Upcycling Cacao

The cocoa fruit consists of a compact outer shell that protects the cocoa beans and cocoa pulp. Did you know that in the conventional processing of the cocoa fruit, only 20 to 30 per cent of the fruit is processed, depending on its size? The beans are roasted, dried, cleaned and processed into chocolate or chocolate-like products. Another 30 per cent of the fruit is edible, while the outer shell is not suitable for human consumption. We have set ourselves the goal of fully utilising the cocoa fruit in order to offer you the best possible cocoa fruit-based fruit products and other non-food innovations, while at the same time reducing the waste of resources. 

Enabling the full joy of cocoa

Upcycling cacao holistically: How we do it

We intervene at two points in the processing in order to utilise what is considered “waste” in conventional cocoa processing, namely the pulp and the cocoa bean shells. The pulp of the cocoa fruit is extracted from the beans by natural processing in decentralised hubs in the first few days after harvesting. The natural process of extraction and gentle processing for preservation means that all the nutritional values are retained. The juice obtained serves as the basis for our pulpaco products and as a sweetener for all other cocoa fruit-based products. We also offer the juice in natural form or in concentrate as an ingredient for catering and industry use. The previously used beans are then fermented for 5-7 days, dried in the sun and roasted. In traditional industrial cocoa processing, after the fermentation and drying process, the beans are exported to Europe for further processing. At AFOODS Group, however, we work with cocoa cooperatives in West Africa who manually crack the shells of the roasted cocoa beans. The shells serve as the basis for our cocoa fruit-based brands like COBE COPU

Upcycling cacao

Within this framework, we act responsibly not only for people and nature but also for the environment. This is precisely why especially for the European market; we also work with selected European partners to valorize their cocoa bean shells which would otherwise be wasted.

Keeping our customers smiling with nutritious innovations

External studies and our own research and analyses carried out in collaboration with our reserach Partners have shown that cocoa bean shells even exceed the nutritional values of cocoa beans, for example in terms of vitamin B12 and fiber – they are a real superfood. Based on these findings, we process the cocoa bean shells in such a way that the nutritional values are retained or even emphasised in our final products. In this way, we are very proud to be the first global brand that has managed to put a smile on consumers’ faces with both cocoa-based soft drinks without milk and energy drink substitutes based on the cocoa fruit with cocoa shell-based caffeine and theobromine. The parts of the cocoa fruit that are not suitable for human consumption are turned into non-food products under the AFOOGS Group co-brand anofoma.

afoods cacao pulpa

The paradox behind the scenes of the cocoa industries

Did you know that nearly 75% of the cocoa consumed worldwide is grown by Black people and in Africa? In 2018 Germany for example imported 80% of all its cocoa from Africa. At the same time, there is no established and visible cocoa brand run by African or Black entrepreneurs based on this very ” African” raw material. The irony is that it is especially the European brands that export cocoa that push aside small African entrepreneurs with their in Europe manufactured cocoa products.


Now, it’s not that cocoa innovations from Black and African entrepreneurs don’t have great design or quality. In many cases, they are even healthier because they are all-natural. So the problem is different: their products are exoticized, ignored or/and made invisible or the entrepreneurs do not get access to funding. Even worse, innovations are simply copied, reproduced in Europe and the story surrounding them gets rewritten.

AFOODS® Group for a paradigm change

AFOODS® Group works to operate a paradimg change. Because it is a question of long overdue equity and justice. AFOODS® Group does not use rhetoric that reduces African people to poverty and turns white people into saviors – like: we help African farmers by giving them more money. This narrative is not, and under no circumstances should be, a unique selling point. To give the raw material producers a fair stake is obvious to us. Thus, AFOODS® Group makes the difference through:

AFOODS® Group Brand's Africa-inspired and original and unique design
the unique taste of AFOODS® Group’s food products
the nutritional qualities of AFOODS® Group’s products
AFOODS® Group's unique and pioneering approach to reducing the resource waste in the cocoa industry

This sets AFOODS® Group apart from brands that use Africans purely for marketing purposes or worse, that present their production processes in Africa as an idealistic business strategy even though they are in fact motivated by profit-maximization or the self-interest to “save poor Africans” (aka white saviorism).

Our cacao fruit-based brands


All our cacao fruit-based products

Sometimes sparkling, always fruity and with a slight hint of cocoa.
Enjoy cocoa like never before.