At a major media event in Venice attended by ConfectioneryNews, the largest Belgian chocolate and cocoa supplier in the world said it has created a new process using beans that will put ‘cocoa first, sugar last’, enabling brands and artisans to address changing consumer preferences and consumers’ desire to indulge more mindfully.
The distinct flavour characteristics of the cocoa bean, cultivated during farming and awakened during the fermentation and roasting processes, are fundamental to the new chocolate, Barry Callebaut’s R&D team said at the launch.
Cocoa Cultivation & Craft
Using a ‘Cocoa Cultivation & Craft’ principle (CCC) – to recognize the special qualities of each cocoa bean and coax out the nuances of flavour, Barry Callebaut’s team of scientists have been working on tweaking the process since 2000.
With specially selected beans from Ecuador, they also collaborated with the Jacobs University Bremen, Germany, gaining crucial insights from a long-term research programme in advanced detection technologies, combined with new sensory methods, to enable the identification of unique characteristics in the cocoa beans.
“The second generation of chocolate addresses perfectly the changing consumer preferences and consumers’ desire to indulge more mindfully. It will inspire and support brands and artisans to craft their next-generation chocolate creations and is testament to our leadership in shaping the future of chocolate indulgence,” said Peter Boone, CEO of Barry Callebaut Group.
By applying the CCC principle, Barry Callebaut said it discovered how to redefine chocolate completely: ‘putting cocoa first, sugar last’. Moreover, to experience the nuances of cocoa flavours, the recipe of the second generation of chocolate is as pure as it can be and contains 60-80% more cocoa. Dark chocolate is made of two ‘noble’ ingredients: cocoa to which only sugar is added. Milk chocolate is made from three ‘noble’ ingredients of cocoa, milk and sugar.
Barry Callebaut also claims that its new generation of chocolate contains 50% less sugar than 80%+ of the chocolate consumed across the world and its new product design is not only testament to nature’s flavours, but also to the mindfully living consumer.
Boone confirmed to CN that the cocoa beans are sourced via the Cocoa Horizons sustainability programme, which focuses on farmers’ prosperity.
He told CN that the chocolate industry is very different from the world he stepped into 20 years ago when, he explained, there were “very aggressive factories with a lot of refinement and roasting. Now there is a little more love that we have put into this craft, and we can only do more and more of this type of thing – and we have to build on this latest innovation”
And innovation is now baked into Barry Callebaut’s DNA, along with its goal to make ‘make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025’.
When the second generation chocolate becomes the ‘norm’ is difficult to predict, for now it will be produced at the Group’s factory in Weize, Belgium, in a segregated production line away from its other types of beans and products.
Boone said he was extremely pleased with the new innovation and particularly the collaboration between different departments that has now seen almost 20 years of research finally come to fruition.
At a special tasting session for the media, ConfectioneryNews detected chocolate taste ranges from a natural and rich cocoa flavour to more complex flavour profiles, in the new creations specially made for the launch by Barry Callebaut’s own chefs.
By introducing the second generation of chocolate, the Group said it aims to inspire and support brands and artisans to define their next generation of chocolate creations in confectionery, bakery, pastry, desserts, and ice-cream.
For reference purposes, Barry Callebaut informed journalists that the current industry average contains 30-40% cocoa for Milk and 45-50% cocoa for Dark chocolate and contains 6-9 ingredients.
Chocolate produced according to the CCC principle has been successfully validated through a quantitative consumer concept and product test by independent global research agency MMR Research Worldwide in the US, the UK, and China, indicating a positive consumer appeal and purchase intent, said Barry Callebaut.
This latest innovation follows successful launches from the Group in the past five years including: Ruby chocolate, WholeFruit chocolate and the first nutraceutical fruit drink, Elix. Barry Callebaut is a B2B company and estimates It takes approximately 12 – 18 months before its clients - consumer brands and artisans - introduce new innovations in their applications, so don’t expect second generation chocolate bars on the shelves just yet.
Venice was chosen for the launch of the new ‘paradigm shift’ in chocolate because it is a city with an ancient history and reputation for artisan crafts, that nevertheless has to reinvent itself for modern times if it wants to preserve its heritage. Its arts scene is also part of the city’s social regeneration, coming up with new ‘contemporary designs for contemporary times.’
It’s a theme that Bas Smit, VP, Global Vice President Marketing at Barry Callebaut, picked up on and says it is why he chose the Italian city to launch a chocolate renaissance.
“We also had to rethink how chocolate is made for today’s chocolate consumer,” he told Confectionerynews. “They are looking for something different, that tastes good, but at the same time is also good for them.
“It’s about nature-nurture and living a more symbiotic lifestyle. Chocolate is an indulgent pleasure but with this cocoa renaissance they can celebrate it more consciously.’
Smit said mindful indulgence is on the rise and pointed to the latest research that suggests consumers are looking for joyous moments and pleasure in life, with more and more consumers today wanting to live in harmony with their body, mind, and environment.
Accordingly, the chocolate subcategory related to mindful indulgence has been growing +6.0%, outpacing the +1.8% growth of the total 2016-2021 market, says Euromonitor International in its latest research.