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Chocolate to evolve like wine: Aromatics the future for premium sector – Cémoi R&D chief

By Oliver Nieburg+

20-Dec-2013

Premium chocolate industry will use cocoa blends to cater to personalized tastes, according to Cémoi
Premium chocolate industry will use cocoa blends to cater to personalized tastes, according to Cémoi

The chocolate market will develop a marked divide between cheaper, lower quality products and higher end offerings that use cocoa blends allowing consumers to distinguish aromatic notes like a wine-tasting, says Cémoi’s R&D chief.

Jean-Marc Laurens, quality and R&D Manager at Cémoi gave ConfectioneryNews his vision for the chocolate market of tomorrow during a visit to the company’s facilities in Perpignan.

“I think the market will split in two. Price will see more standardized chocolate, maybe lower entry level chocolate quality, but also (and this is where Cémoi will be) there will be a market for higher quality. It will be a smaller market but with high added value – that’s why all our research is on cocoa origins and aromatic cocoa.”

Inspiration from the world of wine

Cémoi yesterday inaugurated its new R&D center in Perpignan, France, and pledged to increase its research budget by 50% until 2016.

“We are working on aromatic personalization. We are certain that the future is a more aromatic chocolate, more personalized, a bit like the evolution of the world of wine,” said Laurens.

“We are sure that chocolate will evolve with mixes of origins to give the consumers who want to make the effort, the pleasure of tasting and recognizing particular aromatic notes.”

Personalized chocolate

Cémoi’s R&D priority is to start at cocoa plantations and acquire know-how through the entire chocolate making process to select the best cocoa blends adapted to specific markets.

“For example, we developed chocolate with three different origins of cocoa to cover the whole aromatic profile, with spicy top notes, strong cocoa middle notes and woody, spicy bottom notes. So a mix of three different origins of cocoa for a client who wanted to personalize his chocolate,” Laurens said.

Cocoa waste and flavanol science

The R&D chief said that growing evidence supporting the link between cocoa flavanols and positive health effects was not of real interest to Cémoi for now as the company was focused on developing pleasurable tastes before nutritional quality.

Asked if the company would explore potential cocoa waste materials such as husks, Laurens said that Cémoi was operating compost centers for cocoa pods and taught farmers how to use the pods as fertilizer for their farms.

“The other way we are doing it is the re-use of cocoa husks rich in interesting materials, but also rich in fiber. So we have a research program in place on the use of cocoa husks in specific areas such as nutritional supplements.”

Everyone chooses Ecuador…

Asked for his personal favorite cocoa origin, Laurens opted for Ecuador, the same choice as Cargill Chocolate and ADM Cocoa R&D heads.

But he added: “I have found some very interesting aromatic notes in Ivory Coast chocolate, twerks to the selection of plants as well as with the fruity sometimes floral notes that remind me of Ecuador.” 

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