SWITZERLAND – Barry Callebaut has entered a new category by launching the new Cabosse Naturals cacao fruit brand that features a range of ingredients that showcase the zesty taste and natural richness of cacao fruit.

Cabosse Naturals will offer a range of 100% natural ingredients from the cacao fruit, including pulp, juice, concentrate and cascara (a fine flour made from the peel of the fruit).

These ingredients will allow brands, chefs and artisans to create a range of products including juices, smoothies, ice creams, fruit snacks, snack bars, dairy desserts and confectionery.

Cacao beans used for chocolate production are the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao fruit. According to Barry Callebaut, the association with cacao being sourced from fruit “has been lost” over time, and the Cabosee Naturals brand seeks to utilise the entirety of the cacao fruit to create natural ingredients and products which “celebrate the zesty fruity taste and natural richness of the fruit.”

“With our cacaofruit brand Cabosse Naturals, we offer a new palette of opportunities to artisans, chefs and brands, since we bring a brand new, delicious and nutritious fruit experience.”

Pablo Perversi – Chief innovation, sustainability & quality officer, Barry Callebaut

“Barry Callebaut can harness the whole cacaofruit and celebrate the zesty fruity taste of this delicious fruit,” Pablo Perversi, chief innovation, sustainability & quality officer and head of gourmet at Barry Callebaut, said.

“With our cacaofruit brand Cabosse Naturals, we offer a new palette of opportunities to artisans, chefs and brands, since we bring a brand new, delicious and nutritious fruit experience.”

Within the cacao pod, each cacao bean is surrounded by a pale layer of pulpy flesh with a bright flavor and honey notes.

Traditionally, this fruit is left on the beans to aid with the fermentation process – a crucial step in making chocolate. As the fruit decomposes around the beans, it helps provide yeasts, bacteria and enzymes. 

As a result, the fruit is often perceived to have been wasted, which is at odds with today’s sustainability-minded consumers.

Notably, the beans, for which the crops are primarily grown, make up only 30 percent of the entire pod.

The company selects only healthy and ripe fruits, which are then developed into the ingredients. Additionally, any variety of cacaofruit can be used, similarly to how wine uses several grape varieties.

However, the company has encountered some R&D challenges, including the preservation of taste, color, freshness and nutrition of the fruit from harvest until final production.

By positioning Cabosse Naturals as slashing food waste, Barry Callebaut addresses this lucrative market. The brand has joined forces with the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) to accelerate the development of cacaofruit upcycling.

Crucially, the beans separated from the fruit will still be fermented and used for making chocolate, flags Perversi.

According to Barry Callebout, a major element of cacaofruit’s appeal is its health credentials. The ingredients are rich in nutrients such as fibers, potassium and magnesium. They also contain calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, vitamin B5 and vitamin D2.

However, consumers may need to “shift gears” to understand cocoa-related offerings to have health benefits instead of an indulgence.

“Consumers in various parts of the world might need to learn that cacao is part of a fruit, the cacaofruit, which is delicious and nutritious,” Perversi added.

He continues that the pandemic has made people realize how vulnerable their health is. This potentially could evolve into a greater appreciation for food and beverages that immerse people into the end-to-end product cycle. This includes how, what and where products are made.

“We can expect an increased appreciation for propositions with great respect for nature. Not only for Millennials and Generation Z, but also for other generations, personal and environmental well-being will have a different meaning,” details Perversi.

Cabosse Naturals is part of Barry Callebaut’s Cacaofruit Experience, which launched toward the end of last year. Its first customer was Mondelēz’s innovation and venture hub, SnackFutures, which featured cacao ingredients in its CaPao brand’s smoothie ball and jerky strips.

According to Food Ingredients First, other companies have also been looking to cacaofruit, with Nestlé Japan releasing a “Cacao Fruit Chocolate” KitKat. Meanwhile, Dirafrost offers a cacao fruit puree.

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