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A sweet business: the export of fine chocolate

Providing as many people as possible with exquisite chocolate - this has been Valrhona's goal since 1922, when it was still known as Chocolaterie du Vivarais. Founder Albéric Guironnet already placed the highest value on quality and innovation - and this is still the top maxim for Valrhona, as the brand has been called since 1947. The high-quality products are supplied exclusively to selected delicatessens, restaurants and confectioners, and around half of the production is exported. The French national organization of DACHSER Food Logistics and the European Food Network ensure on-time and smooth transport in France and to ten European countries.

© Valrhona

France is the land of pleasure and joie de vivre. In addition to excellent cheese and wine, the best chocolate creations also come from there. Patissiers and chocolatiers have been creating exquisite products ever since Alphonse de Richelieu, Cardinal of Lyon, was the first Frenchman to consume chocolate in 1642. This was intended as a medicine to alleviate his bouts of melancholy. And even today, chocolate is considered by many people to be a soul comforter and good mood booster. However, the Mayans and later the Aztecs knew long before that the raw material cocoa has a certain medicinal effect. The alkaloid theobromine contained in cocoa beans is said to have a heart-stimulating and muscle-relaxing effect and is a mood-lifter for many. For a long time, cocoa beans were a valuable means of payment or served as grave goods before finding their way to Europe in the 16th century.

High-quality cocoa is an extremely valuable commodity - and is the basis for the creations of Valrhona, a company of the French dairy group Savencia. Valrhona is one of the best and most famous producers of chocolate and chocolate products in the world. The company's cocoa buyers travel the world all year to seek out the best varieties. 16,979 cocoa producers from 16 countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Africa supply the company with the best cocoa beans in trusting and long-standing partnerships, which in turn are used to produce fine chocolate products. Joint projects such as the construction of schools in the growing regions or the protection of rare cocoa varieties make a valuable contribution to social responsibility and the sustainable use of valuable resources. Innovation and experimentation instead of stagnation and familiar paths. In 1986, for example, Valrhona developed "Guanja," the "bitterest chocolate in the world," and introduced "Dulcey" as "blonde chocolate," a fourth color of the popular gourmet candy.

High quality and at the same time sustainable chocolate makes school

Founded just over 100 years ago in a former carpenter's workshop in Tain l'Hermitage in the Rhone Valley, the company produces high-quality cocoa products such as chocolate bars, couvertures and chocolates, including single-variety chocolate bars from specific cocoa-growing regions with vintage details make up the versatile range. Valrhona products can be found on the dessert menus of the best restaurants and in selected delicatessens. Always in focus: developing sustainable and innovative products through trial and experimentation that are fairly traded. And doing so together with the 750 employees, chef pâtissiers and cocoa farmers.

From the Rhone Valley to ten European countries

Since 2017, DACHSER Food Logistics has been a reliable partner when it comes to transporting the fine chocolate creations to customers in France and to buyers in ten European countries. As an extremely sensitive commodity, chocolate is extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Even a slight deviation causes changes not only in appearance but also in taste. This makes it all the more important to provide consistent proof of temperature throughout the entire transport route - a standard service provided by DACHSER France Food Logistics and all other members of the European Food Network. The customer's expectations are high, namely punctual, complete and hygienic delivery of the products as well as professional temperature-controlled delivery. Meeting these is a top priority for the logistics service providers in the network. Simon Neuville, Sales Manager at DACHSER France Food Logistics, says, "We make sure that many consumers get to enjoy this particularly high-quality chocolate. That's a really good feeling."

The basis for the successful cooperation between DACHSER Food Logistics and Valrhona is, among other things, the high level of standardization of the processes as well as customer-specific logistics services and the know-how for sensitive food transports of the permanently trained employees of DACHSER France Food Logistics and the other members of the European Food Network. The key advantage of this effective collaboration is that the partners bundle their logistics services under the umbrella of the European Food Network. This means that general cargo shipments are delivered quickly and reliably to the customer's desired destination within 34 European countries at set times. "Valrhona and DACHSER stand for the highest quality standards, and that is a good basis for working together in a spirit of trust. Our chocolate is a premium product. That makes it all the more important for us to know that the transport of our delicacies is in the best hands," explains Séverine Ginot, Head of Transport at Valrhona.

The French national organization of DACHSER Food Logistics organizes temperature-controlled transports and warehouse services for food manufacturers, -distributors and food service customers in France and from France to Europe. The competent, industry-knowledgeable contact partners 

  • control daily connections with fixed transit times

  • rely on well-established procedures and processes

  • have access to an almost comprehensive European logistics network

  • ensure proper food handling throughout the supply chain.

All IFS requirements and EU directives on quality assurance and traceability of foodstuffs are also met. Among other things, the preparation of orders, the loading of the packages and the loading of the pallets for precise delivery to the individual distribution zones is handled for Valrhona. "In addition, our services include enabling the delivery of premium products to private customers," explains Simon Neuville. "This involves the recipient receiving an e-mail or text message with a link that they can click on, suggesting a date and time when they would like to receive their delivery."

A reliable partnership

DACHSER Food Logistics covers 6,202,163 kilometers a year across Europe on behalf of Valrhona. Customers from Germany are the main customers, followed by Austria and Luxembourg. The small country's export quota shows why it is important for the French company to have a logistics partner at its side who can ship both small and large batches throughout Europe. After all, deliveries to Luxembourg were initially low, but have steadily increased. The reliable transport of sometimes smaller general cargo shipments is also made possible to European countries such as Poland or Serbia via the European Food Network. "It is important to us that our exclusive products also reach hand-picked customers who have lower in-house requirements. The fact that they are also delivered there in a planned and cost-efficient manner is essential for our export strategy. Efficient use of logistics capacity reduces costs and saves personnel and time," says Séverine Ginot.

Séverine Ginot, Head of Transport at Valrhona (left) and Simon Neuville, Sales Manager at DACHSER France Food Logistics (right).


Social responsibility across national borders

Those who act globally also have a global responsibility - this claim unites DACHSER and Valrhona. For the manufacturer of premium chocolate, the creation of a fair and sustainable industry is the top priority. This is to be achieved in particular through fair and long-term cooperation with cocoa producers. Social and ecological responsibility are a central concern, which is demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that there are partnerships with cocoa farmers that have existed for over 20 years. DACHSER supports numerous projects with the children's charity terre des hommes. Among other things, DACHSER and the organization, which was founded in 1960, work together to promote self-sufficiency for people in underdeveloped regions such as India, Namibia, Brazil, and Nepal. Other grassroots projects include combating human rights violations - especially any form of violence against children and women - as well as a commitment to a healthy, clean environment and the education of young people - especially girls and young women - and helping them on their way to gainful employment. "Our strong partnership is based not only on high quality standards in terms of products and services, but also on the fact that both companies attach great importance to assuming social responsibility," emphasizes Simon Neuville.

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