R&D

Fazer confectionery explores cell-cultured cocoa for future markets

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

 Heli Anttila and Annika Porr. Pic: Fazer
Heli Anttila and Annika Porr. Pic: Fazer

Related tags: Cocoa

Fazer Confectionery is researching the potential of growing cocoa by adopting cellular agriculture to maintain its core commitment to sourcing raw materials sustainably.

The Finish-based company, part of the Fazer Group with key operations in the Nordics, Baltics, and beyond to some 40 different countries, said the use of cell-cultured cocoa is still far in the future, but “the time to fearlessly explore its possibilities is now​”.

Fazer’s priority is ensuring the sustainable management of cocoa sourcing, securing profitable farming and improving cocoa community wellbeing. But, as climate change threatens the traditional cocoa growing areas near the Equator, there is a need to explore alternative sources for cocoa, resulting in the development cellular agriculture.

We are inspired to innovate new means for continuing to fulfil consumers’ expectations and wishes. Although we are exploring new means for raw material production, the taste experience of chocolate will remain unchanged. Fazer has already, in partnership with VTT, received the first successful results of cell-cultured cocoa. Now we are continuing the research as part of the larger CERAFIM-consortium, which joins several Finnish companies and research institutions around the theme of cellular agriculture to fearlessly explore future solutions​”, said Heli Anttila, VP of New Product Development at Fazer Confectionery.

Cellular agriculture means biotechnological production instead of farming, with minimal land and other natural resources required for the production. The production takes instead place in bioreactors under controlled conditions. Cell-cultured cocoa is a novel food in EU, and it needs to be approved according to the EFSA process (European Food Safety Authority),”​ said Research Team Leader, Dr. Heiko Rischer from VTT, VTT is the largest research and technology company conducting applied research in Finland.

Fazer said it will take years before cell-cultured cocoa is launched on the market and is a long-term project, aiming at the future.

Managing traditional cocoa sustainably is Fazer’s first and foremost priority, but we want to explore and innovate for the future too. Cell-cultured cocoa is still far from our plates, but it offers us a novel approach to managing the challenges of sustainable cocoa sourcing in a fair and transparent value chain. I think Fazer’s innovation mindset is very inspiring​,” said Annika Porr, Senior Manager at Fazer Confectionery’s Forward Lab.

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