Chocolate is a wonderful treat. But it has a fragile supply chain. Over 70% of the world’s chocolate supply is grown in equatorial countries in West Africa, Central America, and South America where farming is threatened by climate change. Mold can be an issue and viruses and insects also attack crops. Child labor is a common problem. Farming cacao plants can lead to deforestation. And the worldwide demand for chocolate has been increasing.
It takes half a decade or more before the cocoa plants may actually produce good quality pods and beans. Then the pods get picked by hand, split, and put into fermentation pits. Afterwards, the beans are dried, roasted, and ground, much like coffee.
California Cultured is working to create cacao by a different method. They are growing cells from the cacao plant in tissue culture and producing chocolate from the plant cells. The cells are grown in bioreactors, harvested, roasted, and ground into cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is then added to cookies or candy, to make tasty items like chocolate treats.
Watch the video to learn more about these visionary bioentrepreneurs.
1. May 2nd, 2022 California Cultured and others aim to bypass the fraught cacao-farming industry
2. Jul 14, 2021 California Cultured: Chocolate Without Cacao Beans, Deforestation, or Exploitation
4. Feb 23, 2022, Larissa Zimberoff The Atlantic, Silicon Valley Is Coming for Your Chocolate