This chocolatier’s bean-to-bar chocolate business clocks Rs 60 lakh turnover

June 15 21:46 2020
L Nitin Chordia found his true calling in 2014 in the chocolate industry. Since then, he has launched Cocoashala, a chocolate academy, and Kocoatrait, a brand of chocolates.

L Nitin Chordia found his true calling in 2014 in the chocolate industry. Since then, he has launched Cocoashala, a chocolate academy, and Kocoatrait, a brand of chocolates.

Most Indians have a sweet tooth. Perhaps, that is why most conversations are not complete without “kuch meetha hojaye!” (Let’s eat something sweet!)

A myriad variety of sweets are available in India, but chocolates are an option popular across ages. For decades, UK-based Cadbury claimed a monstrous pie of the Indian chocolate market. It is now time to decode and identify some Made-in-India brands that are slowly moving up the ladder.

Kocoatrait was founded in October 2019 by L Nitin Chordia, a Chennai-based chocolatier. Nitin, like many entrepreneurs, comes from a corporate background. He holds a master’s degree in retail business management from the UK and has worked with the Godrej Group as a consultant.

During the trip he met another chocolatier, Martin Christy, who later went on to become Nitin’s mentor. Martin helped him understand various aspects of chocolate making and chocolate tasting. In addition, he particularly got interested in using the bean-to-bar method of chocolate manufacturing, which was taking precedence in India at that time.

He began setting up small equipment in a room given to him by his father who ran an automobile business. His focus was to manufacture chocolates at a small scale. Some equipment was bought while some was developed by Nitin himself. When the small manufacturing unit was in place, Nitin started making chocolates, a tedious process lasting almost 36 hours.

Soon, his wife Poonam Chordia joined him. It was Poonam who suggested that they should open an academy to teach chocolate making. She often told him, “Why don’t we educate people and make money?”

In 2015, Poonam and Nitin founded Cocoashala, an academy that imparted training in making chocolates.

The education business started doing well and today clocks a turnover of around Rs 20 lakh. Nitin says people from all over the world, including Europe and the US, come to their academy.

This gave birth to Kocoatrait. The made-in-India chocolates were launched in February 2019 in Amsterdam and the brand was launched in India in October the same year.

Nitin was very clear that he wanted to make a zero-waste product. He again travelled across the country to learn to make eco-friendly packaging from cotton waste generated from garment factories and shells of cocoa beans without using wood pulp or plastic.

Looking back, Nitin says there were no major challenges. He says despite India being a manufacturing hub, it is saddled with a lot of gaps in the industry.

Nitin also says that the quality of cocoa beans in India is not very good and that he is working with government bodies and some private organisations in this regard. He adds that chocolates in India get lost in a wide variety of mithai (Indian sweets).

Another reason why Indian chocolate industry has not been able to scale is because of the huge capital expenditure involved and lack of equipment for those who want to start from a small scale.

The journey ahead has many challenges, but Nitin is determined to make a mark. He says in the coming months, Kocoatrait is focused on product diversification.

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