‘Micro-size’ chocolate tackles cocoa price max-out

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

More than 500,000 micro-drops per kilogram, HERZA says, bringing potential cost savings
More than 500,000 micro-drops per kilogram, HERZA says, bringing potential cost savings

Related tags: Chocolate

With cocoa per-tonne prices standing at about €2080 in the aftermath of the Ivory Coast crisis, chocolate suppliers are coming to the fore with solutions to deliver ‘chocolateness’ with less chocolate content in goods like muffins and baked foods.

German supplier HERZA Schokolade has spent 12 months applying its ‘chocnology’ knowhow and ‘special equipment’ to developing offerings that include micro-size chocolate slivers, drops and semolina which can handle extrusion and other heating processes.

Sales director Carsten Braumann said his company had begun developing its micro-size chocolate idea before the situation worsened in the Ivory Coast, which supplies 40% of the world’s cocoa.

“Chocolate has become a lot more expensive due to the Ivory Coast problems,” ​Braumann told this publication. “But aside from the cost benefits there are formulation benefits like the poppy seed effect that can be achieved in muffins.”

HERZA Schokolade’s micro chocolate comes milk, white and dark varieties and typically will sell for around €3.20 per kilogram, depending on demands and quantities.

Braumann said cocoa butter and sugar coatings were possible to transform the pieces into micro flavour carriers such as coffee or fruit. Toppings and decorations were another end use.

The company said a kilogram of the classic chocolate ingredients contains about 10,000 pieces whereas a kilogram of micro-drops contains more than 500,000 pieces.

In a statement Braumann added: “Among other things, we are noticing an increasing demand from manufacturers of instantized beverage powders like cappuccino. And a host of ideas for new products can be realized with the micro-pieces, too. One possibility is to market the slivers and drops in multiple dispensers, so that consumers can use them for decorating ice cream, home-made desserts or cakes and biscuits.”

More for less

HERZA’s cost-reduction move follows that of Cargill which last year offered smaller pallet-sizes of between 400-800kg for smaller chocolateers, compared to previous minimums of about six tonnes.

The products included decorations in dark, milk and white chocolate such as buttons, drops, sticks, chunks, flakes, and splinters.

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