My childhood dream was to own a chocolate factory, like how Charlie did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Born in China, and having graduated from a university in Singapore, I won a different kind of golden ticket. I was picked to be part of the Barry Callebaut’s reputable Graduate Trainee Program, which led me to work in Singapore and now in Belgium.
The business of chocolate, as I am learning, is definitely not the bed of roses I had imagined it to be. There are very real issues facing the chocolate industry – such as issues in sustainability and the future of chocolate.
Jason Clay, in WWF’s magazine’s Fall 2014 issue, wrote that the way we can reach the thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia is through touching the companies who reach directly to them. Chocovision brings the expertise and collaboration from industry leaders to brainstorm, discuss and resolve these issues for a more sustainable cocoa world.
Up till now, we have seen significant changes but they are not enough. From obesity to the growth of Asia, consumption to the impacts of a more digital world, there is a lot to unpack in addressing the threats and future of market trends. We need to scrutinize the entire cocoa value chain and get senior business leaders on board in order to effect the change we want to see in the industry.
I am hoping that through Chocovision 2016, the next generation of industry professionals like me will gain the knowledge and build the network to prepare us for a better chocolate and cocoa future.
A more sustainable cocoa world awaits us. That is the golden ticket prize we hope eventually to achieve.
My name is Ji Shuang. I am a millennial. I love chocolate.
Watch my mini-VLOG here
Ji Shuang is Barry Callebaut’s first Graduate Trainee contributor! Keep a look out for what some of our other Graduate Trainees have to say and what their expectations are at Chocovision 2016!