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Premium Chocolate Production from Bean to Bar

Quality right from the start: Lindt & Sprüngli is one of the few chocolate manufacturers that processes cocoa beans and thereby produces its own cocoa mass in its own factories as the basic ingredient of chocolate. With this we have an overview from the selection and sourcing of the cocoa beans to the creation of products of chocolate bars and pralines (“from bean to bar”).

The Lindt & Sprüngli bean to bar approach: The steps of our chocolate production

For us, traceability begins in the cocoa producing country and does not end until the beans reach our production sites. Our cocoa beans all come from countries and farmers which are part of our own cocoa sustainability program – the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. The traceability of our cocoa bean supply chain is the key foundation of our Program for improving livelihoods of the farming households in the cocoa-growing countries in the long term.

As a chocolate manufacturer with a history of over 175 years, we have built up extensive expertise in areas ranging from the selection of high-quality beans and technological know-how in the processing of our own cocoa mass, to chocolate production in our own factories. Our bean-to-bar approach is a differentiating feature that still distinguishes us as a premium manufacturer today. An exception is Russell Stover, which buys chocolate and chocolate products.

Step 1: Capture Basic Data

After harvesting, the cocoa beans are fermented and dried in the country of origin. The farmers participating in the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program are registered on a database with their name, farm location, and various basic data. When cocoa beans are purchased, checks are made to ensure that only beans from Farming Program farmers are bought, and the volume purchased is recorded.

Step 2: Unique Identification

The cocoa beans are packed in bags and clearly labelled (e.g in Ghana they are tagged with a barcode). This enables our partners who buy and transport the cocoa beans to clearly allocate the beans to the production volume of the Farming Program and trace them back to each individual farmer registered in the Farming Program.

Step 3: Identity Preserved

In order to guarantee the highest level of traceability, “Identity Preserved”, our partners always store and transport Farming Program beans separately from all other beans. For information on the traceability of our cocoa butter and powder, please see the Traceability section.

Step 6: Infrared Treatment

The cocoa beans that pass our stringent inspection are then thoroughly cleaned to ensure their absolute purity.

Step 2 through 5: Transportation to Mixing the Beans

Depending on its origin, each variety of cocoa has a multitude of intense flavors. In the end, it is only high-quality beans that are transported by ship to Amsterdam or the US. From Amsterdam or the US port, the beans and other raw ingredients travel by rail and truck to our own cocoa mass facilities in Switzerland, France, and the US.

However, chocolate production requires much more than this, as each individual step in the production aspects the quality of the chocolate. After repeated quality tests, the beans are sent out to be processed. Special bean mixtures from various different regions of origin are used for the recipes. The finely tuned blends later determine the flavor of the chocolate.

To safeguard the uniform and consistently high quality of all our chocolate products, all ingredients – including cocoa beans – are thoroughly tested in our own laboratories before and after purchasing.

Step 4: Quality Control

Prior to shipment, while they are still in the port in the country of origin, the cocoa beans undergo quality control. The cocoa beans are loaded into containers which are used solely for transporting beans from our Farming Program.

Step 5: Traceability Certificate

Each delivery of cocoa beans is accompanied by a traceability certificate, which is issued in the country of origin and sent to Lindt & Sprüngli when the goods are received. The document records, among other things, the production volumes of the farmers.

Step 6: Quality Control

The cocoa beans are transported by ship to destination ports in Europe and the USA. After arrival, they undergo quality control again. We only accept the goods if they meet our specifications.

Step 7: Cocoa Mass Factories

The beans are loaded and transported to our own cocoa mass factories in Europe and the USA, which are all certified to ISO 22000. The accompanying traceability certificate gives us precise information on the origin of the cocoa beans and the volume delivered.

Step 8 through 9: Roasting and Grinding

The cocoa nibs are roasted according to specific company-owned procedures. This special process involves perfectly coordinating the temperature and roasting time. Unlike when entire beans are roasted, roasting the nibs allows for a more even and finer roasting flavor.

After roasting, the cocoa is cracked even more, and ground into very fine bits.

Step 7: Break-up, Separation and Steaming of the Nibs

Lindt & Sprüngli uses special bean blends to ensure a distinguished taste for the respective chocolate recipes. The cocoa beans are mixed, cleaned, split open, removed from their shell, and broken into pieces. Eventually, all that remains are the cocoa fragments, the so-called cocoa nibs. Then the cocoas nibs are steamed.

Step 8: Mixing of Recipes

The delivered cocoa beans are stored in silos before being mixed for the recipes. They are then cleaned through infrared treatment.

Step 9: Steaming of Nibs

The cocoa beans are cracked open and the shell removed. The remaining cocoa fragments, known as nibs, undergo further processing before being steam-cleaned again.

Step 10: Roasting of Nibs

The nibs are then roasted by applying a process we specially developed to ensure the roasting time and temperature are perfectly aligned in order to achieve the desired aroma.

Step 11: Grinding of Nibs

Next, the nibs are crushed and ground in special mills until the cocoa mass reaches the desired particle size.

Step 12: Cocoa Mass

The cocoa mass is transported to our production sites.

Step 12 to 13: Mixing with other Main Ingredients and Second Milling

At the production facility, and depending on the recipe, cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and other ingredients are now added to the mass.

The enriched mass is then ground to the smallest possible particle size on large rolling mills.

At this point, the conventional chocolate manufacturing process begins...

Step 10 to 11: First Milling and Trasportation to Factory

After being ground, pressure and heat create a liquid cocoa mass, but this is still quite bitter.

This mass is then transported into our very own chocolate production factories, one of which is in Kilchberg, Switzerland.

Step 13: Mixing with other Main Ingredients

Other ingredients, such as milk powder and cocoa butter, are added to the cocoa mass and refined into chocolate. We aim to source 100% of our cocoa including beans, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder through sustainability programs. 

Step 14: Grinding of Cocoa Mass

The cocoa mass is ground again.

Step 15: Conching

Then comes the important step – conching.

Step 16: Molding or Further Processing

The chocolate mass is formed or processed further.

Step 15: Molding or Further Processing

The soft chocolate mass is now used to create the Lindt & Sprüngli world of products. For example, further high-quality ingredients, such as hazelnuts or almonds, are added in this last chocolate production stage. Considerable attention is paid to preserving the fine aroma after roasting the nuts. This is why we roast the nuts ourself and process them as quickly as possible.

Nowadays, well over 2,500 products, from LINDOR truffles, EXCELLENCE chocolate bars, pralines, GOLD BUNNIES, Ghirardelli SQUARES, Russell Stover pralines, Küfferle CHOCOLATE UMBRELLAS, through to Hofbauer pralines and Caffarel GIANDUIAS, are produced all over the world with a great love of detail. The design teams create an incredible variety of sophisticated designs to inspire consumers time after time. For Lindt & Sprüngli, “bean to bar” production forms the basis of a sustainable and traceable cocoa supply chain and is therefore a responsibility from the very beginning, which we want to assume ourselves.


Nowadays, well over 2,500 products - including LINDOR Chocolate Truffles, EXCELLENCE Chocolate Bars, pralines, GOLD BUNNIES, Ghirardelli SQUARES, Russell Stover pralines, Küfferle CHOCOLATE UMBRELLAS, Hofbauer pralines and Caffarel GIANDUIAS - are produced all over the world with meticulous attention to detail. We create an incredible variety of sophisticated designs to inspire consumers time after time.

For Lindt & Sprüngli, bean to bar production forms the basis of a sustainable and traceable cocoa supply chain and is therefore a responsibility from the very beginning, which we want to assume ourselves.


Find Out More About:

The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program  

Discover more about our Farming Program.


Learn more about the Group, our sustainability efforts and ingredients.