Rethinking confectionery ingredients with ChickP and Synergy

ChickP and Synergy Flavours look at how manufacturers can reduce waste, offer full traceability of its ingredients and develop great tasting plant-based alternatives that are healthier than previous recipes


The confectionery industry is well placed to offer up its expertise and knowledge of vast ingredient formulation to push the boundaries of what we perceive sweet treats to be. Sustainability is often spoken about, ranging from packaging production, energy resources and ensuring fair trade throughout the supply chain, but one of the biggest problems we face is through product waste. Not only is it damaging to the environment, it is also costly to the producers. Alternative ingredients allow the industry to meet the consumer needs of a clean label and traceable product, as well as developing the taste and texture to further that of  tried-and-tested chocolate and confectionery.

In tune with consumers’ change of attitude towards tasty and nutritious food and drinks that also do good for the planet, from 2020 Barry Callebaut have been offering under their new brand Cabosse Naturals, a range of 100% pure cacaofruit ingredients: pulp, juice, concentrate and cascara – a fine flour made from the peel of the fruit. With Cabosse Naturals they have further unlocked the next-gen Food & Drink category ‘Cacaofruit Experience’.

Increased and long-standing knowledge and expertise of the cacao fruit has enabled the chance to celebrate the zesty fruity taste and natural richness of the fruit. The ingredients are rich in nutrients, contain fibres, potassium and magnesium and enable brands, artisans and chefs to create juices, smoothies, ice creams, fruit snacks, snack bars, dairy desserts and confectionery.

“Barry Callebaut can harness the whole cacao fruit and celebrate the zesty fruity taste of this delicious fruit. With our cacao fruit brand Cabosse Naturals we offer a new palette of opportunities to artisans, chefs and brands, since we bring a brand new, delicious and nutritious fruit experience,” says Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer and Head of Gourmet at Barry Callebaut.

Millennials and Centennials are among the youngest generations of consumers and have distinctive tastes and desires in their food and beverage choices. They are health-minded and environmentally conscious, and want their products to be good for them, the planet, and its people. They seek tasty, nutritious and honest food and drinks.Cabosse Naturals responds to this need by upcycling the whole cacao fruit – it’s delicious seeds, pulp, and peel (husk).

In response to this the German family-owned company Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG launched “Cacao y Nada”, a new chocolate bar made of 100% cocoa. Natural cocoa juice is used for sweetening which Ritter extracts in an innovative process on its own El Cacao plantation in Nicaragua. Shortly after Lindt & Sprüngli announced it had teamed up with Swiss-Ghanaian start-up Koa to launch a new chocolate bar that is naturally sweetened using the cocoa pod’s pulp. Excellence Cacao Pur is made exclusively from the components of the cocoa pod – with 82% cocoa beans and 18% cocoa pulp from Koa – and no refined sugar.

With a growing number of businesses looking to use alternative ingredients not only solve the issue of food waste, but the awareness around sugar intake and the confectionery industry’s responsibility to reduce this, it highlights the question of whether food regulation has been updated to allow for these changes in recipe formulation. For example, although the juice of the cocoa fruit has been approved as a foodstuff in the EU for the past year, chocolate without sugar is not regarded as chocolate in Germany. Even if it is naturally sweet, tasty and is made from 100% cocoa fruit. 

“Our food legislation needs to keep pace with innovations such as this”, demands Ritter Sport CEO, Andreas Ronken. “If sausage can be made of peas, chocolate does not need any sugar. Wake up! This is the new reality.”


Exotic flavours

David Turner, Vice President of Content, APAC, at Mintel says UK consumers are in love with the exotic. The British have been exposed to a growing variety of global cuisines following years of overseas travel and immigration. So much so, that their appetite for foreign flavours has increased, with many consumers looking beyond the established cuisines to innovation emerging in foodservice and retail channels. The repertoire of foreign cuisines is expanding as consumers become more adventurous: in a three month period, more than a fifth of British adults claim to have eaten at least seven different types of global cuisines at home, as opposed to at restaurants or from take-aways. 

The same idea can be applied to confectionery. Consumers are looking to be challenged with new ideas, new flavours and textures, while still holding to true to their ethical and moral beliefs – they want to offer their purchasing loyalty to a story, know where the ingredients are sourced, and believe it is offering them better taste than anything else.


Plant-based alternatives on the rise

Using plant-based ingredients increases the need for solutions to overcome the organoleptic challenges these ingredients usually bring to the formulations. There is growth in the flavour  industry in the development of masking systems and modulators; the ingredients list is getting longer because of the need to blend more ingredients and overcome some natural ingredients’ off-notes. Customers on the one hand are willing to try new developments but will keep their purchase only if the taste will work for them.

At ChickP, they have developed the perfect solution: by removing in an early stage of the process critical elements of off-taste such as the hull and oil, and by using a wet extraction technology, they were able to design the best product – from one side highly functional and with a neutral taste. 

Veganism and vegetarianism has become a global movement. As more people are being conscious about what they are eating and if it is good for their bodies, they are the drivers for this growth. Itay Dana, VP Sales and Business Development says: “I think that the increased interest from the venture capital firms to invest more and more in food and agro companies also play a role in fuelling the food industry with more risk-taking start-ups. Together with the environmental crisis, food security concerns, and the increase of the middle-class sector worldwide, who consume food not just for survival – all of these are the engines for the plant-based revolution.”

ChickP comes at the right time, with the right solution for the industry. Customers are familiar with chickpea while chickpea protein has all the benefits that the new formulators need.

Dairy products, such as milk, play a role in the structure and browning of baked goods. Milk can help with rising, softness (nicer eat) and giving a slightly longer shelf life. Replacing milk or cream confectionery and bakery with plant-based alternatives results in a loss of dairy or creamy notes and presents undesirable notes such as cardboard/beany/bitter notes which require masking. Synergy’s vegan dairy flavours are helping manufacturers build back creaminess and mask off-notes in products such as crème patisserie and muffins. The key to creating plant-based alternatives that taste as goods their traditional counterparts requires a four step approach. One – understanding consumer preferences, taste is king when convincing consumers to switch to plant-based alternatives. Two – understanding the taste profile of plant proteins to enable masking of undesirable notes Three – delivering dairy indulgence without the dairy and four, sensory validation to ensure that products created deliver the desired consumer appeal.  

Itay Dana, VP Sales and Business Development says:

Itay Dana, VP Sales and Business Development

“We notice more and more usage of natural and plant-based ingredients being used in confectionery and sweet baked goods. Until very recently  starches were regarded as the main  solution for overcoming many of the texturising and functional challenges. We are witnessing a protein revolution, especially in the plant-based world. ChickP protein fits perfectly to this movement and provides beyond expectations natural solutions for many confectionery and sweet bakes goods industries. Our protein is dissolved in the fat-based formulation; it has low water content and high hydrophobic interaction. It has emulsification characteristics and can play a critical active ingredient in gluten free  and dairy-free products. 

As the world has become more digital and information is at the consumer’s fingertips, consumers are more aware and feeling more empowered with regards to promoting their personal wellbeing. They are increasingly researching and scrutinising food labels and ingredients in foods they eat and its effect on their health. The covid-19 crisis has served to further heightened among consumers the importance of taking responsibility for our health.”


Lorraine Kelly, Snr. Category Manager, EMEA for Synergy Flavours Ltd says:

Lorraine Kelly, Snr. Category Manager, EMEA for Synergy Flavours Ltd

“Plant-based or vegan is still a relatively new claim in the bakery category, but it has seen significant growth in the past five years with product launches carrying a ‘vegan’ claim increasing by almost 170% since 2015. Consumer research conducted by Synergy in 2020 highlighted that 27% of respondents felt that ‘better taste’ would improve plant-based products whilst a further 24% of consumers wanted vegan products to taste more like traditional products. Other factors deemed important were improved indulgence and better flavour variety. 

Butter is a saturated fat and plays a key role in the texture of baked goods, particularly biscuits, keeping the dough short and giving a nice crumbly texture, mouthfeel, and rich buttery taste. Alternatives options include margarines/oils and starch for structure. The former has higher unsaturated fats compared with butter and this impacts richness, for example products post bake may have more fried notes when using oils. Synergy’s vegan butter flavours are being used by manufacturers to rebalance taste and mimic buttery richness in baked goods such as brioche and cookies.”









Image credits: Cabosse Naturals
To stay up to date on the latest, trends, innovations, people news and company updates within the global confectionery market please register to receive our newsletter here

Media contact

Kiran Grewal
Editor, International Confectionery

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email
Scroll to Top