Industria del Chocolate, Peru

Eating chocolate is like drinking a good whiskey

Luis Salomón leads Industria del Chocolate (The Chocolate Industry) EIRL in Lima, Peru, where one of the finest chocolates on the market is produced. This would not be possible without his ally, the SmartChoc from Bühler.

The sugar is waiting impatiently in front of the door of the machine, but it is ready to set off a taste explosion of the utmost kind. However, it still has to wait for its partner in crime, the cocoa butter which is arriving late. But we all know that a good thing is worth waiting for. When sugar and cocoa butter finally meet, they shake hands, embrace each other intimately and indulge in the intense conching process, done in Bühler's modern SmartChoc.

This is the beginning of the meticulous process of one of the greatest pleasures in life: Chocolate. "In Peru, we have one of the world’s best cocoa. Therefore, it deserves to be processed with the world’s best machinery", says Luis Salomón, economist  and CEO of Industria del Chocolate. In this guilty pleasure, disguised as a shiny brown mass, he saw the opportunity to satisfy the needs of an industry that urgently required highest quality standards.

"To me, eating chocolate is like drinking a good whiskey. It is a way of pampering myself. The whole process of taking it out of the package, tasting it, softening it with my tongue and letting it melt slowly in my mouth while I enjoy its flavor is very satisfying," he says. Today, his passion for chocolate has turned into a 1500 square meter plant with a total production capacity of 180 tons of chocolate per month, located in Huachipa, Lima.

Industria del Chocolate started operations in 2017. Two years later it has become one of the bigger local manufacturers for chocolate, chocolate chips and substitutes for the food industry. Luis Salomón is not only proud of his company’s rapid rise, but also of the most important investment he has made: Bühler's SmartChoc machine which immediately became the most important ally in his business.

To me, eating chocolate is like drinking a good whiskey. It is a way of pampering myself. The whole process of taking it out of the package, tasting it, softening it with my tongue and letting it melt slowly in my mouth while I enjoy its flavor is very satisfying.

Luis Salomón, CEO of Industria del Chocolate

Family values

Luis Salomón has always shared his entrepreneurial vision with his three children, aged 18, 17 and 11. They have helped their father designing the concept, the logo and the packaging of the products offered by Industria del Chocolate.

"I have lots of ideas but sometimes they are very traditional or conservative; therefore my kids bring a breath of fresh air to my products, providing me with a contemporary view of what the market demands. They tell me what they want, what they don't want or how the package should look like. Their talent is an important contribution to the company and I am glad that I have been able to capitalize on it", Luis points out.

I have lots of ideas but sometimes they are very traditional or conservative; therefore my kids bring a breath of fresh air to my products, providing me with a contemporary view of what the market demands.

Luis Salomón , CEO of Industria del Chocolate

In addition to passing down his passion for chocolate to his children, Luis is also committed to social responsibility. Leading Industria del Chocolate, he learned that the best way to generate customers was to stimulate the chocolate market on all levels, from large companies to family businesses. So far, Luis has offered free chocolate workshops to more than 3000 people to teach them the knowledge of the best chocolate quality. This gives them the opportunity to start a business in their local community.

Technology in detail

But how does Industria del Chocolate’s chocolate become so smooth? To answer this question you have to take a look at the place where the magic happens: Bühler's SmartChoc and its line of equipment that make the art of chocolate-making a real pleasure.

First, the cocoa mass, the sugar and the powdered milk come together in the sophisticated ELK Light Conche, a special conche machine that is condensing the cocoa mass, eliminating unwanted aromas, humidity, and acidity, as well as reducing viscosity. Once this process is carried out, the butter and lecithin are added. After that, the mass is transformed into a homogeneous paste with an intense flavor.

Later, this paste is pumped into the Cenomic, a horizontal bead mill that grinds each particle to the smallest possible size. To achieve perfect fineness, the cocoa paste is homogenized again in the modern ShearMix mixer, where the machine’s powerful spindle and spirals will prevent sedimentation of the paste.

This last step of the process is repeated several times, until all particles are a maximum size of 20 microns. However, every operator can program the machine to choose the desired level of fineness. The result of this process is a mix of flavors ready to charm even the most unresponsive taste buds. A guilty conscience however, might arise.

While the mass circulates between the Cenomic and the ShearMix, the production can start again from step one. This optimizes the schedule and accelerates production, allowing a new parallel production batch to start and keep the machine running at full capacity.

"We are more than satisfied with Bühler’s equipment. The SmartChoc is of very high quality and takes care of every part of the process, so that not a single gram of our production is wasted. This allows us to be efficient in the process. The machine is also very easy to handle: our operators only type in the recipe and the SmartChoc takes care of the rest," emphasizes Luis.

An unexplored market

Peru is a relatively new player in the international cocoa market, exporting approximately 85000 tons of cocoa in 2018. Nevertheless, the country has a long history of cocoa production for local markets and has experienced a substantial increase in cocoa production over the last years. Even though the production is still considerably smaller than in the benchmark countries Ivory Coast and Ghana, Peru might play a more important role in the cocoa market in the future.

"Peru is experiencing a gastronomic upswing and so is its pastry. My customers need fine raw material at reasonable prices which made the foundation of a high-quality chocolate industry possible. Most of the locally used equipment to process cocoa is quite primitive. These cocoa producers known all over the world for the quality of their cocoa, experience big losses due to inadequate processing" Luis Salomón points out.

Now I am sure that I can compete internationally with other high quality products. The combination of high quality cocoa and one of the top machines in the world makes for an excellent product. That is why we trust Bühler.

Luis Salomón, CEO of Industria del Chocolate

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To reach foreign markets with its premium quality chocolate, Industria del Chocolate found in Bühler the best strategic partner. "The previous knowledge I had about the brand, the size of the SmartChoc which is ideal for a young company as ours, and the excellent quality of the final product were decisive factors that made me decide to buy a Bühler machine.” says Luis. “Now I am sure that I can compete internationally with other high quality products. The combination of high quality cocoa and one of the top machines in the world makes for an excellent product. That is why we trust Bühler," he adds.

If one of the world’s best cocoa is in Peru, and one of the best technologies to process it comes from Switzerland; how could the two countries not come together as friends? Like in the great friendships that stand the test of time, Bühler has found the perfect partner in Latin America. A partner who wants to achieve that Peruvian chocolate is recognized among the highest standards of the chocolate industry. Utilizing the excellent Peruvian cocoa, an excellent Peruvian chocolate is produced.

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