Cargill invests in chocolate production facilities for reduced-sugar ranges
Global ingredients and solutions business Cargill has invested $5 million in its site in Mouscron (Belgium) to enhance its capabilities for producing chocolate with lower sugar levels.
As the company noted, its investment allows for the introduction of a range of bespoke and innovative sugar reduced chocolate recipes to meet the increased consumer demand for confectionery perceived as offering a healthier choice.
According to the firm, demand for chocolate is growing by approximately two per cent per year, with a clear majority of consumers viewing chocolate as an indulgence, to be enjoyed in the moment. However, the company noted that there is now a growing group of consumers is on the look-out for chocolate that tastes just as delicious but also contains less sugar.
Cargill’s 2019 study on global food and beverage trends shows that sugar is the number one avoided ingredient in food products and that 54 per cent consumers are willing to pay more for chocolate with no or reduced sugar. According to EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market data, the market demand for sugar reduced confectionery products is growing more than twice (9 per cent) as fast as the general chocolate confectionery market (+4 per cent).
“As more consumers look for reduced sugar chocolate products, our customers are looking for new chocolate recipes that combine an indulgent sensory experience with lower sugar levels,” says Inge Demeyere, managing director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe. “Cargill is able to deliver on that ask thanks to our unique R&D approach. Leveraging a deep chocolate and broad food ingredients expertise, Cargill created a unique sugar reduced chocolate recipe capability using an optimised blend of sugar replacers, while still managing to get all the other elements like taste and texture right. Our new, bespoke sugar reduced chocolate capabilities can produce a creamy, rich, indulgent chocolate taste with just the right level of sweetness.”
The investment of $5 million into Cargill’s state-of-the-art chocolate factory in Mouscron (pictured below) includes the option to use a wide range of sugar replacers and the necessary dosing systems to allow Cargill to reduce sugar levels gradually, or up to 30% or higher. This result provides customers the ability to claim sugar reduction on the packaging of consumer products. It is also the latest in a long line of Belgian chocolate investments, focused on responding to and anticipating the demands of the industrial and gourmet segments.
Most recently, Cargill acquired Smet, a leading Belgian-based supplier specialised in chocolate and sweets decorations. With the acquisition, Cargill was able to broaden its product portfolio and services to gourmet customers such as artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries.
Belgium has been a focal point of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business for many years and Cargill’s 330 chocolate employees in Belgium are committed to the continued growth of its chocolate business, in the country and worldwide.