Montano’s Chocolate Co Ltd (MCCL) has launched Montano’s Chocolate Factory, which will boost manufacturing of its Machel Montano 60% dark chocolate as well as cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa nibs, conquering the global market.
The new chocolate factory, managed by three generations of the Montano family, will now increase its operations from 2,500 bags per month to 23,000 bags. Montano family matriarch Elizabeth Montano said capacity building will empower individuals, create communities and, in the long run, strengthen the national economy.
âWe were fortunate to have used the time of the pandemic to move forward and develop our product. We produce our own chocolate, we make cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and we really hope to expand into the overseas market. In the Caricom region â Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados. We worked with ExportTT in terms of exporting the product. We also generated great interest from Canada and the United States and some of these opportunities were developed when we went on overseas missions to Germany, Colombia and South Korea.
âThis company is really made up of three generations of the Montano family. My husband and I, our children Machel and Marcus and their wives are the second generation. Their children are the third generation and we involve them at all levels.
âIn addition to taking my assistants when we go on a mission, I also take my grandchildren. When we went to Columbia I took my granddaughter Melody who is fluent in Spanish so she was able to be our interpreter. We went to South Korea and I took my grandsons so they are also learning the trade.
âWe’re also involved in online missions now that we’re in a pandemic, so we’ve virtually done Panama, Philadelphia, and Atlanta and we’ve been able to generate a great deal of interest in chocolate as well. We have generated a lot of interest in our chocolates in Canada, the United States, London and countries in Latin America. We started on a very small scale in New York and Canada. We don’t want it to reach a point where we can’t meet demand. Right now we are making 2,500 bars per month, but with the factory we would be able to make 14,000 per month, âsaid Montano.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the Montano chocolate factory had made a major transition by further developing the export of cocoa, cocoa beans and chocolate bars. The purchase of equipment for the Montano chocolate factory was a 50-50 partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
âThe Ministry of Commerce was able to provide grants in the amount of TT $ 250,000 and was able to match that for the purchase of machinery and equipment. It’s a huge transition from what they used to do because they had designed their labels and their chocolates were produced to specification, but by the Alliance of Rural Communities, so it’s a big step forward. before because they get involved in the actual transformation, âsays Gopee-Scoon.
Gopee-Scoon said the Montano Chocolate Factory is a world-class facility. “I am very happy with what I see in terms of the environment, the preparation site and the layout of the machines and equipment and I am quite satisfied because it is a very professional company where three generations are involved and it is really commendable, âsaid Gopee-Scoon.
Gopee-Scoon said the focus is on transforming the economy and expanding the non-energy sector. âUltimately what we want from the cocoa industry is its further development. Normally, we export cocoa beans and large cocoa slabs to Europe and other territories for the production of the final chocolate products. With this advance, what we are now seeing from the export figures is that the export of finished chocolate products is actually higher than what we exported before in terms of cocoa beans and plates. of finished chocolate, âsaid Gopee-Scoon.
Gopee-Scoon said the chocolate factory will now be able to expand its offering. “I’m very happy that at the end of the day, not only are they advancing their manufacturing operations, but they’re going to work with rural farmers so that they can bring in their cocoa beans and at the end of the day you can having the The finished product made by the Montano chocolate factory and the process here also helps them prepare other products to sell and expand their offering, âsaid Gopee-Scoon.
Read the third part of Lady Elizabeth next week.