The new chocolate uses a “special” skimmed milk powder, which the company says allows it to use higher amounts to give a comparative taste to conventional milk chocolate.
Barry Callebaut was asked what the “special” powder was and how it should be labelled, but the company only reiterated that it was special and gave no further details.
70% of global population lactose intolerant
Callebaut said that it had cleaned its product lines to avoid lactose contamination risks during processing of the new chocolate.
It believes there is a strong market for lactose free products in Europe.
The company cited an EFSA opinion that claimed 70% of adults worldwide suffer from lactose intolerance, making them unable to consume milk-based products
The market for lactose-free products
“At the moment, the most important markets for lactose-free food products are Germany, Austria, the UK and the Scandinavian markets (mainly Finland), despite the fact that less than 20% of the population in these countries is lactose-intolerant,” said Callebaut in its release.
“The frequency of lactose-intolerance is much higher in Southern European countries, Africa and Asia. This discrepancy promises a significant potential for the lactose-free food industry in those regions,” it continued.
A spokesperson for Barry Callebaut told ConfectioneryNews.com that the extra precautions needed for lactose free production meant the end cost for the consumer was higher.
The spokesperson added that manufacturers using the chocolate would need to avoid contamination to keep lactose levels to below legally defined levels, which can vary depending on the region.