued customers, partners, employees and the local area, recruiting around 100 colleagues in the coming years,” Dumont said. “With our larger team of experienced, passionate and trusted experts, state-of-the-art equipment and a heritage firmly rooted in the heart of Belgium, we’re looking forward to bringing even more unique, delicious and sustainable Cacao-Trace chocolate to the market.”