- International chocolate market leader Barry Callebaut unveiled new products that use more of the cacao fruit, the large pod whose seeds are used for creating traditional chocolate. At an immersive event last week, the company introduced Cacaofruit Experience, a line of food and drink products made from traditionally discarded parts of the fruit, and WholeFruit Chocolate, which is 100% made from cacao fruit.
- The first product under the Cacaofruit Experience is CaPao, a snack brand under Mondelez's SnackFutures innovation and venture hub. CaPao's Smoothie Ball and cacaofruit Jerky Strips are currently being piloted at some retailers in Los Angeles.
- WholeFruit Chocolate comes in two varieties: WholeFruit Bold and WholeFruit Velvety, which contains milk. According to Barry Callebaut, this chocolate is fresh and fruity, with a unique sensory profile. It has more than 40% less sugar than regular chocolate, 90% more fiber and 25% more protein. Artisans and chefs will be able to use WholeFruit Chocolate in May, and it will be available to consumer brands in 2021.
For years, chocolate was pretty straightforward. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate were formed into confections or used in baking. Innovation was limited to new flavor combinations and different confections.
But Barry Callebaut is bringing innovation to chocolate again. With this announcement — two years after introducing the world to ruby chocolate — additional forms of chocolate will soon be available. WholeFruit Chocolate is another confection, and the CacaoFruit Experience upcycles the parts of chocolate that are generally thrown away into other food and drink items.
It's almost shocking that no chocolate companies have done much with the rest of the cacao fruit until now. The process to make chocolate is so complex, it's difficult to understand how it was developed in the first place. The cacao fruit is harvested by hand. The cocoa beans inside, which are embedded in a white pulp, are left to ferment in boxes or covered piles for a week. After fermentation, the beans are dried and shipped to manufacturers around the globe where they are roasted, shelled, ground and emulsified.
This process has changed little since the time of the Mayans.
With sustainability top of mind for many consumers, it's the perfect time to launch products that focus on upcycling. In a report from Mattson earlier this year, almost 75% of consumers saw food waste as an extremely pressing issue. Future Market Insights reported the food waste business is worth $46.7 billion this year and is expected to grow 5% in the next decade.
Barry Callebaut is the world's chocolate leader, selling more than 2.2 million tons of chocolate in 2017-2018. When a manufacturer with so much heft and clout takes a large step toward sustainability, it's difficult for other smaller players to ignore it. It's even harder for them not to take steps on their own and work toward their own sustainability metrics.
This also moves Barry Callebaut forward on its Forever Chocolate sustainability plan. The company previously pledged that all of its chocolate would be sustainable by 2025. And while this goal also has to do with some of the social costs of the chocolate business — pledging to eradicate child labor from the supply chain and lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty — it also looks to have 100% sustainable ingredients in all products.
Other manufacturers are zeroing in on the waste products from their specific segments and turning them into something else. Poultry producer Tyson Foods teamed up with beer giant Molson Coors to upcycle their waste into a snack. ¡Yappah! protein crisps are made out of chicken trim from Tyson, vegetable puree, pulp from juicing and spent grains from the brewer.
Barry Callebaut is not the only company looking to utilize more of the cacao fruit. This year, Nestlé is launching a chocolate in Japan that uses cacao plant fruit pulp as a sweetener. If the initial launch is successful, it may roll it out to other countries. Hershey is also looking at opportunities to do more with cacao, with its VC arm C7 Ventures making a minority investment in experimental Blue Stripes Cacao Shop in New York. This cafe and shop tries to make new products, both from cacao and chocolate.
One thing is for certain: This new form of chocolate is certain to sweeten interest in the products that can be made through Barry Callebaut's chocolate — as well as consumers' viewpoint of the sustainability of a favorite confection.