A cocoa company from the western African nation of Ghana says it’s opening a processing plant in Franklin that would be the largest food and beverage investment by an Africa-based company in the U.S. and the largest foreign direct investment from Ghana in Wisconsin
The company, Niche Cocoa, has partnered with Omanhene Cocoa Bean Co., of Milwaukee, in a leased 44,000 square foot plant in the Franklin Business Park. It is the first U.S. facility for Niche, the largest cocoa processor in Ghana, which is second only to Africa’s Ivory Coast in cocoa bean production.
Niche chose Wisconsin partly because of the strength of the food and beverage industry here.
“And with cocoa powder, as well as chocolates, the dairy industry is very important,” said Niche founder Edmund Poku.
This will be the company’s first plant in the United States. It will import cocoa cake from Ghana, which will be pulverized to create cocoa powder for nationwide distribution.
“The U.S. became a natural choice for expansion, given the market size and the potential to develop both semi-finished products and also sell more products, such as chocolates, up the value chain,” Poku said.
Niche will initially employ around 36 people in Franklin but could more than double that as production increases. Southeast Wisconsin, with a deep talent pool in the food and beverage industries, is well positioned for the work, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
[Adapted from: A cocoa processing company from the west African nation of Ghana is opening a local plant. Why did the company choose Franklin? October 4, 2022 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]