In the beginning, there is always the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are harvested, dried, fermented, roasted and, finally, broken in order to separate the shell from the cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are small pieces of cocoa beans with a chocolatey, slightly bitter taste. They are ground into cocoa mass and constitute the main component of any chocolate.
Every year, HALBA ends up with around 800 tonnes of cocoa bean shells as a by-product of its chocolate manufacturing process. By weight, cocoa shells make up 15 per cent of the entire bean. This valuable «waste product» possesses a range of useful properties that allow it to be reused for various purposes: for example, cocoa bean shells are rich in minerals, making them a high-quality source of additional nutrients. The cocoa shells left over from HALBA’s production process are used in a variety of products, such as garden mulch, where they function as an organic fertiliser, and cocoa bean shell tea, which they give their characteristic chocolatey flavour.
Thanks to this reuse, the cocoa beans fulfil the principle of a circular economy: their processing does not generate any waste, as 100 per cent of the roasted cocoa beans are utilised.
Agricultural land, nutrients, water and energy are all necessary for the production of food. When food is wasted, so are these valuable resources. Food waste occurs at every level of the value chain. Depending on the scope of the problem, this can have a severe impact on the environment and climate.
The topic of food waste is enshrined in HALBA’s corporate strategy. We continuously analyse technological innovations that promise to reduce food waste and implement measures to reduce wastage and minimise the amount of refuse produced.
When a product (chocolate, snacks, baking & cooking ingredients) approaches its best-before date, the relevant employee in the quality management department receives a warning. They immediately coordinate the timely utilisation of the product with the production planning and sales teams.
Chocolate production is a complex, multilayered process. Every batch yields some amount of imperfect product, for example when the machines are adjusted at the beginning of a production order. This chocolate cannot be sold through the normal channels, but it is perfectly safe to eat. That is why HALBA sells it at low prices in its two factory shops in Pratteln and Hinwil. Any remaining stock of snacks and baking and cooking ingredients that are discontinued in the regular catalogue are given to the charitable organisations Tischlein deck dich, Caritas and Die Tafel.
All other food waste that is generated despite the measures described above is made into animal feed.