Confectionery business hopes for EU law change over chocolate labelling
An innovative Finnish-headquartered confectionery company is seeking a change in EU laws that prevent its latest products being labelled as chocolate bars.
The Kaakao range from Scandinavian business Nordchocolate Oy is a chocolate series sweetened with dates – which despite being made with cocoa, cannot presently be described as chocolate under present European legislation.
Consequently, it has been termed as ‘not chocolate’ and targets the vegan market, as well as those with allergies, intolerances, religious eating preferences and even for diabetics.
As the company explained, its Kaakao bars consist of with cocoa, cocoa butter, coconut milk and are sweetened with dates. The range is being marketed in a number of global territories including the Uk, New York, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Speaking to Confectionery Production, founder of the business, Stephanie Seege explained the products’ ingredients are regarded as traditional, yet have not conventionally been been used in chocolate making.
She expressed frustration at present EU legislation which has defined chocolate as a combination of cocoa and added sugar. Dates containing naturally occurring fructose and glucose are not classified as sugar, meaning her range cannot presently be classified as being chocolate.
Consequently, the company is aiming to revise European law, which the business believes has created trading challenges that have impacted on its ability to deliver a range of products which meeting demand for healthier choices.
Ms Seege said she was driven by frustration at what she believed was a limited selection of sweet products available for those with restricted diets.
However, she explained there had been an extremely positive response to its series of bars, with customers’ expressing their apparent surprise at how similar to conventional chocolate bars the new series is reportedly proving.
The company founder said: “I have suffered from food allergies and intolerances, eczema, asthma and digestive issues since I was two months old. And as a result, I was never able to enjoy the same sweet treats that everyone else had.
“I eventually became frustrated enough to take the matter into my own hands and started developing recipes, which I have done for the last five years. kaakao is the first product that I decided to launch – because most people seem to love chocolate.
“Years were spent developing the recipe and sourcing new ingredients. The code was finally cracked together with a Swiss partner, thus, breaking tradition in the art of chocolate making and paving the way for a new ‘not-chocolate’ category.
“The impossible turned possible, in creating the same chocolaty taste and texture that people were used to, but without using any traditional sugar and by rethinking all the remaining ingredients as well.”
She said it was important for awareness to be raised around food labelling in order to teach consumers how to decipher what they’re about to consume.
Ms Seege added: “An organic chocolate bar made with four premium ingredients that can’t be called ‘chocolate’ is a great example of how confusing current food labelling laws are. How are consumers supposed to understand what we make? We want to change that,” explained the entrepreneur, who confirmed a formal approach to legislators regarding hopes of re-classifying its bars has yet to be made.