UK packaging supplier James Cropper has developed bio-recyclable paper packaging partially made from the husks of cocoa beans supplied by Barry Callebaut.
Cocoa husks are a waste material from cocoa production. For every metric ton of dry cocoa bean produced, there are 10 tons of husks leftover as waste.
Cocoa husks with unbleached cellulose fiber
A spokesperson from James Cropper told ConfectioneryNews: “The paper contains around 10% cocoa husk content - we cannot make paper entirely from the husk. The rest is made from unbleached cellulose fiber.”
The result is a light brown paper package that uses cocoa as the natural colorant, avoiding the need for artificial dyes.
In collaboration with Barry Callebaut
James Cropper produces the paper packaging at its own facilities using cocoa husks supplied by Barry Callebaut, which previously approached James Cropper in order to find an environmentally-friendly solution for its cocoa waste.
James Cropper said that no burning or gradual degrading of the fibers of the cocoa husk was required under the process.
It added that cocoa waste materials were delivered to its mill in pulpable bags to be incorporated into the paper-making process without any additional processing.
“The paper is made to order, and cost will depend on the product specification and quantity ordered. It is typically no more expensive than a cover or folding boxboard grade,” said the firm.
Cocoa waste research
In 2007, Spanish scientists wrote in the journal Food Chemistry that cocoa husks had potential as a valuable source of dietary fiber for low-calorie foods.
Research from Malaysia earlier this year also published in Food Chemistry said that pectin could be extracted from cocoa husks using citric acid.
Barry Callebaut itself recently filed a patent for a process to grind cocoa shells into a powder fit for use as a cocoa replacer, fat bloom inhibitor and ingredient in other foods.
Other research has suggested that cocoa flavanols may help to create pathogen-busting films. In another entry in Food Chemistry researchers said last month that antimicrobial packaging films could be made from ethylene–vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) and flavanoid-rich cocoa.
Cocoa shells have previously been used by gardeners for decorative purposes and to add nutrients to soil and suppress weeds.
James Cropper’s cocoa husk paper is commercial available now and will be showcased for the first time at Luxepack Monaco between 23 and 25 October 2013.