Own confectionery business, or how to make money on chocolate production

* The calculations use the average data for the World

Chocolate Market Overview

As you know, there are currently a sufficient number of chocolate producers on the Russian confectionery market (including chocolates, bars, bars, etc.). However, this situation is far from an obstacle for new manufacturers to enter the market.

Moreover, despite the apparent abundance of confectionery (and in particular, chocolate) products, the emergence of new manufacturers, especially those producing high-quality, so-called "Premium" brands are strongly encouraged.

Many novice businessmen are reluctant to start business with food, and especially confectionery production. Chocolate and other sweets are not considered essential goods, releasing which you can quickly wrap up your invested capital, and food and light industry in general are traditionally considered not too cost-effective.

In addition, many are embarrassed by the need for repeated sanitary and epidemiological inspections of both the product itself and the production facilities, as relevant authorities always give increased attention to food manufacturers.

However, having examined the arguments and counterarguments in more detail, it is easy to see that they are untenable.

What is chocolate?

Chocolate, although formally not a primary commodity, does not lose significantly in sales even during a crisis. It is one of the favorite products of the population: it, like all sweets, is loved by children, and adults, by and large in this regard, are only big children - they very actively consume chocolate, for example, with tea or coffee, instead of a full dinner or just for pleasure.

A box of chocolates is the most common “bribe”, i.e. a thing given in gratitude to small officials, kindergarten teachers, school teachers and university teachers, doctors and (or) nurses in a clinic, etc., not to mention chocolates as one of the attributes of a romantic date.

So the fears of a novice entrepreneur regarding finding a sales market and payback are in vain.

As for the increased attention on the part of the bodies that control the quality of products and their compliance with sanitary and epidemiological standards, many forget that any production (even not only food production) is still considered by them in this regard.

So attention is paid to everyone, without exception: manufacturers, for example, many building materials (paint and varnish products, any products related to woodworking, etc.) are subject to increased fire safety requirements. Do not be afraid of excessive pickiness of sanitary officials - if you really have everything in order, no one will do anything to you.

Summing up all of the above, we can safely say that the production of chocolate and chocolate products is one of the most interesting and profitable areas of business.

Description of technology and specifics of chocolate production

By and large, there is nothing complicated in chocolate production technology. Yes, raw materials - cocoa beans require a carefully selected warehouse: a well-ventilated but dry room with an artificially maintained temperature of 16 ° C. But this is where the special requirements for chocolate production are limited. The rest - the workshop, the availability of sanitary books, etc. meet the usual requirements for food production.

The main stage of chocolate production is conching. It is a continuous mixing of the heated chocolate mass, until it turns into a homogeneous (homogenized) mass. Conching is performed in special conchs (or, as they are also called, conch machines).

Pre-mixed chocolate mass (consisting of grated cocoa, powdered sugar, cocoa butter and additives), which has been rolled - pre-crushed in special mills.

The main secret of conchesion is the duration of mixing. It was found that prolonged mixing significantly improves the quality of the chocolate mass. Therefore, many elite varieties of chocolate are concussed within 360 hours, or 5 days.

The norm is considered the duration of this process is about 72 hours (3 days). For cheaper varieties, one day of conching is enough.

Conching itself is carried out in three stages: first, the dry mixture is mixed (cocoa powder and powdered sugar), on the second - excess moisture is evaporated from the mixture, and on the third - cocoa butter (or its substitute) is added to the dry mixture.

Of course, the taste and quality of chocolate is influenced by various flavoring and aromatic additives (flavors, alcohol, wine and the like), and the percentage of natural components (for example, palm, coconut, peanut, milk fat are often added instead of fairly expensive cocoa butter or they combine these components with each other; instead of cocoa powder, carob, carob powder is sometimes used). But ultimately, the recipe for the resulting chocolate, as a rule, is the secret of the company.

The second most important stage in the production of chocolate is molding, i.e. giving the chocolate mass an appropriate form (tiles, sweets, bars, etc.) and filling (if, of course, it is provided by the manufacturer) with crushed nuts, candied fruits, waffles, etc.

What is chocolate?

The prepared chocolate mass with a temperature of +40 to +45 ° С is poured into special molds (molds). Then it is rapidly cooled to 33 ° C, and, kept at this temperature for 30-40 minutes, is constantly mixed. This allows cocoa butter to crystallize properly. This process is called tempering.

Next, the molds are finally cooled, finished products are extracted from the molds and packaged.

Cost of equipment and profitability of chocolate production

Of course, the list of equipment for the production of chocolate is not limited to the conche machine and a set of molds. The chocolate production line needs much more equipment to function properly.

For example, for the kindling of fat (cocoa butter), a special grease-fired boiler is required (at a cost of about a third of a million rubles - for a boiler with a capacity of 200 kg of oil); primary mixing of the components (rolling) is carried out on ball mills filled with special steel balls like bearings, with which the mixing process takes place.

Such a mill costs about one and a half million rubles. It comes with 1 conche, but taking into account the technology - chocolate mass should be mixed for at least a day - you will have to purchase additional conchi (each of which costs about 8000-9000 €) so as not to stop the conveyor.

In addition, you will also need a tempering machine (about 1 million rubles) and a vertical cooling tunnel, which produces rapid cooling of molded products, required by technology. Such a tunnel will cost about 2.5 million rubles.

This is just the basic technique needed to make chocolate. Additional - hoods and thermostats for the finished goods warehouse, conveyor belts, aeration plants, special planetary pumps and heated pipelines for moving liquid chocolate mass from unit to unit, molds and stamping machine for their manufacture, packaging and other machines will not be pulled in total less than 4-5 million rubles.

As you can see, the total costs are not too high - something about 10 million rubles, but sensitive enough for a novice businessman.

But these costs pay off very quickly, if we consider in more detail the ratio of the cost of chocolate and its selling price, i.e. calculate profitability.

If we consider the usual - bitter - chocolate, without the addition of soy, palm oil and other cheap substitutes (namely, it is the least profitable), then it is about 60% (by weight) consists of cocoa powder (about $ 1870-2010 for 1 t), and 40% from powdered sugar (about $ 1000 per 1 ton), we get the cost of 1 ton of chocolate (taking into account a small percentage of cocoa butter) at about $ 1500-1600, or $ 15-16 (less than 500 rubles) for 1 kg.

Even considering for simplicity 1 kg of dark chocolate equal at a cost of 500 rubles. (with labor costs, taxes, depreciation and other costs), and the price of a bar of such chocolate is 100 rubles, we get a minimum profitability of 200%.

This is the lowest limit. Adding various cheapening additives to the chocolate recipe entails an increase in profitability literally at times.

Compare: carob, carob powder costs about 50-67 rubles. per 1 kg against $ 18.7-20.1 (565-608 rubles) of real cocoa powder. Adding even 5% carob will save about 8-10% ($ 120-160 $) per ton of chocolate.

Pavel Biryukov

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