CACAO industry leaders in Davao want to make local chocolate consumption mainstream for Dabawenyos.

During the Wednesdays Media Forum on July 6, cacao industry leaders namely Cacao Council Chair for Davao Region Toto Muyco, Chairperson of the Davao City Cacao Industry Council Charita Puentespina, and Vice President of Cacao City Marketing Cooperative and member of Davao City Cacao Council Wit Holganza shared the same sentiment to bring cacao products a part of the Dabawenyo lifestyle.

Holganza said that Dabawenyos have low consumption of local cacao products from Davao despite being the Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.

She added that people are more used to consuming “fast food” chocolates from mainstream brands because many are not aware of Davao-made cacao products.

“We find more varieties of these fast food chocolates in our groceries... Other brands like Malagos, because they’ve been here quite a while, you will find in groceries and supermarkets but a lot of the smaller brands have not yet penetrated. It is precisely why one of the objectives of our cacao and chocolate events is to push for Dabawenyos to become more familiar,” Holganza said.

The industry leaders said some of the ways to change this is through strong promotion and campaigns to make cacao synonymous with a healthy lifestyle and come up with innovative ways to incorporate it into the daily routine.

“We should make a robust campaign regarding the nutritional value of our cacao. Not unlike the other concoctions that have extenders... what we have in Davao is purely the beans, it has all the nutritional value. It has been studied and researched,” Puentespina said.

In addition, Muyco said the private sector should rally for the use and promotion of cacao, as well as penetrate into the mainstream market.

“We have to rally the local and national government that they would also push a bit the private sector to use local cacao and I think with that partnership with the government and private sector, we can really increase the consumption for the local market,” he said.

The industry leaders said they are currently focusing on promoting Davao cacao products to raise awareness among Dabawenyos about the local commodity. Events and exhibits, such as the upcoming World Chocolate Day Celebration, boost promotion.

The Chocolate Fair in celebration of World Chocolate Day will be on July 7, 2022 at Ayala Abreeza Mall in Davao City. ICM