Barry Callebaut launches cocoa-based nutraceutical drink
- Barry Callebaut has a new healthier drink mix made from 100% cocoa fruit that it will make available to manufacturers around the world for use in different types of drinks. The blend, called Elix, was unveiled during a live, virtual event at Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam on Thursday.
- The cacao fruit is a rich source of many nutrients, including flavonols – a class of phytochemicals believed to have many potential health benefits, especially for the heart and circulation. The elixir can be drunk on its own – Barry Callebaut CEO Peter Boone said it tastes “sweet and fruity with a slightly sour note” – and it can also be flavored.
- This launch is the latest product from Barry Callebaut’s focus on using the whole cocoa fruit in products. The company also launched WholeFruit chocolate, made with only cocoa components, and launched a line of cocoa fruit ingredients called Cabosse Naturals.
Overview of the dive:
As Barry Callebaut strives to reduce the wastage of cocoa fruit, 80% of which is thrown away in traditional chocolate making, he is discovering some remarkable aspects of the part of the fruit that is often wasted. With Elix, the company aims to take nutritional benefits and package them in a simple drink format that Boone said many consumers understand: fruit juices.
Elix has already been checked for a heart health claim in Europe, according to Boone. The FDA is currently reviewing a claim, and Boone said he believes it will be approved in the United States early next year.
Flavonols like those in Elix have been proven to help the heart and circulatory system according to Aedin Cassidy, Professor at Queens University Belfast, who spoke at the launch event. Nutrients are correlated with many other positive health effects, such as preventing diabetes and potentially improving cognitive function.
Boone said Elix is aimed specifically at Gen Xers, who are now in their 40s and 50s and at a time in their lives when they are interested in supplements to improve their health. Elix, he said, gives them the opportunity to get some of these necessary nutrients in an all-natural way, although the drink is healthy and beneficial for all age groups, according to the company.
Since Barry Callebaut is a business-to-business ingredient-focused company, it will not produce Elix for consumer sales. Boone wouldn’t say if there are any companies currently developing products with Elix, but he said it takes about 18 months for a product to be designed, perfected and manufactured. Thursday’s event was more of a new ingredient unveiling, not a specific product launch. But Barry Callebaut is ready to supply Elix when manufacturers are ready, Boone said.
The international chocolate ingredients giant probably doesn’t provide much to the better-for-you drinks segment. However, as the category grows, manufacturers are likely clamoring for new ingredients to differentiate their offerings. Not only does the fruity, natural, flavonoid-rich Elix sound unique, it could also appeal to consumers who don’t want an energy jolt from their drink, as well as people recovering from a workout. .
Boone said Barry Callebaut was exploring more innovations, noting that the cocoa fruit contains more than 20,000 compounds and nutrients.
“There’s a lot to tap into,” Boone said. “I’m absolutely sure we’ll find more ingredients that can lead to new product introductions. To be honest, I think we’re starting a journey.”