CHICAGO — While some new product developers want to increase protein content, others seek rare flavors ripe for increasing consumer demand. Chocolate, when used as an ingredient, may take on roles in both developments, said David Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Americas for Barry Callebaut, in an interview with Food Business News.
Chocolate and protein may combine in coatings for use on such products as nutrition bars, he said. For example, a Greek yogurt coating may have two to three times more protein than a traditional yogurt coating.
Mr. Johnson added premium and “eccentric” flavors also may benefit products with chocolate designed for an affordable luxury trend. Flavors such as spicy chili and lemon ginger have become popular in Europe, and they may be headed to America, he said.
The addition of dark chocolate or chocolate with higher cacao content into a product also might provide a luxury perception. Decorative chocolate products such as cups, flavor flakes or stir sticks may make a common idea special. Barry Callebaut’s ability to provide decorative products increased in 2012 when it acquired Mona Lisa Food Products, Inc., based in Hendersonville, N.C.
Other trends Mr. Johnson touched on dealt with health, geographical origin and sustainability.
Chocolate may work in better-for-you choices when it is sweetened with fruit or stevia, as well as when it has a higher cacao content, he said.
Barry Callebaut promotes dozens of chocolate types based on their origin. Dark chocolate may originate from Venezuela or Ghana. Milk chocolate may come from Mexico.
“Lots of consumers desire to know where their food comes from,” Mr. Johnson said.
The company uses the terms “respect and responsibility” when promoting sustainability. As part of its Cocoa Horizons program, Barry Callebaut trained 110,000 farmers in the past fiscal year. The company launched Cocoa Horizons, a 10-year cocoa sustainability initiative, in 2012.
Barry Callebaut, based in Zurich, Switzerland, continues to increase its presence in North America and South America. Companywide, sales volume was 1,535,662 tonnes for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, which marked an increase of more than 11% from the previous fiscal year. Region Americas had sales volume of 422,380 tonnes in the year ended Aug. 31, which marked a 17% growth in volume.