Cacao, the plant that produces chocolate, is rich in minerals and antioxidants. Commercial milk chocolate includes sugar, cocoa butter, milk, and a small percentage of cacao. Contrary to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains a much higher amount of cacao and less sugar. Several compounds in dark chocolate are antioxidants, including flavonols and polyphenols.
According to the market database, dark chocolate manufacturers continue incorporating organic ingredients and natural sweeteners to support the health & wellness trend. The health benefits of dark chocolate continue to set it apart from milk chocolates.
Globally, the demand for dark chocolate continues to increase has led manufacturers to listen to the overt and covert preferences of consumers. Invariably, the focus has shifted to advanced packaging to communicate the brand message. The packaging designs and materials have changed as manufacturers strive to convey a sense of ‘health’ to their product offerings.
Besides packaging, flavored chocolates and ‘superfoods’ are also becoming increasingly popular. Recent years have witnessed steady growth in the popularity of dried fruits, blueberries, and cranberries in dark chocolate. Despite its small share of cocoa production, fine flavor cocoa has seen an increase in demand in the recent past. Among end-users, specialty chocolate is becoming increasingly popular. According to the market database, North America and Western Europe have a high appetite for premium chocolate.
Despite the high price of these chocolates, only a modest percentage of consumers currently buy them, but that percentage is growing steadily. The industry has responded by investing in expanding its range of offerings, such as Ferrero and Mars.
In terms of cocoa beans for Europe and North America, Ivory Coast and Ghana continue to lead the way. In general, these companies are suppliers of Forastero beans to manufacturers. Furthermore, Liberia and Guinea saw their supply rise as well. According to the market database, a growing source of cocoa beans for international manufacturers is also coming from Latin American countries. The leading exporters of cocoa beans to Europe and North America are Ecuador and Peru.
Latitude Craft Dark Chocolate reaches the States
Bar & Cocoa, a distributor of Latitude Craft Chocolate, is now offering the chocolate produced in Uganda, a certified B Corporation, in the United States.
The journey of Latitude began with sourcing cocoa, intending to create a sustainable supply chain that benefits both chocolate companies and farmers. A commitment to quality and sustainable development led Latitude to establish a bean-to-bar factory in Kampala, Uganda. The Ugandan chocolatiers produces chocolate products from bars to bonbons. The company provides farming contracts to farmers to grow organic cacao. It promotes biodiversity on farms and ensuring fair labor practices. It ensures this by regularly inspecting all suppliers in its program.
Cocoa is purchased directly from farmers at collection points located within walking distance of their farms. Its prices are 15-20 percent above the market with a price floor to ensure its suppliers are able to support their households. In addition to training and insurance, Latitude also offers microloans to help families build wealth.
The only ingredients in Latitude chocolates are cocoa powder and cane sugar. The company’s products and flavors use local ingredients sourced in Uganda, including milk, coffee, and vanilla.
Nestle Incoa made from 70% Dark Cocoa
Nestle has introduced a chocolate bar without refined sugar to the market. Incoa, marketed as Les Recettes de l’Atelier by Nestlé, is 70 percent dark chocolate made from cocoa fruit.
Incoa chocolate bars contain cocoa pulp, which is usually discarded away. In addition to reducing sugar consumption and food waste, it increases the income of cocoa farmers by allowing them to sell both the pulp and beans of their cocoa.
Nestlé Incoa will be launched first in France and the Netherlands, followed by other European markets. While Nestlé is sourcing the raw materials from cocoa farms in Brazil, it is also working with partners in West Africa. It is to see if it will be possible to produce pulp there as well. The sale of pulp could boost incomes for cocoa farmers by 20 to 40 percent. Currently, the fruit pulp is more expensive to use than refined sugar. The Dark Chocolate market and its 10-year business outlook can be understood using Global Market Database.