End of reign of addictive sugar in chocolate?
A new ingredient that could see the end of addictive sugar in confectionery was unveiled at the London Chocolate Forum last Friday.
The London Chocolate Forum, hosted by Kennedy’s Confection magazine, is the world’s biggest international chocolate industry conference, attended by more than 300 representatives of the world’s leading international chocolate producers.
At this year's event, representatives of Boston-based KukaXoco, with the support of the National Coca Agency of Peru (ENACO), demonstrated a new debittering process using extracts from de-cocainised coca leaf extracts.
KukaXoco president Gregory Aharonian explained to delegates that milligrams of powdered extract of the coca leaf can replace multi-grams of sugar in the manufacture of chocolate.
“This technology, which can be quickly scaled up from ounces to tons, will allow the chocolate industry to commit to a multi-year goal to start eliminating the sugar from chocolate, allowing cacao’s many healthy nutrients to benefit the world’s health,” said Mr Aharonian.
He presented extensive data on the unhealthy reliance upon sugar in chocolate, and highlighted potential legal threats to the chocolate industry in the coming years, making identifying a realistic alternative to sugar imperative.
“When in 2011, the Los Angeles school system banned sugary chocolate milk from all of its schools, that was a warning to the chocolate industry that it could be forced to follow the tobacco industry into the world of consumer health and stockholder lawsuits,” said Mr Aharonian.
The challenges facing the industry in sourcing ingredients were also highlighted by Sophia Cochrane, Responsible Sourcing Manager of Tesco Stores Ltd (UK), who explained the company’s new strategy of sourcing cocoa for its own-label chocolate products.
All cocoa for Tesco’s own-label chocolate products sold in the UK will have to be from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources by the end of 2018.
The retailer has stated that it will also ensure the cocoa used in other Tesco UK products, such as biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals, will be responsibly sourced in accordance with a number of sustainability programmes – including the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade – by the same date.
Angus Kennedy, Editor of Kennedy’s confection magazine and founder of the London Chocolate Forum, said. “Chocolate producers are well aware of the huge changes sweeping across the industry and chocolate producers are some of the fastest acting. So I believe in early 2017 we will already begin to see a much wider range of products that are lower in calories and also much more planet friendly.
“KukaXoco’s coca leaf extract could herald the end of the use of addictive sugar in chocolate, an exciting and ground-breaking development in chocolate production.
“There is a craze sweeping through the industry to be responsible and ethical. I am so happy. It’s been a long time coming and a very welcome move. I am sure the food industry will be watching the chocolate producers innovations in 2017.
“They were the underlying messages of the London Chocolate Forum, which may well be looked back on as the event which witnessed the beginning of the end of sugar in confectionery.”