Five minutes at FI Europe with …
Sofia Popova – Global Marketing Manager
Agro-Food Industry Hi-Tech: What innovations is Barry Callebaut launching at FIE?
Sofia Popova: In September we presented ruby chocolate, which is the fourth type of chocolate after dark, milk and white chocolate. It yields a unique sensory experience, being berry-fruity and creamy at the same time. Ruby chocolate comes from the ruby cocoa bean: as such it is a purely natural chocolate, without added colors or berry flavours.. It took 13 years of research to arrive at this point, unlocking the ruby cocoa bean flavour thanks to a special Barry Callebaut processing.
AF: Chocolate and sugar reduction: how do they work together?
SP: Sugar is very high on the agenda for a lot of consumers. Almost half of consumers are trying to reduce their sugar intake, but they still look for an indulging experience. But by removing sugar you risk to reduce the flavour of the product. Here at Barry Callebaut we are working on different solutions that allow to keep this indulging experience while enhancing the nutritional profile of the product. It all starts with looking at sugar reduction opportunities: studying a recipe and understanding how to reduce sugar by 10-15% without altering the taste. In other cases we can remove sugar completely or by more than 20%, substituting with polyols. Unfortunately, polyols can have a laxative effect. Therefore we now try to replace polyols with other natural sweet substances such as fibers like inulin, coming from chicory root, , or stevia.
AF: Fibers are also an health ingredient. Is there an health benefit in sugar-reduced chocolate beyond the simple lack of sugar?
SP: When we talk of health claims, they should be clinically proven, and this is not easy, however there are studies suggesting that lower sugar intake benefits your health. For some cocoa components, such as flavonols, the effects are scientifically known and we can actually have a health claim. We have Acticoa cocoa powders rich in flavonols and they can be used in beverages or chocolate..
AF: Where would be the future in chocolate sugar replacement, say, in five years?
SP: I would expect to see a lot of sugar-reduced products on the shelves, with better and better nutritional profiles. Sugar will stay as a part of the diet, but it will be much more balanced than now and sugar reduced or without added sugars products will become much more prominent.
AF: Is this demand for sugar reduction global?
SP: I think it is a global trend. The moment is driven by Western markets however, especially by governments -such as UK- which are taking sugar reduction very seriously, by implementing fiscal pressure.
AF: Sustainability and ethics are very important for Barry Callebaut. Can you tell me something about your Forever Chocolate initiative
SP: Launched in November 2016, “Forever Chocolate” is Barry Callebaut’s plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm. It includes 4 concrete, time-bound targets that are addressing the biggest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain:
By 2025 we will eradicate child labor from our supply chain.
By 2025 we will lift more than 500,000 farmers out of poverty
By 2025 we will be carbon and forest positive
By 2025 we will have 100% sustainable ingredients in all of our products.
We are making good progress, with a specific focus on lifting farmers out of poverty which is the key lever to tackle the other goals we have set ourselves, on child labor and deforestation. Now, we need to speed up the progress and increase our impact, we require industry partners, NGOs, governments, academia to join us on our journey. We need a movement to make sustainable chocolate the norm.