"The farms are very small. So efficiency-wise, they aren't the great producing farms that we expect from our other soft products," Ozer said. "We are starting to see a real shift in investment in that sector."
The cocoa supply isn't the only challenge in getting Asia hooked on chocolate. Many in the region find chocolate too sweet or "heaty," a reference to traditional Chinese medicine's belief that such foods can cause physical symptoms, such as sore throats.
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For now, despite noting that some markets, such as Japan, actively seek less-sweet sweets, Barry Callebaut is primarily sticking with its global recipes, especially since much of the demand growth is in the premium segment, Convert said.