Mars ambassador visits UTZ certified cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and reports on his journey

Once-in-a-life time experience to be tracked for worldwide outreach

blog_header_2Amsterdam/New Jersey, October 10, 2013. Chris Cuello, Sales Director at Mars Chocolate North America, is embarking on a once-in-a-life-time experience with UTZ Certified, as part of the Mars Ambassador Program. He will travel for ten days in the remote areas of Côte d’Ivoire where UTZ certified cocoa is produced, meeting with cocoa producers in four different cities: Yamoussoukro, Agboville, Soubré and San Pédro. He will track his personal insights throughout his adventure in the largest country producer of cocoa worldwide on the UTZ blog.

“Having Chris at UTZ is a sign of the profound interest of one of our major partners to really understand what our cocoa program stands for,” said Hand de Groot, UTZ Certified Executive Director. “We are really enthusiastic to share his journey with the world and raise awareness of the origin of our cocoa.” He concluded.

Chris has spent over two weeks at UTZ Certified’s central office in Amsterdam, where he has been able to meet with UTZ employees and learn all about the UTZ cocoa program.

“It is a rare occasion that one is given the opportunity to expand your perspective and immerse yourself in something new – where cultural norms, living standards, educational levels and even the language is completely foreign,” said Chris. “I am curious, excited and even a little scared by the journey I embarked upon this week. It will take me on a month-long journey around the world from my home in Long Valley, New
Jersey, USA to the city of Amsterdam in Holland and ultimately into remote cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire in Africa.”

UTZ Certified started to work in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa farms in 2008. Over 88 .000 smallholders and 442,666 hectares of cocoa plantations in the country are UTZ certified. In 2012, 51% of UTZ certified cocoa was sourced from 162 certified producer groups in Côte d’Ivoire.

Follow Chris Cuello’s journeys in Cote d’Ivoire:

Note to the editors

About UTZ Certified
UTZ Certified is a program and label for sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea. Its mission is to create a world where sustainable farming is the norm. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of people and the environment. UTZ Certified works with a strict code of conduct for growing coffee, cocoa and tea, verified by independent third parties.
More information at:

About Mars
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
For more information, please visit

For more information:
UTZ Certified
Mira-Bai Simon
T: + 31 6 46 899 016
De Ruyterkade 6
1013AA Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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One Comment

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