Barry Callebaut introduces cacao fruit ingredients brand

Dive Brief:

  • Barry Callebaut launched a new brand, Cabosse Naturals, which is a range of pure cacao fruit ingredients. These ingredients include cacao fruit pulp, juice, concentrate and cascara — a flour made from the cacao fruit’s peel. 
  • The ingredients line is launching as an associate member of the Upcycled Food Association, a nonprofit focused on reducing food waste by repurposing items that would ordinarily be thrown out.
  • Barry Callebaut, a chocolate ingredients producer, has been working to create products using the entire cacao fruit, 70% of which is wasted in traditional chocolate manufacturing, the company said. In September 2019, it unveiled its Cacaofruit Experience, a line of food and drink products made from traditionally discarded parts of the fruit. Barry Callebaut also introduced WholeFruit Chocolate, which is 100% made from the fruit.

Dive Insight:

Chocolate is one of the world’s most prized confections, but it also creates lots of food waste. In traditional chocolate production, only the fermented seeds of the cacao fruit are used. The rest of the fruit — the peel, pulp and juice — have been thrown away or used as fertilizer for other cacao trees. 

Following Barry Callebaut’s Cacaofruit Experience, establishing an ingredient brand to make parts of the cacao fruit available to manufacturers is a logical next step. After all, part of the Cacaofruit Experience launch featured an event with a menu designed by top Michelin-rated chefs that used cacao fruit in cocktails, ceviche and desserts. Anyone hoping to recreate these kinds of items needs access to the star ingredients. Prior to the ingredient line, the only product under the Cacaofruit Experience was CaPao, a snack brand from Mondelez’s SnackFutures innovation arm.

The other parts of the fruit do not have the distinctive taste of chocolate. The juice injects a strong and pleasantly fruity flavor, which is completely natural. The pulp coating the beans, which is where fermentation takes place, creates a delicate sweetener. And the cascara flour can add an herbal taste to bakery items. But all parts of the fruit are very nutrient-dense. Cacao fruit has iron, magnesium, zinc, fiber, potassium, B vitamins and antioxidants, as well as protein and fiber.

Not only are the flavors and nutrients of cacao fruit on trend with consumers now, but the sustainability aspect also will strike a chord. Upcycling the different parts of cacao fruit gives new life to something that would otherwise be thrown away. According to a study by Future Marketing Insights, the food waste business was worth $46.7 billion in 2019. It is expected to grow 5% during the next decade. Very few companies have ever tried to turn cacao fruit into something other than waste. These ingredients are not only unique, but because they come from an industry leader, the amount available truly could make a sizeable impact on reducing waste.

There’s another piece to the sustainability aspect as well. Cacao farmers are paid by the weight of what they produce so these ingredients create more products for them to earn a living.

Bas Smit, Barry Callebaut’s global vice president of marketing, told Food Dive earlier this year the company was used to farmers being paid for large sacks of beans, but now they are also paid for fruit. Currently, the vast majority of cacao farmers live in poverty, with a study from Fairtrade showing the average household income of farmers in Ivory Coast to be $2,700. Barry Callebaut has pledged to lift 500,000 farmers in its supply chain out of poverty by 2025, and transforming the fruit into ingredients is a good place to begin.

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