What's the difference between Cococo, Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™, and Callebaut?

At Cococo Chocolatiers, we love chocolate! We are expert confectioners, manufacturers, and retailers of award-winning artisanal chocolates and purveyors of fine cocoa confectionery including Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ products. Many of our customers are confused about our brand and brands related to it. We hope this article clears up the confusion.

What’s the difference between Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ and Cococo?

Nothing. Cococo owns the Canadian rights for this trademark with permission by the worldwide trademark holder, Callebaut. Under the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ trade name, we handcraft the famous chocolates in the copper box that our customers know and love, plus we invent new flavours that keep winning awards. We know our chocolates are a part of many family traditions spanning generations, and we know our customers count on us to keep making their favourites, year after year, with the same quality and attention to detail that they have come to expect.

What happened to Bernard Callebaut Chocolate?

In 2010, the company called Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut Partnership led by Bernard Callebaut and his wife went into receivership, owing millions of dollars to creditors (many of which were small local businesses). The company and the trademark was eventually acquired by a group of investors called Cococo Chocolatiers. The original Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut Partnership went into receivership in 2010 after ATB Financial claimed Bernard Callebaut owed them close to $4 million dollars.

Rumour has it that Bernard was tricked by someone or his business was stolen. Is this true?

No, absolutely not. The bankruptcy was completely the result of Bernard's own actions while he was in full control of his original business. Receivership is a highly regulated process and it is not possible to coerce the system to benefit one party over another. After considering multiple bidders, Receiver Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte) recommended the company’s assets be sold to Cococo who then bought the business, including all of the business debt of the secured creditors. Cococo also paid the money owed to the creditors – many local small businesses and suppliers who were in danger of failing — that Bernard Callebaut’s bankrupt business owed them. Cococo also invited Bernard to continue working with the company, but he declined the invitation. He had a different plan.

During the receivership, before the company was sold to Cococo, Bernard Callebaut secretly took bulk chocolate, manufacturing equipment, chocolate molds, computers, and office equipment from the bankrupt business. This was illegal. After theft was discovered, and after  the company was sold to Cococo, Bernard Callebaut was fined in 2011 by Justice Barbara Romaine $150,000 for contempt of court. Bernard used this stolen chocolate, molds, and equipment to start a new business, Papa Chocolat, which was then later cease-traded by the Alberta Securities Commision because the directors, including Bernard Callebaut himself, violated Alberta Securities laws. In 2015 Bernard Callebaut declared personal bankruptcy.

What’s the difference between Callebaut, Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, and Bernard Callebaut?

There is a lot of brand confusion.

Callebaut is a Belgian chocolate brand, owned by the Barry Callebaut Group, and it is the world’s largest manufacturer of bulk chocolate. It was founded in 1911 by Octaaf Callebaut in Belgium. In 1996, Callebaut merged with French chocolate maker Cacao Barry to form the Barry Callebaut group. Barry Callebaut is not a person, it is a business. Callebaut makes a huge range of different quality chocolate, from consumer grade (like the bulk chocolate found in some grocery stores) to  fine couverture. Their chocolate is marked with the Callebaut logo.

The Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut Partnership was founded by Bernard Callebaut, a member of the Callebaut family of Belgium who immigrated to Canada in 1982 to start his own chocolate company. In 2010, this company went into receivership after ATB Financial claimed Bernard Callebaut owed them close to $4 million dollars. 

Bernard Callebaut the man is a charismatic and well-known Calgary chocolatier who has gone through multiple business troubles and bankruptcies over the last 40 years. Bernard Callebaut is no longer affiliated with Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ or Cococo.

So who is Cococo?

Our official name is Cocoa Community Confections Inc., but people know us as Cococo or Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™. Callebaut allows Cococo to use the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ trademark in Canada. Even though Cococo and Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ shares a tradename with Callebaut, we are not otherwise related.

Our business is not centred around one person. Instead, our business is women-run and we are a team of talented confectioners whose focus is confectionery — we make delicious and award-winning treats using our own certified sustainable and fair trade couverture chocolate. Our chocolatiers make over 80 different recipes in our factory kitchen, many by hand, using simple ingredients like real cream and butter, and no artificial preservatives, and our own sustainable proprietary couverture chocolate. To date, we’ve won 24 International Chocolate Awards. And Cococo is capable of manufacturing and co-packing virtually any product containing chocolate as the primary or defining ingredient.

What does the word Cococo mean?

The prefix Co means together, and Cococo’s three core values are Cocoa, Community, and Confections. Our name reflects our values, as does our brand essence, “chocolate together”. Cococo means Chocolate Together: together in cocoa sourcing, together in community, together in confections. And what about the icon in our logo? Some people think it’s a flower or a paw print, and that’s fine with us. But it really represents a cross-section of a cocoa pod.

Why are cocoa sourcing and sustainability important?

As part of our brand purpose, we are committed to cocoa sourcing. That is why our proprietary couverture chocolate is made using third-party Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa and cocoa butter, both of which are fully traceable. Other chocolate companies may say on their labels or in their marketing that their chocolate is made using sustainable cocoa, but what about the cocoa butter? What greater good is really being served when only a portion of the cocoa ingredients are sustainably sourced? It’s less bad, but not 100% good.

We strive to be sustainable and environmental in our practices—we only use couverture chocolate made with third-party Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa and cocoa butter, both traceable and fairly traded, which helps drive positive change for West African farming communities.

Cococo is also an active member of the World Cocoa Foundation and an original signatory of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) to help prevent deforestation in cocoa-growing regions.

We believe chocolate is a food that requires all of us — consumers, industry, farmers, buyers, and sellers — to work collaboratively with the shared goal of improving cocoa sustainability across the supply chain. That’s Chocolate Together, and that’s Cococo.