GHANA – French chocolate maker Valrhona in collaboration with Swiss-Ghanaian start-up Koa have launched a new cocoa fruit juice concentrate ingredient dubbed Oabika.

The flavourful ingredient is the very first cocoa fruit juice concentrate at 72° Brix, created especially for chefs and other gastronomy professionals.

It has the highest concentration on the food service market providing a silky consistency and an amber-coloured appearance.

Besides its fruity and tangy flavour, Oabika surprises through its candied, honey-like notes, delivering a new experience with a smooth texture and a unique taste.

The innovation was born out of several months of research and development, offering a multitude of applications such as ganache, jellies, mousses, toppings, sauces, glazes, creams, ice creams, sorbets, or drinks.

Frédéric Bau, pastry explorer at Maison Valrhona, and Victor Delpierre, drink expert and gastronomy consultant, describe Oabika as a complete and playful experience.

They both state that, “Oabika is a magical ingredient that highlights, enhances and balances tastes. It represents an exceptional moment in time, deliciously refreshing, which takes you on a journey deep inside the pod to the heart of a cocoa plantation.”

Its launch follow’s Koa’s successful launch of a new chocolate bar sweetened using cocoa pod’s pulp, in partnership with Lindt & Sprüngli, a global leader in the premium chocolate sector.

The new chocolate known as Excellence Cacao Pur is exclusively made of 82% cocoa beans and 18% cocoa pulp from Koa.

The use of cocoa pulp replaces the conventional refined sugar and create new flavor experiences with the chocolate maker indicating that the bar has an initial fruity and sour taste, followed by intense cocoa notes.

Until recently, the pulp that surrounds the cocoa beans couldn’t be processed in cocoa-growing countries due to a lack of infrastructure and technology.

In conventional cocoa processing, only a small part of the white pulp was used for fermentation, the rest was lost.

Koa has found an innovative way to gently process the cocoa fruit in close cooperation with 1,600 smallholders.

“As we make use of the cocoa pulp, we provide smallholders with an additional income and at the same time, we create jobs for the young population in rural Ghana,” Daniel Otu, Operations Director at Koa in Ghana, explains.

The new product launches, in conjunction with the company’s success in their cocoa fruit juice and dried cocoa fruit processing, not only create novel products but also demonstrates sustainable value creation in the cocoa sector.

This signifies a mile-stone for the cocoa fruit valorisation and the cocoa farmers, as the demand for cocoa fruit ingredients grows rapidly, the chances to create a positive impact in the cocoa-growing countries increases at the same time.

For Koa, the cooperation with Valrhona is a success with Co-Founder and Managing Director Anian Schreiber emphasising, “As a start-up, we’re proud to be cooperating with a highly reputable and well-established chocolate brand as Valrhona who shares our mission of taking responsibility in cocoa-grow-ing countries to the next level.

“With the launch of Oabika, we demonstrate how indulgence and respon-sibility for people and planet go hand in hand. We encourage others to seek such partnerships to tackle some of the food system’s most pressing challenges together.”

Oabika will be launched worldwide from September 2021 including Europe, Asia, USA and Middle East.

By 2030, Koa wants to establish a partnership with 80,000 smallholders and sustainably transform cocoa farming.

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