Cocoa fruit juice from food waste resources – Koa Switzerland GmbH

Kakaofruchtsaft aus «Food-Waste»-Ressourcen: KAO
© Symbolbild: CRNA

Koa is a cocoa fruit juice made from the pulp of the cocoa fruit. As the conventional chocolate industry only focuses on the cocoa beans, the cocoa pulp, which accounts for 25% of the fruit’s value, usually ends up in the food waste bin. By turning this “plant waste” into a food ingredient, Koa optimizes resource use while creating new jobs and increased income in rural communities in Ghana. The company thereby supports SDG 8 “Decent Work” and SDG12 “Sustainable Consumption and Production” in particular.

Rural Africa is usually associated with resources, but only with the first stage of the value chain: the extraction of raw materials. This limited perception means that the economic potential is only partially exploited. One of the coveted West African raw materials is the cocoa fruit, although the chocolate industry is only interested in the cocoa beans. The pulp, which accounts for 25% of the value of this fruit, is lost.

What is the solution?

Koa Switzerland GmbH uses this “waste” and transforms it into an ingredient for drinks and food products. The extraction of raw materials and production of the product in harmony with nature and in close cooperation with the existing community.

Business Sustainability Today - Koa

With this innovative approach, the company wants to show that there is also a broader value creation in rural areas that uses the latest technologies and is based on sustainable and responsible business practices.

What are the challenges?

Initially, the greatest difficulty was to fit into the existing value chain and the existing cultural system. This required a close exchange with the smallholders, especially when making process decisions. Koa could not rely on existing infrastructures, but had to build them from scratch. Finally, the processing of the product should meet the high international standards – a basic requirement for Koa.

What are the results (impact)?

The innovative approach of this business idea not only enables sustainable production by developing a new product from food waste. It also enables small farmers in Ghana to increase their income by 30% and creates new, valuable jobs in the middle of the West African rainforest.

What is Koa’s vision?

Koa ‘s vision is to make the best possible use of our planet’s valuable resources and provide better living conditions for everyone who lives on it. At the same time, Koa aims to become the most credible company by transforming natural, plant-based resources from rural Africa into a treat for global society, creating jobs and increasing incomes for smallholder farmers in Ghana.

Can the solution of Koa be multiplied and scaled?

While Koa is currently focusing on rural areas in Ghana, this approach can of course be scaled up in all countries around the world where the cocoa fruit grows. At the same time, the idea can be applied to other raw materials, such as the coffee fruit. Around 60 billion tons of fruit pulp are thrown away there every year. This pulp also contains many vitamins and nutrients.