Origin Chocolate started out in a small home kitchen in Orange, located in regional NSW, four years ago.
Today the company is selling its bean-to-bar organic chocolate into overseas markets.
Matthew Chimenti’s road to becoming an award-winning chocolate maker has had a few bends, including stints as a baker, pastry chef and fixed plant operator in a mine. It was only after he and his family moved from Western Australia to Orange, – the ‘food basket’ of NSW – that Chimenti was bitten by the cocoa bug.
Currently, Origin Chocolate imports coffee beans from around the world – especially South America and the Pacific – and exports chocolates to Singapore and Malaysia. This means the company benefits directly from the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which eliminates tariffs on imports of Australian chocolate into those markets.
‘FTAs open up a number of opportunities and play a role in helping us identify potential markets,’ Chimenti says. Removing barriers to trade and promoting stronger commercial ties between participating nations are key benefits of FTAs.
Chimenti recommends establishing a profitable and sustainable business before moving forward into exporting. ‘Before considering exports, build that domestic market and analyse your business,’ he says. ‘A number of export opportunities came my way very, very early in the business and it was a little bit overwhelming initially, but it was something that I wanted to pursue.
‘There are a lot of leads out there but not all of them bear fruit. There’s no doubt you need to be persistent.’ With a distinctive brand, and a commitment to organic, fair-trade beans, Origin’s chocolate is picking up awards, including silver and bronze medals in the fine food division at Melbourne Royal Show and in an international food competition in Malaysia.
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Article source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission