Our history

Since it's creation in 1993, Kaoka has been advocating chocolate that is organic, ethical, high quality and accessible to as many people as possible.

Kaoka's adventure began with André Deberdt, founder of the company and a genuine trailblazer of organic methods and fair trade.

André Deberdt was a man of strong character, driven by powerful convictions and capable of moving mountains. At the end of the 1970s, he began campaigning for organic produce and was involved in the early days of the Biocoop network. Biocoop is the most important organic stores chain in France.

A keen traveller, in 1988 he set up a program in Togo to promote dried organic tropical fruit. Whilst there, he discovered cocoa and obtained certification for one of the first organic cocoas in the world! Unfortunately, the local political situation became unstable and his business collapsed. But André Deberdt now had a taste for cocoa and starting out again from nothing, he founded Kaoka in 1993.

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It is inconceivable to buy cocoa if its growers cannot make a decent living from it.
André Deberdt founder of Kaoka

Kaoka, one of the first organic chocolates in the world

His project was revolutionary for the time. His desire? To offer chocolate that respects nature and people, relying on strong and long lasting partnerships with growers thanks to a continuous presence in plantations.

Today, it is his children, Guy and Maria Deberdt, who run the family business and continue to promote its values.

Some dates


  1. 1989 In Togo, André Deberdt launches one of the first organic cocoa programs in the world.
  2. 1991 He markets one of the first organic chocolate bars in the world: a 70% pure cocoa mass chocolate with no added cocoa butter.
  3. 1993 André Deberdt takes a step further and founds Kaoka.
  4. 2000 KAOKA's Ecuadorian adventure begins, thus initiating the “Nacional” cocoa safeguard program in Ecuador.
  5. 2001 In the São Tomé & Principe archipelago, once nicknamed Chocolate Island, Kaoka embarks on an ambitious challenge, namely to restructure an abandoned sector and relaunch the production of high quality cocoa.
  6. 2009 KAOKA enters into a partnership with CONACADO, one of the largest cocoa growers' cooperatives in the world, in the Dominican Republic.
  7. 2011 After his passing, it is André's children, Guy and Maria Deberdt, who take up the mantle at Kaoka.
  8. 2013 In Ecuador, the cooperative evolves and forms CECAO, an export structure in which associations of cocoa growers are shareholders alongside Kaoka. The culmination of a strong and long-standing partnership!
  9. 2015 Kaoka creates the Colpa de Loros cooperative, with a group of Peruvian growers united by the desire to produce aromatic cocoa while preserving an endemic ecosystem. In 2018, it becomes Peru's 11th largest exporter.
  10. 2020 As the Covid crisis shakes the world, our integrated value chain model is proving its resilience in the face of change. Sanitary measures are in place and the purchase of producers' crops is maintained. We can continue to provide them with an income in these difficult times and honour our commitments to our customers.
We were pioneers in the French organic chocolate market 30 years ago, and every day we do our utmost to keep that edge. Because Kaoka is above all a human story about lasting ties.
Guy Deberdt Managing Director of Kaoka

A unique approach

From the very start, André Deberdt was convinced of the need to control the entire, complex chain of cocoa production, from the selection of different varieties through to processing, in order to offer exceptional chocolate that is sustainable for the planet and future generations.

It is this integrated program model that Kaoka has been working to develop ever since, and which sets the French SME apart from other players in the sector.

Learn more about Kaoka's approach