Indulgence without the dairy: Barry Callebaut debuts plant-based “M_lk Chocolate”
04 Feb 2020 --- Barry Callebaut has launched a 100 percent dairy-free milk chocolate coined “M_lk Chocolate” as part of its new “Plant Craft Indulgence” range. According to the Swiss chocolate giant, it satisfies the growing demand for plant-based indulgence, particularly among Millennials and Gen-Z’s, and is part of a wider portfolio of Plant Craft products ranging from chocolate, cocoa, nuts and fillings to decorations. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst from the ISM show floor in Cologne, Germany, Sofia Popova, EMEA Marketing Director, says “for the first time ever, we have been able to crack the taste of milk chocolate without using dairy.”
The latest innovation from Barry Callebaut is “really milky and creamy, as you would expect milk chocolate to taste,” Popova notes.
Barry Callebaut’s plant-based chocolate launch is in line with the number two trend from Innova Market Insights for this year, which is the “Plant-Based Revolution.” The market researcher highlights a 68 percent average annual growth in food and beverage launches with a “plant-based” claim (Global, CAGR 2014 to 2018).
First fully segregated factory for dairy-free chocolate in Europe
To bring these plant-based products to market, Barry Callebaut has developed a unique European footprint of fully-segregated dairy-free production facilities, including a state-of-the-art chocolate factory in Norderstedt, Germany. The new factory will be the manufacturer’s first facility capable of supplying dairy-free chocolate to the European market, with annual production capacity expected to reach tens of thousands of tons. The factory will be opened as a dairy-free facility in the first half of 2021.
The new range of dairy-free chocolate, cocoa and nut products will equip industry confectioners with everything needed to create indulgent dairy-free creations. Brands and artisans can benefit from the support of the new ‘Plant Craft’ hub on www.barry-callebaut.com, which serves as a source of inspiration and expert support to develop delicious plant-based creations by offering recipes, industry trend trackers and recommendations from chefs. Technical advisers will also be on-hand to help with flavor pairing and workability.
Next generations go flexitarian
According to Innova Market Insights, more than half of US consumers have changed their eating habits in the past year. The plant-based trend is expected to further blossom in 2020, and indulgence without the dairy is a general theme that will dominate.
Millennials and Gen-Z’s want to live happy and healthy lives and they desire food and beverage products that are tasty, but are also good for the planet and communities.
The spotlight is on Gen-Z’s, according to Popova. “This is the newest generation of consumers between nine and 23 years old. There are already two billion of them on the planet and they have a lot of purchasing power,” she continues. “Of course, this isn’t as much as previous generations. However, they influence the purchasing decisions of their families. We try to understand what this demographic is interested in to make sure that our consumers are adapted for the future.”
“For ISM 2020, we have products that are particularly appealing to this demographic. Of course, this starts with a topic that is trending, which is plant-based foods. We have launched a range of products called Plant Craft, which is a wide assortment of chocolate, nuts, cocoa, fillings and decorations – everything that a customer would need to make an indulgent plant-based creation,” explains Popova.
“We’re trying to understand what these consumers look for in life and it all comes down to food that is both good for them and good for the planet, but also looks gorgeous and is ‘Instagrammable.’ Plant-based is a key theme for Gen-Z’s today,” she muses.
The launch also comes at a time when sustainability-conscious consumers, especially Millennials and Gen-Z’s, are increasingly adopting flexitarian lifestyles. They are navigating between plant-based products one day and animal products the next, or taking part in movements such as Veganuary to reduce their carbon footprint.
Tapping into taste and texture
The dairy-free M_lk Chocolate is creamy, milky and has the typical milk chocolate flavor and texture.
“Texture is becoming more and more visible,” Popova states. “You have more brands that use texture as one of the aspects of creating a taste experience. There are several aspects to texture – there are consumers who like creamy experiences, while you have others who are going for the crunch,” she adds.
M_lk Chocolate is made with an ingredient of natural origin, exclusively available to Barry Callebaut. It took a Barry Callebaut R&D team two years to develop this innovation.
“The next generation of consumers is looking for experiences that are tasty, good for them and good for the planet. With that in mind, we aim to accompany the industry in this plant-based revolution,” comments Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability and Quality Officer and Head of Gourmet at Barry Callebaut.
“With more than 175 years of experience in mastering chocolate, creating indulgent experiences is at the heart of what we do. Through this innovation, we’re proud to offer chocolate creations with all of the creaminess consumers love, 100 percent dairy free,” he adds.
To support artisans and brands across the world in creating plant-based indulgent experiences, Barry Callebaut introduces “Plant Craft,” a wide range of dairy-free and vegan ingredients: chocolates, cocoa powders, nut products from paste to fillings as well as decorations.
By Elizabeth Green, with additional reporting from Missy Green in Cologne, Germany
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