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African Firm to Open Cocoa Powder Plant in Midwest

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Ghana-based Niche Cocoa is partnering with an American company to establish a 44,000-sq-ft location in Wisconsin.

Ghanaian cocoa products supplier Niche Cocoa recently leased a 44,000-sq-ft facility in Franklin, WI with an American partner, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Co., to open its first cocoa processing plant in the United States.

Local officials, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) Secretary Missy Hughes gathered on Tuesday to celebrate Niche’s decision to invest in the state, according to a WEDC release.

One reason the company selected the Wisconsin location is the state’s robust food and beverage industry, particularly dairy, the African company told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The new plant will pulverize cocoa cake into powder that will be sold at retailers across the US.  

Niche will also process cocoa liqueur, cocoa butter, and cocoa cake into industrial chocolate products, coverage by a FOX News affiliate in Milwaukee said.

“The value within the supply chain comes from adding more value upstream and given the market dynamics, most of those big markets are outside of the African continent. Niche is proud of not only the quality of the product it has delivered but also of the flavor and taste of the Ghanaian cocoa bean which is the world’s most premium bean,” Niche founder Edmund Poku said in a statement. “The US became a natural choice for expansion, given the market size and potential, to develop both semi-finished products and also selling more products up the value chain such as chocolates.”

WEDC said the project is the biggest food and beverage investment by an African firm in the history of the US.

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