What’s in a name? For Made In Africa (MIA), it embodies a concept in which social development is fundamental, a concept which showcases the positive potential of Africa through its extraordinary produce. Founders Brett, Sarah and their team are striving to reverse the economic impact upon the continent of current chocolate production: despite producing 65% of the world’s cocoa, communities in Africa economically benefit from less than 1% of the chocolate production process which is predominately carried out in Europe and the USA. MIA seek to empower local communities to take more control over this production process, teaching farmers how to ferment and dry well and partnering with a local factory. “Our mission is simple,” state Brett and Sarah, “to make amazing chocolate that does good. We believe that the best flavour and a fair supply chain can go hand in hand and that’s what we aim to deliver with each and every bar.”
By partnering with Africa’s best food entrepreneurs, MIA reinvents perceptions of the continent, collaborating with small independent Madagascan cocoa farmers and a local chocolate making team to produce a delicious end product of superior quality. Indeed, the International Cocoa Organization in London classifies 100% of Madagascan cocoa as fine flavour, a distinction awarded to just 10% of global production, Brett and Sarah highlight. Constant collaboration with production partners and market feedback are essential to shaping new product development. MIA works closely with the chocolate making team in order to develop the best roasts for inclusion and to fine-tune chocolate recipes in order to create a product of top quality.
HOW THEY BECAME MAKERS…
MIA was launched in the summer of 2017 by Brett and Sarah who aimed to unite a group of like-minded individuals around the central brand vision, namely, “that some of the very best foods can be crafted at the source of the ingredients in Africa, and in a way that creates a positive connection between producers and consumers.”
Brett, born in Britain and raised in the USA, developed a passion for Africa whilst working in Madagascar, first as a volunteer teacher and later as a project manager in social development. Brett has a decade of experience in chocolate prior to founding MIA as a co-founder of Madécasse. Sarah is a local of the picturesque Belgian town of Bruges, celebrated internationally for its own traditions of chocolaterie. However, it wasn’t until she began tasting single origin chocolate that she began to fully appreciate the extraordinary potential of cocoa varieties and the depth of flavour imparted by terroir and variations in the chocolate making process. Her passion for the richness of African culture and traditions was sparked as a tour guide on the Nile after completing a degree in marketing.
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