Great chocolate needs quality throughout the supply chain

TOKYO - APRIL 6:  Confectionary on display at Le Chocolate de H on April 6, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan.  Japanese gourmet chocolates often contain red-beans, green tea, black sesame and soybean-powder and enjoy aspirational status since the TV media has broadcast their cancer and heart attack preventing properties. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

The average chocolate bar undergoes hundreds of assessments from the day the cocoa seed is planted

While the words ‘perfect bar of chocolate’ may be used by marketing companies to lure customers to buy their product, impeccable chocolate is actually the result of a well-scrutinized global supply chain working at its best, as global quality solutions provider Intertek will attest.

The average chunk of chocolate undergoes hundreds of assessments from the day the cocoa seed is planted (tested for water, segregation, nutrition), to when the cocoa pod is harvested. These checks also include everything from how the chocolate is transported and manufactured (tests for manufactured pollutants, assessment of manufacturing systems) to the way it is blended, packaged and sold.

Every aspect of the production process – from ingredient to blend, to the finished product – is monitored, tested and checked against regulations to ensure it’s safe, of good quality, and conforms to legal standards. Analysis ranges from monitoring the transportation process, as well as quality and safety in the manufacturing, packaging, distribution and selling of the finished product.

To achieve a premium product, the cocoa chocolate must be monitored during its journey and throughout its lifecycle, including at the factory itself where it will be subject to testing to ISO standards in terms of hazards, safety and quality procedures and practices.

The chocolate is tested at various stages of the manufacturing process to analyse its nutrition and to ensure it is correctly packaged. With the growing prevalence of allergies, tests are run to ascertain contaminant levels and allergens, such as dairy content, soya, nuts and gluten, in order to ensure the packaging is correctly labelled. Finally, other testers have the enviable task of carrying out sensory tests to ensure the chocolate feels, tastes and looks right.

Find out more about chocolate and the supply chain and raise awareness of quality by celebrating World Quality Day 2015

Joanne Merriweather, Intertek, a global quality solutions provider supporting World Quality Day 2015.

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