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Asia’s top chocolate producers, including Malaysia, can’t meet growing demand

Output for chocolates in Malaysia has dwindle to less than 1,000 tons from around 100,000 tons two decades ago, according to board data, as farmers turn to palm oil. 

Malaysia boosted shipments 10% to 345,000 tons last year, cocoa board data show.

Global players have been investing in Indonesia to position themselves to meet rising Asian demand. The latest was Olam International Ltd., which spent $90 million earlier this year to buy BT Cocoa. 

By 2020, Asia is expected to be the world’s largest market for cocoa powder, used in products including cookies, chocolate drinks and ice cream.

Processing of beans in Asia rose more than 25% in the past four years to about 780,000 tons in 2018, according to the Cocoa Association of Asia, which compiles data from Malaysia and members in Singapore and Indonesia. 

Grindings were up almost 10% on the year in the first quarter. Curious, and increasingly wealthy, people are consuming more chocolate confectionery, bakery items and drinks, the group said.

The Asian market for chocolate confectionery has grown by a compound annual rate of 5% in five years, as regional economies and population expand, according to Anthony Chien, research analyst at Euromonitor International. 

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