The Puratos Group plans to expand its chocolate production to Brazil.

The Belgium-based company has acquired a majority shareholding stake in Brazil-based Floresta do Rico Doce Agroderivados, which runs a chocolate factory in Linhares, Brazil.

Puratos Group Chairman Eddy Van Belle says the acquisition marks the start of a new era of origin chocolate in Brazil.

“But Floresta do Rio Doce also represents a new value chain example for the chocolate and cocoa industry, where farmers, chocolatiers and end consumers are brought together to exchange ideas and know-how,” he adds.

The expansion of the cocoa mass lines will continue in 2011, together with the construction of a new chocolate factory in Linhares, Brazil. This month, Floresta do Ric Doce is slated to start producing the Puratos chocolateChocolanteandCarat, besides its traditional brands -VittoandNorcau.

Floresta do Rio Doce started in May 2010 as the first origin cocoa factory in Brazil. Located near 450 cocoa farms, Floresta do Rio Doce uses processes and technology developed locally. The unit had an initial grinding capacity of 2,500 tons cocoa beans per year.

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- C.L.