US palm fruit specialist Phenolaeis unveils functional chocolate series

US-based sustainable palm fruit extract specialist Phenolaeis has unveiled a new series of nutritionally-enriched dark chocolate in response to a growing demand for premium wellbeing ranges, writes Neill Barston.

As the company explained to Confectionery Production, the 72% series of functional cacao bars targets the healthier options market, with its series having enhanced plant-based polyphenol organic compound content with claimed health benefits.

According to the business, palm fruit is considered as a new superfruit derived from oil palm fruit using solvent-free, minimally processed handling. This water-soluble, non-GMO plant complex is composed of at least five natural polyphenols, fibres, carbohydrates and protein.

In addition, the business added that studies have indicated that palm fruit extract activates a wide range of antioxidant pathways and has the potential to improve wellness – with antioxidants considered to support the immune system amongst other potential wellbeing benefits.

After 15 years in development, Palm Fruit Extract is now sustainably produced in Mexico using production methods that respect the environment, wildlife and people. It is fully traceable from soil to final product. Its use added to chocolate is said to minimise bitterness and enhance creamy texture, which is also reportedly free of additional sugars.

The company said it is investing in a portfolio of applications research related potential for palm fruit extract and various cacaos to deliver great taste for a number of chocolate product ranges, which also include finished applications including chocolate-coated healthy grain or protein bars and beverages.

John T. Musselman, VP Sales and Marketing, commented on the challenges of developing its latest range. He said: “Thankfully, palm fruit extract is easy to work with and formulators across market segments tell us this unique phytonutrient plays well with other ingredients, including fibre, flavours, sugar substitutes and other botanicals. As a 100% water-soluble fine powder with a mild, pleasant flavour, Palm Fruit Extract works very well in chocolate applications, especially dark varieties.

“The ingredient’s low-dose efficacy makes development very easy and we did spend some time on the bench optimising flavour and mouthfeel. Combining components from the tropical cacao and oil palm plants delivers a great marriage that chocolate formulators immediately recognise.

“Palm Fruit Extract’s unique flavour enhancement and mouthfeel benefits were pleasantly surprising in sugar-free and no-sugar-added applications. With Palm Fruit Extract, in doses even less than one per cent, sugar-free/reduced finished products had an indulgent taste and creamy mouthfeel that impressed formulators and consumers alike. Many customers were surprised to find such great taste and added health benefits in this functional chocolate,” added Musselman, who added that initial feedback from customers has proved particularly encouraging, considering that the market for functional chocolate bars is still in its infancy.





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