Chocolate to Lose Its Devilishness?

Discussion
Jul 27, 2009
Bernice Hurst

By
Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

Some
manufacturers will go to almost any length to develop a product they
think consumers want.

Internationally
renowned Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has announced
a new product, “developed in a laboratory under top-secret conditions
by an international team of food engineers,” according to The
Guardian
.
Currently enjoying the code name Vulcano, the paper says “it not only
has 90 percent fewer calories than the average chocolate product, it
is also heat-resistant to temperatures of up to 55C (131F). Most chocolate
starts to melt at 30 degrees.”

Plans
are to aim at American and European audiences who are concerned about
calories as well as people living in regions with temperatures too
hot to make chocolate products widely available. Many of Barry Callebaut’s
cocoa and chocolate-based products are made for customers whose names
are familiar worldwide such as Cadburys and Nestlé. And while some,
including Hershey, have tried to come up with a chocolate that didn’t
melt, they have never managed to combine the pleasure so many of us
get from eating it with the qualities that would make it even more
viable commercially.

Although
the new discovery was initially an accident that occurred while food
engineers were working on a different project, one of those involved
has reportedly told Swiss television, “Suddenly we realized we’d produced
a very special chocolate of a crispy, light consistency, like an airy
foam, and we thought let’s see if we can develop this further.”

A
company spokeswoman said she would not give away the recipe, but had
enjoyed both flavor and texture, explaining that it melts in the mouth
because “the enzymes in saliva rather than the heat of the tongue” causes
it to dissolve.

The
new version could be available within a couple of years. But the big
question, of course, is whether removing the naughtiness from chocolate
will make it less tempting as a treat. What new taste temptation will
manufacturers then have to come up with to tantalize their audience?

Discussion
questions: What do you think of the potential for a low-cal, non-melt
chocolate? Is this the product retailers and consumers the world over
have been waiting for? Or is it just another ho-hum novelty that will
melt away in an instant?

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12 Comments on "Chocolate to Lose Its Devilishness?"


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Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 9 months ago

This product will be successful. Not so much for the no-melt factor as from the less calories, especially in the U.S. The U.S. consumer is notorious for giving up good taste and good food for less sugar, less fat, less calories engineered products.

This product will likely take a fine chocolate simple ingredient list and turn it into something that tongue-tying.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 9 months ago

The verdict is still out. But first gut reaction is to be careful. Although consumers love chocolate, they are at the same time becoming very health conscious. So, if to make it melt free, (chocolate never last that long in my house to melt) and to make it low calorie, they have to put a lot of unhealthy additives or preservatives into it, it won’t sell. The win would be to develop a naturally low-cal chocolate.

Carol Westin
Guest
Carol Westin
11 years 9 months ago

Doesn’t sound like it can be used for cooking…no low-cal desserts.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
11 years 9 months ago

Interesting; chocolate has proven to have some positive health factors. So–and this is a big SO–if they can reduce the calories, keep the taste, and maintain the positive health factors this will be a winning combination. The fact that it does not melt at high temperature is just another plus.

Anna Murray
Guest
Anna Murray
11 years 9 months ago

This sounds like a miracle. But consumers are going to wonder what possible side effects this product has. We have learned to mistrust things like Sweet’N Low, Equal, and that fat replacement that caused digestive problems.

It will be a big job for the company to prove to consumers that miraculous, practically calorie-free chocolate is safe.

Mary Baum
Guest
Mary Baum
11 years 9 months ago

No matter what we say about nutrition, the fact is Americans want foods that taste good. If the product tastes like real chocolate, it will sell; if it’s off, people will go back to the real thing.

Chocolate isn’t something most people eat in real quantity–even daily consumers are only eating a few ounces at a time. And chocolate in desserts doesn’t contribute nearly the calories that other ingredients do–think flour and sugar, and butter.

For that experience–possibly the highlight of someone’s day–I don’t see people sacrificing taste or texture to save a few calories on the least-caloric ingredient in a dessert, or on the few ounces they eat as an afternoon-pick-me-up.

Rebecca Nyberg
Guest
Rebecca Nyberg
11 years 9 months ago

I’m guessing that what they’ve done is simply to have found a way to keep the crispiness of raw chocolate (cacao – pronounced Ka-Cow) by processing it so that’s it’s filled with air pockets. In my circle, we eat these cacao “nibs” all the time, mixed in with healthier sweeteners like gogi berries, a great alternative to brownies and candy bars. I’m forever amazed by the fact that people don’t know where their food comes from, but then, I guess that’s what makes it easier to sell them these higher-priced versions.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 9 months ago

My wife tells me that this is a good thing.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
11 years 9 months ago

Good New Phoenix !!

I don’t know how this will turn out – it sounds a little too good to be true – but it’s nice to see that “top secret research” didn’t die out with the Cold War…and so much tastier, too.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
11 years 9 months ago

The product will definitely be successful due to the low calorie claim, but only if it tastes good. If the tastes and texture are not right, it won’t matter how low-calorie it is. The only way they will know if they have taste and texture right is to get it into the hands of the consumers. Until then, success is not guaranteed.

The fact that it doesn’t melt, I’m not so sure consumers are all that concerned. That seems to be more of a distribution issue, and it would seem that the consumers are not overly worried about the issue.

If melting was an issue, we would all simply eat M&Ms. They melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

John Roberts
Guest
John Roberts
11 years 9 months ago

It might also serve as heat-resistant external tiles on the space shuttle.

It will be as welcome as “Pringles” and take years and substantial funding to become viable.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 9 months ago

Everyone needs a smile on a Monday, and now we have ours. Some of us smile in anticipation of this claim, and others in memory of David Hannum’s statement that there’s a sucker born every minute (nope, it wasn’t P.T. Barnum). I’m betting that in two years there will be no memory of this product development.

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