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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BAT (BEANS TO CHOCOLATE)

Período documentado: 2019-05-01 hasta 2019-10-31

The search for quality products is an established and unstoppable trend in today’s society: even more so, for food products.
Chocolate, one of the most consumed food products in the world, is strongly following this trend also. Nowadays it is quite common to read about “Chocolate's Bean-to-Bar Revolution”, that is the trend aiming to bring quality and ethically sourced chocolate to the public, using as raw material the chocolate beans instead of cocoa mass (used by the vast majority of chocolate producers). This market need implies the availability/purchase of a whole set of expensive, bulky and energy intensive machines; an investment not all companies can afford.
We want to enable chocolate manufacturers to have full control over the whole production chain, thus ensuring both quality and efficiency, by means of BAT, an equipment able to perform all the complete chocolate manufacturing process with only one machine (instead of five actually used).

Beside the economical and industrial aspects that are important for MARPI development, some of the outputs of the project are important for the society:
* Safety
No contamination of the chocolate with metal particles: the most frequently used equipments are plain roller mills (refiners) and stirred ball mills. In the traditional method currently in use, refining is carried out by a ball mill. The metal balls rub against each other and against the container walls, are worn out and release steel particles that are unavoidably incorporated into the product sold to consumers.
* Energy consumption
Reducing the number of equipments, automatically the use of energy will be lower
* Occupational implications
Since the initial cost of the equipment is limited, the new equipment will enable the creation of a high number of new food companies, having the quality as driving vector
* Bean Producers (usually underpaid and exploited), may start to produce chocolate in order to diversify their business

We want to become leader in a segment that will become always more important in the next future, dealing with quality, safety and revenue opportunity.
Despite of the fact that BAT addresses the 5% of the chocolate beans imported to Europe, this segment includes the large majority of the European chocolate manufacturers, corresponding to 90% of all the companies currently operating in the chocolate manufacturing industry and, approximately 40% of the world market.
This means high growth opportunities and the possibility to be an important leader in this field
Market: to be leader in the specific sector, widespread market penetration
Technical: to improve the performances of the equipment (in terms of efficiency, materials, footprint, energy absorption, …), flexibility, improved cleaning procedures, safety
Economical: low running costs, high profitability
• Technical developments
Refining process: improvement of the performances and second prototype for test

• Market Analysis and Segmentation
Enlarging of the initial market analysis, and better understanding of the trends and of the chocolate production
Customer Survey: investigation on the potential clients’ needs
Analysis of the competitors, and current used equipments

• Market entry strategy
Refinement of the initial strategy, changing the collaboration partnership
Change of strategic partner
Offer and Pricing: update of the potential selling cost
Communication/Exploitation strategy and Business Model

• Organisational Structure
Identification of new key professional figures in the technical and commercial area

• IPR: intensification of the examination of the patent situation in the target Countries
The feasibility assessment, both on the technical, economic and market side, gave good results. We will then proceed with the next phase, that is the completion of the innovation project: this means to advance in the technical development studying also the industrialisation aspects, to in deep structure the market penetration strategy, and to set up an exploitation plan bringing MARPI to sell the new equipment creating profitability and employment.

As concerns this last point, we are referring not only to MARPI, but also to all the satellite activities that will benefit. Chocolate transformation companies, artisanal chocolate laboratories, experienced larger companies, but with limited investment capacity, and also the bean producers that will diversify their business (that is actually mainly composed by the buyers of the large food industry).