Barry Callebaut has launched a new range of plant based chocolate for chefs under the name “NXT”, which it claims, not only taste great, but are better for the environment.
This is what the company says about the product on the website:
NXT dairy-free is chocolate indulgence of the next generation. These dark and milk chocolates are made from 100% plant-based ingredients without any trace of milk or dairy – yet bringing you all the indulgence and creaminess of traditional chocolates. They’re better for the planet and better for your customers who want to enjoy without any animal ingredients.
This is not the first time the company has released a plant-based alternative to dairy chocolate. The company already has Plant Craft, which seems on the face of it, to be quite similar.
The claim for NXT to be guaranteed ‘Dairy Free’ might hold a clue however, and much of it comes down to having a segregated production line that ensures that there is no traces of dairy, which is crucial for people with allergies. The company has a page dedicated to explaining this here. The company says that 1 in 4 people have some form of allergy, and independently, I’ve seen research indicating that this number is growing.
However, this is an important market of some 2bn people and growing. The typical 18-25 year old will eat Vegan meals at least once a week. 14% of the Millennials demographic prefer to eat meals that are not from an animal source.
What is less clear is how much flavour they’re willing to give up to meet their ethical goal, and given the continued investment in making dairy-free chocolate more like the milk-based alternative, we guess the answer is that they want a similar experience.
The product is derived from the Chufa plant. This interesting little plant that looked to my uneducated eyes like common weeds, is also known by the name of Tigernut. A nutty flavour can be extracted from it, and in fact it is used as a coffee alternative for this reason.
Barry Callebaut wash and sterilize the plant and then dry it before grinding it into a powder that can be used in their ingredients to give a creamy and nutty flavour.
Accompanying the product launch, the company made an online learning portal available. It was pretty easy to access and I have to say Barry Callebaut really do a great job in coordinating their product launches with supporting materials.