Dirafrost launches cocoa fruit puree in a nod to sweetness and durability without sugar

Oct 16, 2019 — Positioned as both a natural sweetener and flavoring, Dirafrost’s new cocoa fruit puree is made from the white pulp surrounding the cocoa beans – which are typically used in chocolate production. As the demand for cocoa products increases, so too are methods that use the whole cocoa fruit. These are increasingly presented as the sustainable way forward. Food Ingredients spoke with Dirafrost, part of the Austrian group Agrana, about the launch at Anuga 2019, Germany.

“The product is as pure as it gets. After centrifugation of the total content of the cocoa pod, the cocoa beans are distracted from the white pulp that surrounds them. The beans are intended for making chocolate, and the white pulp becomes the cocoa fruit puree ”, explains Véronique Thielens, Marketing & Communication Manager at Dirafrost. “The brewing process (pulp) consists of a specific and controlled heat treatment which provides the necessary microbiological guarantees without altering the taste or the natural color of the puree.

This process guarantees the purity of the mash, that is, it is free from additives, preservatives and added sugar. “We explicitly looked for a supplier capable of offering high quality fruit without the use of pesticides, delivering a 100% natural, pure product with a natural brix degree between 18 and 22. Our supplier is in Ecuador. The product had to be clean and undergo as little process as possible. ” Dirafrost was exhibiting its mash desserts at Agrana-Dirafrost’s busy booth at Anuga 2019 in Cologne, Germany.

The method also uses part of the cocoa fruit which is normally intended to become waste. In the normal process of creating chocolate, around 70 percent of the fruit is usually discarded.

In addition to offering a perspective on sustainability, Thielens notes that the unique flavor of the mash also lends itself to use in innovative NPDs. Although the flavor of mash is mild, the pear taste can add an “adventurous” note to applications such as baking, ganache, smoothies, juices, cocktails, confectionery, ice cream and sorbets.

The creamy white appearance of the mash is also very different from what consumers might expect from a cocoa product. A consumer study (2018) conducted by Innova Market Insights found that seven in 10 American consumers “love discovering new flavors”.

Cocoa Fruit Puree is the newest addition to Dirafrost’s 22 flavor range, available in 1kg and 10kg buckets. All are advertised as 100 percent natural, containing no additives and available with or without sugar or seeds.

Unlock the pulp potential
Nicknamed the ‘fruit of wonders’, cocoa is characterized and championed for its high nutritional content, and its potential has not gone unnoticed by other key players in the industry. Nestlé and Barry Callebaut recently created a media sensation with their forays into space.

In July, Nestlé created a unique new chocolate made entirely from the cocoa fruit, using only the beans and pulp as ingredients. The new chocolate, which will be launched in Japan in the fall, has been made using a “natural approach” and a patented technique that requires no addition of refined sugar.

In September, Barry Callebaut also launched a whole fruit experiment, with his WholeFruit chocolate, made from 100% cocoa fruit. This creates chocolate with a strong nutritional profile because it contains at least 40 percent less sugar, 90 percent more fiber, and 25 percent more protein than most dark and milk chocolates.

Also at Anuga 2019 were kōkōjoo. The start-up won Anuga’s Food Start-Up Award in the Beverages category for its first product, Pelure de Cacao, which is made from an infusion of the shell of cocoa beans. It is touted as high in antioxidants and minerals, low in calories and sugar, vegan, and all natural.

Other innovations showcased at Anuga 2019 included two new fruit elements from Bösch Boden Spies, artisan baking solutions and space-grown meat.

By Laxmi Haigh

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