Products derived from cocoa beans are not only used in chocolates, but also in an array of food applications. The first stage of cocoa beans processing is call "grinding", whereby the beans are crushed into cocoa liquor. Liquor can either be sold as such to be incorporated in chocolates, or go through a second processing step called "pressing", where the fat (cocoa butter) and solid (cocoa powder) contents of the beans are separated to be sold individually to food manufacturers. Butter is the other compulsory ingredient along with liquor and sugar to produce chocolate, while powder are mainly used in biscuits, dairy products or to create compound (alternative to chocolate, where the cocoa butter is replaced by alternative vegetable fats such as coconut oil). Liquor, butter and powder each amount for about a third of the cocoa beans usage.
Historically, the cocoa grinding and pressing industry has been located next to the retail markets in Western Europe and North America. However, this activity is increasingly shifted to producing countries, and many cocoa grinding factories are now based in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Not only does it bring factories closer to the cocoa production areas, but there has been a growing demand for cocoa based products in emerging economies as well. The cocoa beans processing industry has undergone a significant concentration over time, and three companies are now estimated to be processing between 60% and 70% of the beans production