GENEVA/SAN FRANCISCO – Move over, whole grains. Here comes whole chocolate.
One of the world’s biggest chocolate-makers, Barry Callebaut AG, is introducing a product line made from the whole cacao fruit, as opposed to just the beans, and will market it to chefs looking for a “fruitier” taste.
Barry Callebaut is a supplier of chocolate to Nestle, Hershey, Unilever and the food and beverage giant Mondelez International, whose brands include Cadbury and Toblerone. Mondelez will be the first company to test-market the line.
The WholeFruit chocolate is the latest concoction from the Swiss chocolatier, which is facing pressure to innovate and experiment with new products as competition in the global market heats up. Last year, the company debuted ruby chocolate, a pink blend with a berry flavor that has been used in Nestle’s KitKat bars in Japan and South Korea. The move comes amid higher cocoa prices that have squeezed the profits of chocolate-makers already facing headwinds as consumers shift toward healthier alternatives.
Using the entire fruit, from beans to peels, pulp and juice, “results in a range of high-quality ingredients that can be used in applications such as juices, smoothies, frozen desserts, bakery and pastry products, and snacks all the way to chocolate,” Barry Callebaut said.
Introducing the product on Friday during a news conference in San Francisco, Barry Callebaut CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said, “We wanted to unleash the full power of the cacao fruit, and as we did that, we opened up a whole new world.”
Barry Callebaut is marketing the line as a more sustainable approach to making chocolate, a possible selling point for environmentally conscious millennials. About 70 percent of the cacao fruit is typically wasted in the process of making chocolate.
Meanwhile, cocoa futures have risen 27 percent in the past year. De Saint-Affrique said the company is looking to create a product that was better for the environment without sacrificing quality.
“It’s better in taste and it’s natural,” he said in an interview. “So you don’t have to struggle between them.”
Mondelez will make the first whole-fruit chocolate products under a new CaPao brand. They will include smoothie balls and jerky strips sold through retailers in Los Angeles.
The WholeFruit chocolate line for artisan chocolate-makers will be available starting in May.
WholeFruit chocolate will come in two types, with one consisting of 100 percent cacao and another mixing in milk.
On Friday, Barry Callebaut handed out tastings of the two variations of the chocolate, termed velvety and bold. Both had an earthy flavor and were light on sweetness, with the bold sharper and the velvety smoother.
Barry Callebaut isn’t the first to try using more of the cocoa fruit. In July, Nestle said it found a way to make chocolate without adding sugar by using leftover pulp from cocoa.