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Exploring the opportunities in the Africa cocoa export business to Europe

Exploring the opportunities in the Africa cocoa export business to Europe

Exploring The Opportunities in the Africa Cocoa export

Doing some research on markets to supply your cocoa products in the Europe?

European countries have always been a big importer of Africa’s cocoa.

This post further helps you in your search to finding foreign buyers for your cocoa products.  We put together some of the top European importers of Africa’s cocoa and also some tips to go with them as well.

All facts and Data are based on CBI Factsheet released 2016

European countries Africa cocoa import data 2015
 European countries Africa cocoa                       import data 2015

Source: ITC Trademap

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is the world’s largest importer of cocoa. In the Europe, they largely serve as entry point for cocoa into the Europe, hence they are also a big exporter of cocoa and other cocoa product group to neighbouring European countries Like for example, the Netherlands is the second largest cocoa grinder in the world.

The Netherlands imports 60% of its cocoa from West Africa; Cote d’Ivoire is the leading supplier, with a market share of 31%, Other suppliers are Cameroun, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Africa cocoa export to the Netherlands
Africa cocoa export to the Netherlands

Dutch per capita consumption of chocolate is relatively low at 4.7 kg in 2014 as compared to 9.0 kg in Switzerland and 7.9 kg in Germany according to Confectionery News. Nonetheless chocolate is an intrinsic part of the Dutch cultural heritage: chocolate letters and sprinkles (”hagelslag”) are typical Dutch inventions.

Although chocolate consumption has increased slightly in recent years, rapid growth is not expected in the foreseeable future.


Consumption for Chocolate is on slow rise in Belgium. Belgians spent about €68 per capita on chocolate in 2015.

Belgium is the third-largest importer of cocoa beans in Europe, behind the Netherlands and Germany (each with a 26% share). In 2015, Belgian imports of cocoa beans amounted to 246 thousand tonnes (€749 million). The total volume of imports of cocoa beans by Belgium increased by an average of 5.1% per year between 2011 and 2015.

Belgium is home to the second largest-cocoa port in the world (Antwerp) which was responsible for 96% of total imports in 2015. This has resulted in their large amount of direct imports of cocoa beans from producing countries. Africa is the main supplying continent, accounting for a 75% share in imports. Côte d’Ivoire is by far the most important supplying country to Belgium with a share of 58%. Ghana is in second place, with a share of 16%, followed by Cameroon (3.8%) and the Dominican Republic (3.7%).

Africa cocoa export to Europe
Africa cocoa export to Europe

The United Kingdom

The UK is the seventh largest importer of cocoa in the Europe with more than 60,000 tonnes of cocoa imported in 2014 at a value of around 135million Euros.

Volume of imported cocoa beans to the UK 2010-2014 (thousand tonnes)
Volume of imported cocoa beans to the UK 2010-2014                                     (thousand tonnes)

CBI reports that almost 99% of cocoa beans imports to the UK are from Ivory Coast (57%) and Ghana (42%) (Information dated back 2015). Today there are even more opportunities for other cocoa producing countries to supply the UK.

See Also
Agricultural exports

Volume of cocoa imports to the United Kingdom per product group, 2010-2014 (thousand tonnes)
Volume of cocoa imports to the United Kingdom per        product group, 2010-2014 (thousand tonnes)


From 2010 In the UK, while import of cocoa seed has declined 18%, the import of cocoa powder has increased by 19% in the same time frame. The increasing demand for semi-processed cocoa provides a platform for newcomers to break into the market.

ways to keep an eye on the cocoa market and consumption trends in Europe

The Netherlands is the largest re-exporter of cocoa to neighbouring European countries, while this is true, some of these European countries also do direct trade with small suppliers from Africa and south America and are also open to more suppliers.

Knowing you can access anywhere in the world using the internet gives you a good tool to follow trends and opportunities in foreign countries.


Cocoa export to the Europe is huge. Africa is still warming up. We still have enough capacity to supply these markets. It is Important to note the competition from South America, so small business suppliers in Africa should look to penetrate these foreign markets with uniqueness, transparency and creativity.


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