The firm, which specialises in the production and supply of cocoa- and chocolate-derived products, developed the new ingredient as a solution for manufacturers who wished to use a chocolate powder that retained key features and tastes of whole chocolate.
Speaking with ConfectioneryNews.com, Jose Luis Villasante, industry chief sales officer at Natra, revealed that the new granulated powder offers higher stability, and is easier to handle on industrial scales than other powdered chocolate ingredients.
“It is really resistant to heat,” said Villasante. “Our granulated chocolate powder can undergo processes at much higher temperatures than a normal chocolate powder,” he added, noting that because the powder is stable at room temperature, and does not melt at the temperature of traditional chocolates, it offers a much greater range of industrial and “offers advantages in industrial processes.”
Villasante added that whilst the firm already has a chocolate powder on the market, the existing product does not fit the specifications for all industry applications, especially in terms of a 'real chocolate taste.'
“In this new generation of chocolate powder, we use a full, whole, chocolate that has all the flavour of real chocolate. It’s really a chocolate that has all the fat and the ingredients that a normal chocolate has.”
“There are many products that are just a mix of cocoa powder, sugar, lecithin, and other ingredients – they are not really a chocolate. They do not have the same ingredients and form of chocolate that you would find in a bar of chocolate,” he said.
"The difference is the texture,” said Carmen Martínez – also of Natra – who explained that because the product is granulated, the mouth feel, texture, and taste of the product is ‘totally different’ to other powdered products on the market.
Martínez added that the ‘crunchy’ taste of the granulated chocolate also provides a key difference against existing products – noting that the granulated nature of the ingredient makes it ideal for use in ice cream and certain dairy applications.
Villasante said Natra is working with its customers to test potential applications for the product, including uses in cereals, biscuits, and bakery products.
“The fact that it’s much easier to handle, because of the texture and also because it is much more resistant to heat, means it has potential in many areas of the industry."
He added that many of the firm’s customers are already showing an interest in the product, and are starting research into how to best utilise the ingredient in current and new products.