A bold new vision for Barry Callebaut’s Second Generation Chocolate

In what has already proved a notably memorable year for the confectionery sector, the latest key development to grab global media headlines has been the emergence of Barry Callebaut’s Second generation Chocolate.

The Swiss-headquartered business launched its new innovation to great fanfare at a special event held in Venice last week, which has plenty riding on its fortunes given the considerable level of investment and years worth of research into its creation.

As the company revealed, one of its major attributes is the ability to deliver a claimed 50% reduction in sugar levels for both milk and dark chocolate versions of its latest release – which has traditionally been a key sticking point for many manufacturers. Previously, there have been releases from a number of major manufacturers and brands claiming up to around 30% cuts in sugar – but to break this latest milestone successfully would indeed represent a significant technical achievement in the midst of huge challenges facing the wider food and drink sector on all fronts.

Confectionery Production has covered numerous previous attempts to offer sugar reduced varieties onto the international market, with the likes of Nestle and Mondelez turning their attention to the challenge, but in truth, there has been little serious suggestion that these offerings have surpassed the popularity of their ‘full sugar’ equivalents, often met with a degree of suspicion from consumers who are used to seeing their treats staying pretty sweet.

However, against this consideration, there is the undeniable and particularly concerning fact that the UK, like many other nations around the world is continuing to deal with an obesity crisis that excessive consumption of confectionery and snacks have played their part in. So manufacturers are rightly now engaged in trying to make a difference – but it’s very much a two way street – if there’s little obvious or sustained ‘buy-in’ from shoppers, then this presents a key problem.

But there are indeed high hopes for Barry Callebaut’s Second Generation variety, which as its developers explained, has undergone considerable study right from the harvesting point onward, through to fermentation and roasting, in a bid to tease out the best natural flavours possible. To what extent this actually means more sustainable production processes is hard to quantify precisely at this stage.

It has as yet not been formally taken up by major confectionery brands, but if the success of its Ruby chocolate (billed as the fourth official chocolate type) initially unveiled at the end of 2017 is anything to go by, then the eventual rate of adoption stands to be significant. There are of course other questions such as where does this now leave conventional ‘original generation’ production methods and how these sit alongside the company’s much-heralded new confectionery line, which are being made available at several grades of cacao content.

So, it will be extremely interesting to see how the industry and consumers at large respond in the coming weeks and months ahead to this latest entrant, which has been hailed as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the very production of chocolate as we know it, which has clearly progressed some way since it was first forged into bar form in the 19th century. It seems the appliance of science in the 21st century could take the segment in a dramatic new direction if the sector embraces its bold product development vision.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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