This is the second such centre the Zurich-based company has opened in France, the other being found in Louviers, and a third located in Wieze, Belgium.
The new Dijon centre will concentrate on research into chocolate compounds and fillings and is the latest move in the company’s drive to become less reliant on the commodity sector of the confectionery market.
The company reports that it is responding to increased customer demand for “more flexible recipes in compounds and fillings”.
Compound coating chocolate is an alternative to pure chocolate which uses a vegetable butter in place of coca butter. Whereas pure chocolate does not re-harden after melting without undergoing a tempering process, compound coating melts and re-hardens without this process. It also tends to melt at higher temperatures than pure chocolate and, according to Barry Callebaut, offer greater flexibility in terms of fat composition and production flow without losing any of the taste of pure chocolate.
Barry Callebaut’s Centres of Excellence are designed to streamline the company’s operations, the idea being that each centre is devoted to a certain product or area of research. The Wieze centre specialises in chocolate and chocolate applications, and the Louviers branch focuses on cocoa and semi-finished products.
The centres enable the company to offer its chocolate and cocoa ingredients not only to the industrial sector, but directly to finished food producers and retailers.
“Overcoming the constraints of climate, storage and other technical limitations of chocolate, Barry Callebaut’s compound coating technology opens the door to a whole host of new applications, offering value-added solutions for a broad range of customers in the food and beverage industry,” said Hans Vriens, the firm’s Chief Innovation Officer.
The move by Barry Callebaut follows a trend amongst firms of creating innovation centres to concentrate on specific products and ingredients. Earlier this year, bakery supplies manufacturer CSM opened a centre in Bingen, Germany, to focus on ingredients, with plans to open three more specialising in bakery fats, frozen bakery products and sweet ingredients. Malysian firm Sime Darby has invested heavily in setting up an innovation centre in the palm oil industry, and Netherlands-based Unilever has made a similar move in order to expand its structured emulsions division.