Mars and Benson Hill are improving chocolate production with better cacao trees


In Virginia, Mars, Incorporated and Benson Hill Biosystems partnered to improve the productivity and climate resilience of cacao trees, essential to chocolate production.

Healthy, productive cacao trees benefit millions of smallholder farmers globally who depend on them for their livelihood, but climate change and disease pressure put production at risk. Mars has committed to sustainability throughout its operations, including sharing its expertise in science and technology to enable farmers to plant high-yielding, climate resistant, water and nutrient use efficient and disease-resistant cacao.

“We want to enable farmers to produce more cocoa from less land,” said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer of Mars. “Benson Hill has built an impressive data and machine learning platform designed to provide insights that can improve crops faster. By tapping into the natural genetic diversity of cacao, we can speed up the evolutionary process necessary for improved productivity, disease resistance and resiliency to climate change.”