Cabosse Naturals talks cocoa fruit innovation: ‘Upcycled foods are very relevant for consumers’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Cabosse Naturals, part of Barry Callebaut, is increasing whole fruit utilisation in cocoa / Pic: GettyImages-Dwart
Cabosse Naturals, part of Barry Callebaut, is increasing whole fruit utilisation in cocoa / Pic: GettyImages-Dwart

Related tags Upcycling Food waste Cocoa Chocolate

Barry Callebaut brand Cabosse Naturals is launching a line of ‘next gen’ ingredients for snacks, drinks and ice cream that utilise the whole cacao fruit, while Cacao Barry, also part of Barry Callebaut, is rolling out a WholeFruit chocolate offering. FoodNavigator hears more about how the company is ‘unleashing the full power of cacao fruit’ through upcycling innovation.

Over the past two years, Cabosse Naturals has been working to create a range of ingredients using parts of the cocoa fruit that would previously have been discarded. This has required collaboration with the company’s suppliers as well as production-side innovation.

“Cabosse Naturals collaborates closely with the local cacao fruit farming communities to source the highest quality fruits,”​ explained Sylvie Woltering-Valat, Head of Marketing at Cabosse Naturals. “They work together to limit the time between harvesting the fresh cacao fruits and the processing into delicious ingredients to no more than five hours. This is essential to preserve the high quality delicious fresh fruity taste and nutrients of the cacao fruits."​ 

In this five-hour window fruits are selected, harvested by hand and opened. The seeds - the cocoa beans - are separated from the pulp to be fermented and dried ahead of use in chocolate production. Unlike conventional cocoa production, rather than discarding the rest of the fruit, Cabosse Naturals then upcycles other by-products to produce additional ingredients.

“The pulp is immediately pressed into juice to preserve the fresh aromas of the fruit. The juice is then filtered, pasteurized and concentrated before shipping. Cabosse Naturals cacao fruit ingredients are natural and 100% free from sweeteners, additives & preservatives,”​ the marketing executive revealed.

“Beyond the beans and the pulp, we are also working with the peel of the fruit which we dry and grind into a very fine flour called cascara. The cascara is a novel ingredient that is not yet available for commercialisation.”

Cabosse Naturals cocoa fruit ingredients Barry Callebaut
Cabosse Naturals cocoa fruit ingredients / Pic: Barry Callebaut

This R&D effort means Cabosse Naturals is now able to upcycle the 70% of the cocoa fruit that would previously have been discarded, meaning that 100% of the fruit is turned into ingredients. 

These can be used across a range of applications, Woltering-Valat noted. “Cabosse Naturals cacao fruit ingredients celebrate the unique signature taste of the fruit, which is best described as zesty and fruity. Although the ingredients are naturally sweet, it clearly goes beyond a sweetener. For instance Chef Ciro Fraddanno from the Gelato Academy in Milan recently created a delicious cacao fruit gelato recipe. With the cacao fruit pulp, he crafted a very fresh sorbet with a deliciously unique sweet fruity taste. The unique taste of the cacao fruit works also very well in beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, snacks, confectionery and of course chocolate.”

Cabosse Naturals has partnered with CaPao, a Mondelez International brand, to offer cocoa fruit snacks. Meanwhile, Rogelfrut has introduced a new cocoa fruit gelato to its ice cream parlours in Italy.

Cacao Barry, Barry Callebaut's artisan chocolate brand, is also rolling out WholeFruit chocolate. The company said it expects the chocolate to be available in restaurants, hotels, and high-end chocolatiers in the US, Canada, Brazil, the UK, France, Italy and Japan.

The chocolate brand expects to launch a further 'expression of WholeFruit chocolate' in 2022. 

Upcycled Food Association certification: ‘Empowering consumers to prevent food waste’

Cabosse Naturals was the first cocoa fruit business to partner with the Upcycled Food Association, producing a global campaign in association with UFA to ‘build the upcycled food category’ last year.

The UFA has developed the Upcycled Certified logo, initially introduced to the US, to help consumers identify upcycled products. Cacao Barry aims to be the first chocolate carrying the label. “Products with the Upcycled Certified mark on packaging will empower consumers to prevent food waste every time they enjoy a chocolate. There has never been a more delicious solution to climate change,”​ UFA CEO Turner Wyatt commented.  

According to Woltering-Valat, upcycling food resonates strongly with consumers, who want to address the carbon footprint of food production by tackling food waste.

“Upcycled Foods are very relevant for consumers. A recent study from the UFA has shown that 60% of people want to buy more upcycled food products, and that's because 95% of us want to do our part to reduce food waste. Indeed over 30% of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste, and that's a big problem for society and the planet,”​ she told us.

“Upcycled food prevents this problem by creating new, high-quality products from surplus food. The new Upcycled Certified mark recently introduced in the US will now help consumers identify upcycled products and make an impact every time they purchase a product.”

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