Rio Nuevo’s founders Sara Castañeda and Andres Altamirano grew up in Latin America.
Both have now made England their home but their vision and passion to serve communities back in South America took them on an extraordinary chocolate making journey and a pursuit to give farmers a voice through ethically and directly sourced chocolate.
Behind Rio Nuevo Chocolate there are two people and a shared dream.
Our chocolate story began in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador where we celebrated our wedding in 2014.
During the time we spent there we were shown how to make chocolate by the local residents. More than that, we learnt about their cacao heritage and the struggles cacao farmers face. It was there and then the dream of lifting cacao farmers out of poverty and changing their world through chocolate was born.
We returned to the UK wanting to do our bit and make a real positive change.
Growing up in Ecuador and Colombia ourselves; We were always interested in working with communities back home and this time we felt a responsibility to play an active role in creating change.
Around one hundred thousand families depend on cacao farming in Ecuador. Our dream is to raise the bar and see a real change in how the chocolate industry can help develop sustainable livelihoods for cacao-farming communities through more ethical trade and direct supply chains.
In our Direct Trade model we agree the price directly with farmers ensuring 100% transparency and traceability. For us developing a relationship with our farmers is extremely important, we are committed to buying directly from the farmer and building lasting relationships that can make a real difference in their lives and their environments.
Across the world people want the same things - access to education, healthcare, a safe environment for children, environmental protection and the capability to have a say in the decisions that make an impact on their lives.
It’s not just cacao production we are interested in, but empowering their communities. We couldn’t make the finest chocolate without our farmers – That’s why we work directly with them. Helping cacao farmers improve their livelihoods and empowering them to take control of their future to provide sustainability for themselves and their families.