The cacao juice was launched on Thursday evening (14 October) at the Hortus Botanicus botanical garden in Amsterdam where Barry Callebaut claimed the health benefits related to the cacaofruit flavanols present in ‘Elix’ are approved under European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and with approval pending by the FDA in the US.
In a live online event, Barry Callebaut said it has leveraged its deep scientific knowledge of the cacaofruit and its supportive health effect by introducing 'a nutraceutical elixir that is uniquely crafted to preserve the nutrients of the cacaofruit'.
I do believe that the world has actually changed a lot as a result of the pandemic, not just consumers, but very young consumers, as much as old consumers are much more conscious of health and wellness and wellbeing and what people are also eating -- Pablo Perversi Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer, at Barry Callebaut
During the 60-minute seminar, experts from around the globe reflected upon food as a medicine and consumer's changing attitude to life, of which the growing demand for pure cacao juice taps into.
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews afterwards, Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer at Barry Callebaut, said as a B2B company, it provides customers with a composite juice, a cacaofruit elixir – made from 100% pure cacaofruit – that has a zesty fruity taste and naturally contains the required amount of flavanols to optimise the blood flow across the entire body. It is a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium.
Next to the 100% pure cacaofruit elixir, combinations with herbs and other fruits can be explored to enrich the range with beautiful taste combinations and additional nutrients.
He said “It is only our customers that know best their consumers but definitely they could add ginger or mango or other ingredients to make it appetising to a wide-ranging number of consumers.”
Barry Callebaut said ‘Elix’ also contributes to personal as well environmental health. Since it upcycles the whole cacaofruit, positively impacting nature and communities.
Gen X believe they ‘need to nurture their nature’
COVID 19 accelerated consumers' interest in the beauty of food and the beneficial health effects of eating and living well. Generation X – born between the mid-1960s and the early-1980s - believe they need to 'nurture their nature'. To keep their body and mind strong, they look out for whole foods that are scientifically proven to actively support their health.
Perversi said if consumers are not ready after two years of staying at home, having to watch their health every day, having to watch what they eat … “I'm not sure what will make us ready as a whole.
“I do believe that the world has actually changed a lot, as a result of the pandemic, not just consumers, but very young consumers, as much as old consumers are much more conscious of health and wellness and wellbeing and what people are also eating. Because clearly, they're not going out as much, or they hadn't been going out as much. So I think the population is as ready as they'll ever be for these type of products."
Younger consumers are well informed about which, and what amount, of macro and micro nutrients to consume, according to Barry Callebaut’s own research on the topic.
It said its cacaofruit elixir has been tested and validated through consumer research by independent global research agency MMR in the UK and the US. As part of these studies Elix’s consumer appeal and purchase intent have been tested, indicating a high interest in the new nutraceutical fruit drink category.
Peter Boone, CEO of Barry Callebaut Group, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated consumers’ interest in their own health as well as of their environment. The introduction of the new category of nutraceutical fruit drinks is another proof point of how Barry Callebaut, through its innovation capabilities and its profound knowledge of the cacaofruit, is able to cater to evolving consumer trends.”
Promoting circulatory health
The health effects of cacaofruit flavanols have been studied by experts across the globe for decades to find sound scientific proof of their benefits on human health and wellness.
Barry Callebaut said its deep scientific knowledge of the cacaofruit and the effect of the fruit’s flavanols on circulatory health is recognised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which resulted in the approval of the related health claim under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims regulation.
Cacaofruit flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which benefits the blood flow to organs such as the heart, muscles, brain, and skin.
The science of cacaofruit
Composed of almost 20,000 different types of molecules, the seed of the cacaofruit is one of the most complex food substances on earth. The R&D of ‘Elix’ took Barry Callebaut more than 15 years. In addition, there is data available from more than 100 human clinical studies, which provide sound scientific proof of the health effects of the cacaofruit flavanols.
Perversi said research isn't always linear or incremental. “If you remember our journey, we've gone through a number of different breakthroughs and part of what's actually facilitating this breakthrough is also the fact that we've managed to go from [cacao] beans to the whole fruit and to examine the whole fruit. And therefore, when you start to examine the whole fruit and discover how it is that you can actually bring these type of products together – then you come to a breakthrough."
‘Fruit of the gods’
Perversi said Barry Callebaut’s previous innovation, Wholefruit Chocolate, has proved popular (the Group is almost out of stock) and is very well liked by lovers of chocolate and the top artisans.
Getting back to hosting live events after over 18 months of lockdown was a fantastic feeling, said Perversi.
"But it's also really scary because now we're actually putting out a world exclusive every year almost. So keeping up with that sort of rhythm is actually becoming a challenge and we have a great team, and I want to call it out for them because you cannot do these type of things without the teams that we have in Barry Callebaut that are super curious about anything related to cacao fruit and just keep discovering and finding new ways of doing things from this beautiful fruit of the gods.”
Listen to the full interview with Pablo Perversi in our latest podcast above.