Confectionery giants Barry Callebaut have brought to the table what they claim is the next generation of chocolate. Technical Editor Clay Gordon had the chance to find out for himself if Barry Callebaut are truly changing the game.
What is G2 chocolate? What’s new about it? What’s not new? And, what are some implications for chocolatiers, the industry as a whole, and for the consuming public?
The G2 launch was the fourth Barry Callebaut (“BC”) global product launch I have attended in person. The first was the launch of Ruby (the fourth kind of) chocolate in Shanghai in 2017. This was followed by the introduction of the flavour lexicon ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate’ at ISM in Cologne in 2018, followed by the launch of WholeFruit in San Francisco in 2019.
BC said that G2 chocolate is a response to changes in consumer sentiment. Research indicates that consumers are looking for simpler ingredient labels, products that are less highly processed and that are “better for you.” BCs distills this down in their materials as: 1) indulging in the purity of cocoa flavours; and 2) “putting cocoa first, sugar last.” By doing so, BC aims to “accelerate industry efforts to address changing consumer preferences and consumers’ desire to indulge more mindfully.”
In order to enable indulging in the purity of cocoa flavours, BC further claims to have “redesigned the farming, fermentation, and roasting of cocoa beans.” To understand these claims it’s important to take a look at the G2 chocolate samples presented at event and the way they were presented.
Three chocolates were sampled at the event, a 75% two-ingredient (cocoa beans, sugar) dark chocolate and two, three-ingredient (cocoa beans, milk, sugar) milk chocolates – one, a 35% with a milk-forward flavour profile, and the other a 55% cocoa-forward flavour profile. All three of these chocolates are promoted as being made with 50% less sugar*. And BC boasts G2 chocolates having the “cleanest label ever” (emphasis added).
First generation chocolates (which BC bookends with the patenting of the cocoa butter press in 1828 up to this launch) are products of the industrial revolution. One of the hallmarks of industrial products is consistency. The chocolate made today will taste the same as the chocolate made last year and the chocolate made next year will taste the same as today. To achieve these consistent results, industrial manufacturers rely on a variety of processes and techniques, including adding non-cocoa ingredients ranging from emulsifiers and fats to artificial and natural flavourings. Manufacturers also rely on the fact that most mass-market “chocolate” is, in fact, candy in which chocolate plays second fiddle to nougat, caramel, nuts, or other components.
In two-ingredient dark and three-ingredient milk chocolates, there’s no place to hide behind the usual manufacturing techniques. If the beans are defective in any way those defects will be apparent in the chocolate. If defective beans are over-roasted – a technique often used in combination with lots of sugar and vanilla to hide many defects – the bitter and burned flavours will be evident in the chocolate. Furthermore, these defects will come to dominate as the non-fat solids percentage of the total cocoa content increases...
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