In 2019 Barry Callebaut announced WholeFruit chocolate targeted at commercial chefs and chocolate artisans. Now, less than 2 years later, they have launched their first couverture product made using 100% cacao fruit and called it WholeFruit Evocao™.
The development of this chocolate addresses two important goals, first to offer chocolate makers a product with naturally reduced sugar, and second, sustainable green credentials. The latter is achieved from the fact that WholeFruit, as the name suggests, uses the entire cocoa fruit, 70% of which is normally wasted according to the company.
Estimates show that circa 14 million tons of cacao are produced globally each year, so the potential savings are significant, although other projects such as the biomass project in Côte d’Ivoire are taking an alternative approach by using the waste as fuel.
The level of the contribution this will make in reducing greenhouse gases or deforestation, or whether it will result in farmers being paid more for the product, is debatable and unlikely to be material.
The sales volume will not move the needle on the overall 14 million tons of waste each year, however, big gains are best made through multiple initiatives. This was a legendary lesson from the manager of the British Cycling team, Sir Dave Brailsford, who took the team from the bottom of the global table to achieve multiple Olympic gold medals and saw the British dominate the Tour de France for years.
He referred to it as ‘The aggregation of marginal gains’ where lots of small changes add up – there’s a short 1 min video of it on the World Economic Forum channel.
So, good for Barry Callebaut for inventing a new way to consume chocolate that is lower in sugar and better for the environment.
The company uses their subsidiary, Cabosse Naturals, to do the processing. Cabosse Naturals are running the project in Ecuador, where they work with local farmers under Barry Callebaut’s flagship Cocoa Horizons sustainability programme.
WholeFruit, the new type of chocolate, reflects a profound change in the way cacaofruit is perceived and used, and also in the way chocolate is made. It brings to life the common desire of farmers, chefs and consumers to leverage nature for completely new and unforgettable taste experiences. – Dries Roekaerts, Global Gourmet VP Barry Callebaut Group
Bloomberg food critic Matthew Kronsberg was able to taste one of the first WholeFruit bars and wrote his opinion in an article last year. He reports initial notes of yuzu and kumquat that tails off to a more traditional roasty dark chocolate flavour.
Barry Callebaut is already selling a number of WholeFruit products to companies like Mondelez International, and while the taste might not be revolutionary, the naturally low sugar, sustainable credentials, and a sufficiently interesting flavour will be enough for chocolate companies to create new products around it.