Development of an Innovation Cluster for Chocolate Manufacturing Firms

Development of an Innovation Cluster for Chocolate Manufacturing Firms: A Comparative analysis of Caribbean and Canadian Firms


Prof. Kamran Behdinan, University of Toronto

Prof. Kamran Behdinan

University of Toronto

Prof. Kit Fai Pun, The University of the West Indies

Prof. Kit Fai Pun

The University of the West Indies


Ambika Koonj Beharry, PhD Candidate,

Ambika Koonj Beharry, PhD Candidate

The University of the West Indies

Syed Abdul Mannan, MEng, University of Toronto

Syed Abdul Mannan, MEng

University of Toronto

Mujtaba Ali Khan, MEng, University of Toronto

Mujtaba Ali Khan, MEng

University of Toronto

Background Expand

Development across Caribbean island states has primarily depended on a single revenue-stream generated from either the tourism, agriculture or energy sectors. These sectors are now threatened by various emerging [global] variables translating into constriction in income and growth projections. The manufacturing sector is being considered as a potential diversification stream.

The food and beverage sub-sector accounts for the majority of the Caribbean’s manufacturing and evidence supports the availability of commodities with commercial viability. One such commodity is fine or flavour cocoa, a primary ingredient in the production of premium grade chocolate. Fine or flavour cocoa accounts for approximately 5% of total world production, of which Latin America and the Caribbean are among the world’s largest producers. The increasing demand for products derived from fine or flavour cocoa provides an opportunity for the region to capitalise on this prized commodity through well-coordinated value-added activities.

Impact Expand

The development of a chocolate manufacturing cluster in the Caribbean will allow the region to increase its income earnings through value-added manufacturing of a commodity which is indigenous to the region and whose global demand outweighs supply. As a result of the supply and demand imbalance, greater attention needs to be paid to innovation practices of the cluster in a fiercely competitive global market.

Research Problem Addressed Expand

The project was a collaborative initiative between The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and the University of Toronto, Canada. Canada’s success with sustaining diversification and promoting clusters made this a beneficial collaboration. Through this collaborative project, our team analyzed the chocolate manufacturing sector in Canada and the Caribbean with the aim of drawing lessons from the comparative analysis. An analysis of the Canadian experience in cluster development and management may serve as a basis for understanding cluster dynamics which could be adapted for use in the Caribbean.

University of Toronto Engineering 35 St. George Street Toronto, Ontario • M5S 1A4 • Canada
© 2018 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering