Olam Cocoa’s global head of product development Rinus Heemskerk and Barry Callebaut’s head of innovation Peter Boone told ConfectioneryNews at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) in Paris earlier this month that chocolate formulations 15 years from today will contain less sugar and will be produced via a transparent and sustainable cocoa supply chain.
They also expect chocolate makers will leverage the healthier elements of cocoa such as fibers and polyphenols, while the dark and compound chocolate are expected to grow.
Acting before legislators
“I think we will be looking at intrinsically healthier products,” said Heemskerk.
Boone said that pressure was mounting on the chocolate industry to reduce its impact on global diabetes rates and called for the industry to take a stand.
“If we don’t take the lead as an industry the governments will definitely take action, which will define the products we can put into the market,” he said.
Reduced sugar and consumer acceptance
Olam’s Heemskerk expects this will mean chocolate confectionery with less sugar, but warns that barriers still exist.
“Of course there are all sorts of ingredients that can help to replace sugar – whether or not consumers accept them is still an open question.
“Polyols have been around for a long time and they are a viable alternative, but they are also an additive and people want less additives. There are intensive sweeteners around; they don’t give you the mouthfeel that sugar does. So I think we will go to formulations which simply have less sugar, but it also means the balance of cocoa bitterness and sweetness needs to change.”
Stevia, fiber and polyphenols
Boone said stevia had become popular with some manufacturers but it had not enjoyed the scale that was hyped after it obtained EU novel foods approval in December 2011.
Heemskerk suggested chocolate brands may leverage healthy constituents of cocoa in future.
“Not many people know that, but cocoa powder is one third in fiber, cocoa is very rich in polyphenols, it’s a good story,” he said, adding that the fats in cocoa are also relatively healthy.
Boone added that active components in chocolate will likely appeal to an older demographic, but said conscious parents may also seek also seek lower calorie options for their children.
Compound and dark chocolate
Milk chocolate is expected to remain the most popular variety in the next 15 years, but the R&D experts forecast strong growth for compound and dark chocolate.
Boone said compound was considered chocolate in many emerging markets and in some cases has a longer flavor release than many varieties of ‘real chocolate’.
“Talking about compound chocolate is the wrong thing to do,” he said. “If you go to Japan, you see compounds which are sometimes more interesting than the best chocolate we can make.”
Heemskerk added that dark chocolate will continue its growth trajectory as “it will offer more of the goodness of cocoa to our consumers”.
“One of the key things going forward to ensure that our industry remains a vibrant industry is to have a sustainable transparent supply of cocoa,” he continued.