German chocolate manufacturer Ludwig Weinrich has acquired a majority stake in UK-based chocolate brand Divine Chocolate.
Divine Chocolate was co-founded in 1998 by the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative of cocoa farmers in Ghana, Twin Trading and The Body Shop, and is one of the largest purveyors of Fairtrade chocolate in the UK.
Ludwig Weinrich has manufactured Divine’s chocolate since the company’s foundation in 1998, and the firm has now acquired the majority of shares in Divine for an undisclosed sum.
According to a statement from Divine Chocolate, the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative will still own 20% of the shares in the company and will continue to have board representation.
The firm claims that its business model of supporting cocoa farmers and producing chocolate on Fairtrade terms will remain in place, and it will “remain committed to delivering positive impact for farmers in Africa.”
A Divine Chocolate spokesperson said: “We are delighted that Weinrich, under its CEO Cord Budde, is now a key shareholder and are fully committed to our mission to empower cocoa farmers and chocolate lovers by delivering seriously good chocolate.
“Mr Budde and his company have proved to be exceptional partners to Divine: not only developing and producing all our delicious chocolate flavours, but visiting farmers, hosting Kuapa Kokoo in their factory, building a school house to add to a school built by Kuapa, investing in establishing Divine USA, and helping in many ways to build our business.
“We are genuinely excited about what the future holds for the company.”
Cord Budde, CEO of Weinrich, added: “To be honest, Divine has changed my life. Yes, that might sound a bit impassioned, but it is true.
“Divine has brought me much closer to the most important part of our products, the cocoa and the farmers, and most importantly, made me much more sensitive regarding the needs and the livelihoods of those people who are producing this wonderful cocoa.”
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