ECOLATE is a new chocolate made from cacao waste.
We worked with cacao producers, researchers and chefs
and designed a sustainable ecosystem to bring the idea to production.
ECOLATE is available at online stores and other channels.


The Chocolate Crisis

Demand for Chocolate has significantly grown and expanded the global market size by 35% over the past decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the demand.
On the other hand, cacao, the material for chocolate, has been marking its lowest price.

Poverty of Cacao Farmers

Attempts to supply low-priced cacao at large volume have resulted in cutting labor wages of cacao farmers, putting them in serious poverty. As demand surged, the need for expanded production areas arose, which triggered illegal logging, farmland conversion and tropical deforestation, and other social issues such as child labor. The cacao-producing environment is now in facing serious challenges and there is a potential risk of chocolate shortage in 30 years. In order to solve the situation, LIFULL introduced a project to tackle the root cause; the poverty of cacao farmers.



Instead of using the common ingredients for regular chocolate; which are cacao mass and cocoa butter,
we explored ways to utilize the wasted parts, which are cacao bean shells, branches and leaves,
and turned them into a new chocolate product, named “ECOLATE”.

Cacao trees and where they are used

Cacao mass, the main ingredient of chocolate, is made from cacao beans collected from cacao pods, while the remaining 70% of cacao material is discarded.
This time, we focused on the cacao waste material.

Sustainable Ecosystem

We have created a sustainable ecosystem with cacao farmers and chefs to realize ECOLATE.
The sales of ECOLATE will lead to the support of cacao farmers.


How to make ingredients from cacao waste

  1. 1. Logging and cleaning of waste materials

  2. 2. Cut into small pieces

  3. 3. Dry in the sun

  4. 4. Grind into powder


The project has been covered in various media both at home and abroad, contributing to raising awareness of the social issue about cacao farmers in poverty. The new chocolate, ECOLATE has become so popular that the online store has been mostly out of stock since the product was introduced in April. The positive sales result is financially supporting the cacao farms. If the project continues at this pace, approximately 141 cacao trees will be consumed as food ingredient every year, which is equivalent to conserving the natural environment of over 1,400 m2.


LIFULL is a leading social enterprise in Japan, operating various businesses
to solve social issues in areas of housing, food and lifestyle.
The company aims to make every "LIFE" around the world "FULL"
of peace and joy.To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of "12.
Responsible Consumption and Production" and “15. Life on Land”,
LIFULL commits to continue this project.