UWI Cocoa Research Centre’s Chocolates Make Enthusiastic Entry into the Barbadian Market

by December 4, 2023

Photo Caption: Testing a Sweet Venture:  Pro Vice-Chancellor & St. Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine (second from left), proudly shares samples of the Cocoa Research Centre’s chocolates with [L-R] Professor Clive Landis the Cave Hill Campus Principal, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, The UWI Bookshop Manager, Beverly Smith-Hinkson, while Mr. James “Jimmy” Clarke, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), and Justin Seale, UWI-Souzhou Assistant Registrar at the China Institute of Information Technology [extreme right], look on.

A sweet venture unfolded at The University of the West Indies’ (The UWI) Cave Hill Campus on October 20 as The UWI’s world-renowned Cocoa Research Centre (CRC) introduced its signature chocolates to the Barbados market. This ‘soft launch’, which coincided with the graduation ceremonies, marked the CRC’s first foray into the Barbadian market. The launch, led by Pro Vice-Chancellor and St. Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, which was also attended by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and the Cave Hill Campus Principal Professor Clive Landis, sets a new benchmark for CRC’s expansion into the region towards growing the appeal for quality, regional chocolate products.

In a significant meeting at the Cave Hill Bookshop, Professor Antoine led discussions with the President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Mr. James “Jimmy” Clarke, and The UWI Bookshop Manager, Beverly Smith-Hinkson which revolved around the potential of CRC’s chocolates in Barbados. The much-coveted ‘Trinitario’ cocoa, is a hybrid between two cocoa types, originated in Trinidad, where the largest gene bank is found. During the two-day expo in Trinidad from October 27-28, local artisans and chocolatiers unveiled an array of beverages, gourmet creations crafted from locally sourced cocoa, and an exquisite display of cocoa-inspired art and craft.

This year’s expo theme, ‘Experience the Triple Helix,’ highlighted the synergy between the public sector, private enterprises, and academia in fostering industry advancement. The entry of the CRC chocolates into the Barbadian market formed part of the thrust to showcase the CRC’s commitment to the broader region. Interestingly, the chocolate-tasting session in Barbados drew in enthusiastic students was a highlight and drew in enthusiastic students and BCCI members alike. Additionally, the CRC also introduced its exclusive 50g chocolate bars, priced at BD$17.86 (TT$60.00), which are now available for purchase at The UWI bookstore at the Cave Hill Campus, along with other select locations, offering accessible options to purchase and taste the region’s chocolate craftsmanship by a wider audience.

The soft launch of the Cocoa Research Centre’s (CRC) chocolates, exceeded expectations in scale and participation highlighting a new benchmark for innovation, sustainability, and industry collaboration. The response was overwhelmingly positive, prompting The UWI Cave Hill Bookshop to begin selling CRC’s chocolates and to request additional supplies to meet the already growing demand. Furthermore, the BCCI’s expression of interest in a collaboration signals a promising horizon for CRC’s chocolates in Barbados.

For more information about the Cocoa Research Centre, please visit https://sta.uwi.edu/cru/

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