Castronovo Chocolate wins at International Chocolate Awards

November 11th, 2017
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Castronovo Chocolate’s Signature Collection Nicalizo, Nicaragua 70% has won a bronze award in the Micro-batch – Plain/Origin Dark Chocolate Bars category at the World Finals from the International Chocolate Awards.

The winners, selected from more than 800 entries, were announced Oct. 14 in London.

This is the third award for the Nicalizo bar.

Earlier this year, the bar was awarded Silver in the International Chocolate Award Americas & Asia Pacific Semifinals (single-origin micro batch dark chocolate), and Silver the Academy of Chocolate Awards (London) Dark Bean to Bar under 80% category.

It is the 44th award overall for Castronovo Chocolate, who launched its business in 2013.

The Nicalizo bar was introduced to Castronovo’s Signature Collection – a thoughtfully curated assortment of the company’s finest chocolate – this year.

For its Signature Collection, Castronovo searches the world over for cocoa beans with extraordinary flavor.

Recent discoveries have found Criollo varieties of cacao with origins in Nicaragua, a country that is quickly becoming a hotbed for the world’s finest-flavored cacao.

Castronovo chose the Nicalizo heirloom cacao, which is certified heirloom by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP) for their chocolate because of the complex flavor of plum and cherry fruits along with rich buttery notes of toasted toffee with a little pink peppercorn spice and a long-lasting finish of roasted walnut.

The Nicalizo, Nicaragua 70% bar ($14) is available online at www.castronovochocolate.com, and at select chocolate boutiques throughout the US.

Castronovo Chocolate makes exquisite bean-to-bar chocolate using heirloom beans from remote locations throughout the world. However, the company’s mission extends far beyond organic, award-winning chocolate.

Castronovo Chocolate is passionate about protecting heirloom varieties of cacao, enabling rainforest conservation, promoting peace in post-conflict regions and allowing cocoa to provide a commercial venture for indigenous people in remote villages.

Each chocolate bar has its own unique story that positively reflects its area of origin, impacts on biodiversity and protection of indigenous people’s culture.

Castronovo Chocolate is in relentless pursuit of discovering the absolute depths of the chocolate experience knowing full well they may never get there.

However, along the way, Castronovo Chocolate takes solace in knowing that they are providing a delicious chocolate product for all to enjoy.

Source:  tcpalm.com

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Chocolate

Starbucks Is Set To Open Italian Bakeries In The U.S.

November 11th, 2017
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Can you smell the fresh focaccia already?

Starbucks is your go-to for PSLs and breakfast sandwiches, but soon you’ll also be able to get more than 100 Italian baked goods—including fresh focaccia sandwiches—made in-house at the Reserve Roastery in Seattle this week.

The Italian baked goods will come from a new partnership with Princi, a small chain of seven “boutique bakeries” in Milan and London.

“We’re getting into the food business,” Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, told the Washington Post. “Princi will be fully integrated with bakery operations, so not only will we be roasting coffee, but we’ll be baking bread, pastries — the kind of Italian pastries you’ve never seen in America.”

Starbucks will eventually roll out the freshly-baked Princi items to other Starbucks, but if you don’t live in Seattle, you might have to wait a little bit. While you’ll be able to find the Italian-style baked goods at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery location in Shanghai starting in December 2017, you’ll have to wait until next year when the Reserve Roastery opens in Milan in late 2018 (and then in New York, Tokyo and Chicago locations). There are also plans to open standalone Princi stores in 2018, so scratch that “cut carbs” line off your new year’s resolutions list already, OK?

Source: Cosmopolitan

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How flawed science helped turn chocolate into a health food

November 11th, 2017
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A small and preliminary study was hyped to claim that chocolate fights Alzheimer’s.

Have you heard? Dark chocolate will do everything from boost your cognition to reduce your cardiovascular disease risk and even help you lose weight! Or so the chocolate science hype machine will tell you.

Several months ago, we got to wondering how chocolate candy had earned such a powerful health halo. So we dove into the science behind these claims about chocolate and cocoa to find out more.

In an original Vox analysis, we discovered that food companies like Nestlé, Mars, Barry Callebaut, and Hershey’s — among the world’s biggest producers of chocolate — have poured millions of dollars into scientific studies and research grants that support cocoa science. Of the 100 Mars-sponsored studies on cocoa, chocolate, and health, 98 had conclusions that were favorable to the candy maker in some way.

That’s an uncannily high number. And it raises questions about the quality of the studies, given that Mars and other chocolate makers can use the positive findings to market their products. Industry-sponsored studies are more likely than independent research to yield conclusions that favor the funder’s products.

In our review of the research, we found studies that were well-designed, well-executed, and that produced seemingly reliable results. (This was particularly true for the science on cocoa’s effects on blood pressure.) But some of the other claims don’t stand up as well when you look closely at the evidence.

One study in particular about cocoa staving off cognitive decline jumped out at us because it had sparked a small fracas on PubMed Commons, a site where researchers can comment on published studies. Several researchers took the time to critique everything from the study’s design and statistical analysis to how it was reported in the journal where it was published, Nature Neuroscience.

This Mars-sponsored study, led by researchers from Columbia University, was published in 2014. The researchers had wanted to test whether taking cocoa supplements might enhance a region of the brain called the dentate gyrus that deteriorates with age and is associated with age-related memory loss. They concluded that cocoa supplements — particularly the micronutrients called flavanols in them — can indeed boost cognition in older adults.

The research didn’t come out of a vacuum. Previous studies, particularly those focused on aging in rats, suggested flavanols might prevent cognitive decline. But upon closer examination, it became clear that this particular study was very small and preliminary — and that there were several problems with its design that made its results unreliable. That didn’t stop the chocolate hype machine, though. The paper was trumpeted by the Columbia University press office and large media outlets as more evidence that cocoa and chocolate can fight Alzheimer’s.

Ultimately, the study shows how scientists and the media have seized upon the narrative that chocolate is a health food — even when only the thinnest evidence supports the wishful claim.

The cocoa study was short, small, and focused on narrow outcomes that don’t matter to the real world

Before we dive into what made this Nature Neuroscience study suspicious, let’s look at what it was about. The researchers randomly assigned 37 people to one of four groups for a period of three months:

  1. A group that got a high daily dose (900 mg) of cocoa flavanol supplements as well as one hour of aerobic exercise four times per week
  2. A group that got the same high dose of cocoa flavanol supplements but without the exercise
  3. A control group that got a low dose of cocoa flavanols (10mg) with the one hour of aerobic exercise four times per week
  4. Another control group that got the low cocoa flavanol dose but without the exercise

So basically, the study participants either got a lot of cocoa flavanols or not, and added regular exercise to their lifestyles or not.

The researchers wanted to test whether cocoa flavanol supplements might stave off cognitive decline in the dentate gyrus region of the brain, which is associated with age-related memory loss. They also wanted to see if exercise had any effect on memory, since previous studies had suggested it might.

In the study, they found that exercise had no impact on brain function — but cocoa flavanols did. “Dietary cocoa flavanol consumption enhanced [dentate gyrus] function in the aging human hippocampal circuit,” they concluded. They also made extremely bold statements in the paper, even suggesting that the effects they saw in the high-flavanol group demonstrated that cocoa could reverse age-related memory decline by as many as three decades.

Columbia University’s newsroom touted the research as demonstrating that “dietary flavanols reverse age-related memory decline.” The research was then picked up by media outlets, including the New York Times, which trumpeted chocolate — not just cocoa dietary supplements — as a memory aid.

But here’s the thing: The study never actually proved that cocoa supplements, and especially not chocolate, could prevent memory decline. It was too small, too narrowly focused, and too short-lived to tell us anything important about real memory loss with aging, said Henry Drysdale, a doctor and fellow at Oxford University’s Center for Evidence-Based Medicine.

To track memory decline, the main outcomes the researchers used over a 12-week period were an fMRI test that looked at increases cerebral blood volume, as well as a cognitive function test — the Modified Benton — which was developed at Columbia to measure dentate gyrus function. The researchers who validated the test found that people’s performance on the ModBent worsened with age, so they had reason to believe that this test would be a good marker of whether flavanols could make a difference here.

“Saying if you eat cocoa supplements now you’re going to have better memory in three months is not relevant to real-world [age-related memory decline],” said Drysdale, who co-founded Oxford’s COMPare Trials project which examines the quality of clinical trials.

If you really want to answer that question, you’d run the trial for several years and you’d need a group of study participants that’s bigger than 37 people. Instead of only tracking the study participants’ brain waves in an MRI machine (which is not a measure of cognitive ability), or using an object recognition task (the ModBent) to test memory, you’d also want to measure outcomes that matter in people’s lives, like, whether those taking cocoa could remember what they did that morning or that they had a doctor’s appointment next week better than the people who didn’t take the cocoa, Drysdale added.

This trial only demonstrated that supplements seem to enhance brain function over a period of weeks, and only according to a very specific (and not very widely used) test of cognitive function. That is far from valid proof that cocoa is a memory enhancer.

The researchers did other things that made the results unreliable

Drysdale and other researchers who were not involved with this study also took issue with it for much nerdier reasons. There are problems with how the study was reported that made its results less likely to be reliable — and even less worthy of the hype.

For one thing, the published version of the study looks different from what the researchers originally said they’d set out to do for this trial.

To understand why this matters, let’s step back for a moment.

Before researchers embark on clinical trials, they’re supposed to name (or “pre-specify”) which health outcomes they’re most interested in on a public database, like ClinicalTrials.gov.

For an antidepressant, these might include people’s reports on their mood, or how the drug affects sleep, sexual desire, and even suicidal thoughts. Researchers then group the outcomes into “primary” and “secondary” categories — the primary outcomes being the ones they think are most important — and describe precisely how and when they are going to measure these things.

Scientists are then supposed to broadly stick to this plan when they run their trial, and report on their findings in a journal. If they deviate from their plan, they need to be transparent about it and explain why they did so in the final journal article.

The idea is that researchers won’t just change their plans along the way, or publish positive or more favorable outcomes that turn up during the study, while ignoring or hiding important results that don’t quite materialize as they were hoping. (That’s a sneaky practice called “outcome switching,” and it’s a big problem in science.) Following these steps also enhances the chances that the findings researchers report on are real, not the result of tweaking a study’s design to get splashier conclusions.

But this didn’t happen in the case of this cocoa study.

ClinicalTrials.gov has a handy version control function that lets you see all the changes that were made to a clinical trials registry over time. It shows that the researchers for this cocoa study changed their outcomes over time, and also failed to clearly pre-specify them before starting the trial. They then didn’t report about the changes they made in their final study, which was published in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience.

For example, if you look at the earliest version of their ClinicalTrials.gov report, from 2010, the researchers stated that the primary outcome they were interested in was an fMRI test that measures cerebral blood volume. The secondary outcome they were going to look for was “neurocognitive function” — but they didn’t say which test they’d use to measure neurocognitive function. In the published trial, the ModBent appeared as a second primary outcome along with the fMRI.

“If you don’t pre-specify your method of measurement of an outcome — in this case ‘neurocognitive function’ — you are free to choose, consciously or unconsciously, from a range of possible outcomes,” said Drysdale. “You can then pick the outcome that makes your chocolate look good. That’s not to say authors will always do this with vaguely pre-specified outcomes, but the option is there.” In this case, the researchers settled on the ModBent task as their primary outcome (in addition to the fMRI).

I asked the authors on the study why they failed to fully pre-specify their outcomes, and why they didn’t report all the changes they made in their original plan in the final version of the report, like they’re supposed to do. They said they were new to entering clinical trials data on registries, and that they didn’t realize they had to declare changes they had made to their study design in the final study. Whatever the reason, though, these errors in reporting are likely to make their findings less reliable, said Drysdale.

If you look at the most recent version of their clinical trials registry, it was published in January 2015, three months after they published their Nature Neuroscience article. “So they went back after article was published in Nature and changed their clinical trial registry. There is no mention of this in the trial report,” Drysdale added.

To be clear, this cocoa study is not unique. Hype in research is on the rise, and outcome switching is common — as prevalent in industry-sponsored research as it is in independent academic research. But the paper shows how, consciously or unconsciously, studies can be tweaked and exaggerated in ways that can yield misleading conclusions.

“The bigger concern is that people are trying to do a better job of selling the research itself and not just telling what the straight out answer is,” University of Toronto nutrition researcher Richard Bazinet said. This study only showed that over a period of three months, in a small group, according to a very narrow test that taps a very specific region of the brain, cocoa supplements enhanced cognition. That became “chocolate fights Alzheimer’s” — a message Mars surely appreciated.

Source:  vox.com

 

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FAO Food Price Index edges down in October

November 11th, 2017
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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 176.4 points in October 2017, down 2.2 points (1.3 percent) from September. Although at this level the FFPI was up 4 points (2.5 percent) from its value in October 2016, it remained 27 percent below its all-time high (in nominal terms) of 240 points registered in February 2011. With the exception of cereals, all the other indices used in the calculation of the FFPI fell in October.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 152.8 points in October, up a notch from September and 10.5 points (7.4 percent) higher than the same month last year. Among the major cereals, wheat quotations were generally lower, pressured by large exportable supplies from the Back Region and increased competition among exporters. Maize prices increased slightly in the US, although those from South America were weighed down by large supplies. Rice prices strengthened in October, amid seasonally tight Japonica and fragrant supplies, with additional support for Japonica prices stemming from a series of tenders in the Far East.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 170 points in October, down 1.8 points (or 1.1 percent) compared to the previous month and close to the level recorded one year ago. The index’ retreat was primarily driven by palm and soy oils. Palm oil values weakened on higher than anticipated inventory levels in Malaysia and the expectation of production gains in Southeast Asia, while soyoil prices eased on good soybean harvest progress in the United States and forecasts of ample global availabilities in 2017/18. Lower sunflower oil quotations, facilitated by large export availabilities in the Black Sea region, also weighed on the index.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 214.8 points in October, down 9.4 points (4.2 percent) from September and marking the first drop since May 2017. At that level, the index was 32 points (17.5 percent) above its value in October 2016, but 22 percent below its peak reached in February 2014. International quotations for butter, skim milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) eased in October, while those of cheese remained more stable. Butter and WMP prices fell as importers held back on purchases, awaiting arrival of new supplies from Oceania. Low demand and ample intervention stocks in the EU hastened the decline of SMP prices. A balanced cheese market contributed to more stable cheese quotations.

» The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 172.7 points in October, down 1.6 points (0.9 percent) from September and continuing a trend of moderate declines that began in July this year. International prices of pig and ovine meat declined in October, while those of bovine meat increased and of poultry were stable. Intense competition among exporters and sluggish import demand have been behind the declines in pigmeat prices observed in recent months. However, bovine meat prices rose for the third consecutive month due to limited spot offers from Oceania. A seasonal increase in ovine meat supplies in Oceania pushed down ovine prices, while poultry meat markets remained well balanced.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged nearly 203 points in October, down 1.4 points (0.7 percent) from September and as much as 112 points, or 36 percent, below the corresponding month last year. Sugar prices fell in October as the potential for higher supplies in 2017/18 was further reinforced with prospects for a larger beet crop in the EU and bigger output in the Russian Federation. Weaker Brazilian Real, increasing the potential for larger export sales from Brazil, also weighed on international prices, especially in view of a significant slowdown in purchases by China because of higher import tariffs.

* Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

Download full dataset: Excel

 

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Commodities

Cocoa Of Excellence: Celebrating The Farmers Behind Chocolate

November 11th, 2017
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“Without cocoa, there is no chocolate,” says Brigitte Laliberté, the coordinator of the Global Network for Cacao Genetic Resources and the Cocoa of Excellence Programme (CoEx). “It’s as simple as this. Everything starts from there.” She’s right, yet every award honoring chocolate focuses on the end maker, not farmers. The celebrated outlier is the International Cocoa Awards (ICA), an event overseen by Bioversity International, a global research institution headquartered in Rome, Italy, focused on the conservation of biodiversity in food and agriculture. Farmers and the preservation of diverse varieties of crops are central to Bioversity’s mission, including the cocoa that becomes chocolate.

Every two years, CoEx brings together chocolatiers and sensory analysis experts to do blind tastings of processed cocoa samples. This year, the group received 166 samples of cocoa beans from 40 countries ranging from Australia and India to Madagascar and Sierra Leone, part of the equatorial belt where cocoa is grown. Last week in Paris, France, at the Salon du Chocolat, they awarded 18 of those entries with an ICA for their efforts and skill.

The goal of the Awards is to empower farmers by highlighting and celebrating the cocoa supply chain—and the quality and flavors that come from a combination of farmers’ knowledge, genetics, post-harvest processing and the many qualities of terroir, or the taste of place. However, the variety of tantalizing smells and tastes isn’t only about deliciousness. “Cacao diversity,” CoEx explains, “is also vital for production, as it provides not only different flavors, but also resistance to pests and disease outbreaks, and resilience in changing climatic conditions.

In the same vein as the Cup of Excellence awards for coffee, the International Cocoa Awards are also intended to help farmers command a higher price for their crop, which is what they need in order to keep growing cocoa. As Simran Bindra, the cofounder of Tanzania’s Kokoa Kamili (the first East African cocoa company to win an ICA), explains, “We’d spent a lot of time sitting under mango trees with the farmers and asking them: What would be most helpful? Would they be interested in access to loans? Would they be interested in agronomy training? Time and time again, we heard, ‘You know what we’d be interested in? We’d be interested in getting a fair price for our cocoa, for our hard work.’”

This seems basic, but, as previously reported, the majority of cocoa growers are extremely poor. The Cocoa of Excellence Programme strives to alleviate this challenge—and it seems to be working: in the annual evaluation survey, 57% of respondents confirmed that this initiative has helped farmers sell their cocoa at a premium price.

“Just because a farmer only owns a quarter-acre or a half-acre of land in a rural part of a poor country, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated equally and fairly with the respect and commitment to ethical business practices that a much larger farmer in a more developed country would receive—or that a customer at a chocolate shop should receive,” Bindra says. “We’re eager to continue our work in making sure Tanzania is recognized as among the best cocoa origins. Hopefully, it will result in more interest from chocolate makers around the world.”

A full list of International Cocoa Award winners can be found here.

Source:  forbes.com

 

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What’s the real cost of chocolate?

November 11th, 2017
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Chocolate is the “food of the gods,” a sweet treat for many across the world, and a booming industry worth an estimated $110 billion a year. But as we unwrap a favorite bar or tuck into a truffle, how many of us take the time to think about where it came from, and who helped in its transformation from the humble cocoa bean?

Most of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, with more than a third coming from the Ivory Coast alone. Cocoa is grown mainly on small, family-owned plantations by farmers living in poverty.
By contrast, most of the world’s chocolate is consumed in the wealthy regions of Europe and North America.
Chocolate may be big business, but its key ingredient, cocoa, is cultivated by some of the poorest people on the planet. While demand for cocoa is growing to the point that some experts warn we may run out of affordable supplies within 20 years, the farmers who grow it earn a tiny proportion of the price we pay at the grocery store – and their share has dropped sharply over the past 35 years.
Cocoa beans grow in pods, directly from the trunk of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao, or “food of the gods.”) One tree produces between 20 and 30 pods a year, each containing 20 to 50 almond-sized cocoa beans. A year’s harvest from one tree – processed into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter or cocoa powder — is enough to make up to 500g of chocolate.
Source:  cnn.com

 

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Lallemand introduces Instaferm VitaD premixes

November 11th, 2017
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Lallemand is introducing a new range of Instaferm VitaD premixes, which are simple blends composed of dried VitaD yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and wheat flour for inclusion in bread, rolls and fine bakery products.
There are new nutrition labelling regulations in Canada and the U.S. With the increase in the daily value for vitamin D to 800 IU (20 mcg) and the new serving sizes (Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed) for the bakery products, bakeries that want to continue with a Vitamin D claim in their bread will have to review the bread formulations. The use of a premix gives more control and flexibility to bakers when considering the vitamin D enrichment of their bread formula, reports Lallemand in a press release. The Instaferm VitaD premix range is designed to offer the following advantages:

• Delivers consistency with same levels of quality and vitamin D levels every time.
• Convenient and accurate scaling based on the flour weight.
• Specific solutions for any batch size.
• Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
• Replaces the use of Vitamin D3 in bread recipes where “good” and “excellent source” Vitamin D content claims are desired and can no longer be achieved using vitamin D2 or D3.

Fortifying bread with vitamin D

Fortifying bread with vitamin D is an old practice dating back to the 1940s. Bread with an elevated level of vitamin D can help consumers avoid vitamin D deficiency. Under the 21 CFR 184.1950, Vitamin D3 and D2 can be used to fortify grain products, including bread to a maximum level of 90 IU (2.25 mcg)/100g. Under the 21 CFR 172.381, Lallemand Vitamin D2 bakers yeast (Vita D yeast) is the only fortifying ingredient which can be used in yeast-leavened baked goods, baking mixes and yeast-leavened baked snack foods at a maximum level of 400 IU (40 mcg) of vitamin D per 100 grams in the finished food (source, Lallemand).

Vitamin D2 bakers yeast may be used safely in bakery products as a source of vitamin D2 up to 90 IU (2.25 mcg)/100g in accordance to Canada Gazette Part I Vol. 145, No. 8.

For additional relevant information, please refer to the vitamind.lallemand.com

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Fillings for Baked Goods Are Getting Creative

November 11th, 2017
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In the age of the health-conscious consumer who also seeks the complete experience of innovative flavors, ingredients for filling and topping baked goods are getting creative. We have investigated the science, trends and processes related to the development and use of fillings in baking, with help from experts at Zeelandia, a company with a large portfolio of fillings for viennoisserie, patisserie, savory pastry, filled biscuits and filled chocolate/confectionery. 

When it comes to fillings, demands on each market depend on tradition and on cultural preferences, the expert explains. Mathijs Nouwen and Anna Treyster answered our questions on behalf of Zeelandia.

“For example, a filling of poppy-seed or plum, both very popular in Eastern Europe, will be much more difficult to sell in South-European countries. At the same time, we see that new technologies and trends in fillings, partly caused by new consumer demand, result in some slight changes,” observe Zeelandia’s experts.

The application of different kinds of fillings is also influenced by the shelf-life of the final application. In case of artisanal processing and a short shelf-life (one or two days), custard or fruit fillings can be applied. In case of industrial production, products normally have a longer shelf-life (from several weeks to several months). Therefore, other types of fillings have to be used, like fat-based or water-based fillings. Among the benefits of water-based compared to fat-based fillings, are: keeping the baked products (cake, muffin, etc.) moist, because water migration from the baked product is prevented, and also, a wide range of flavor and texture possibilities, as well as high bake-stability and thaw-stability.

Consumer trends

Fillings must fit with the general product concept and positioning, according to the specialists. Therefore, new developments are in line with consumer requests, according to trends and product recipes (applications). According to Innova Market Insights, the latest consumer trends, pertaining to fillings, are:

– “Clean Supreme”: consumer requires clean and clear label. Therefore, the fillings must have less or even no preservatives, no GMOs, less or no E-numbers, and natural flavorings and colorants.

– “Disruptive Green”: fruits and vegetables are in scope. This can include a wide range of fruit and vegetable fillings that are suitable for a number of baking applications.

– “Sweeter Balance”: less sugar (or no added sugar) is a worldwide trend. There are some recent developments in the water-based fillings, where sugar has been replaced by substitutes.

– “Kitchen Symphony”: a trend involving authentic flavors from “other cultures”. A wide range of water-based fillings is available from Europe to the Middle East and to Asia. Examples: Pumpkin Pie filling (originates in the US), or Salted Caramel (originates in the UK).

– “Plain Sophistication”: Consumers are willing to pay just that little bit more for an indulgent product, offering them momentary escapism and premium quality. There are available assortments as tropical fruit fillings, savory fillings, Mojito or Spicy Chocolate water-based fillings.

Applications and Flavors

Aside from trends, the application itself is of high importance for the development of fillings for baked goods because a filling will need to have different organoleptic and technical characteristics, depending on the product recipe, dough, shelf-life, packaging and a few other parameters, the experts explain.

Zeeland underlines that the best-selling flavors have remained the same over time. The top-five flavors are still the classics: chocolate, vanilla, nut/almond, berry/strawberry, and cocoa (source: Innova Market Insights).

Still, Zeelandia recognizes that general consumer trends also affect flavor. The latest ones include:

  • Ethnic flavors: e.g. masala (India)
  • More sophisticated flavors: exotic fruit flavors, spices, including:
  • Chili and pepper flavors
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Flavors based on alcohol-containing drinks

– Irish coffee
– Lemon liqueur
– Cointreau cream

  • Green flavors:

– Vegetables combined with fruit for a sweeter taste
– Vegetables combined with cheese, for a savory application
– Origins are also becoming increasingly important in flavors claims
– Origin-specified nuts
– Origin-specified cocoa
– Pink Himalayan salt

Fillings and Textures

In addition to flavor, texture is also very important in product experience and positioning. Texture has been getting more attention in promotional claims on packaging over the past years. The latest examples in texture claims are: soft / creamy / smooth combined with crunchy / crispy and even chewy.

On the other hand, the experts say that the same basic rule applies for both artisan and industrial production: great taste and texture are key. Additionally, versatility and cost-in-use are valuable characteristics. In many cases, authentic taste and texture profiles are preferred: vanilla, chocolate, nuts /seeds, caramel, mince meats, and fruit. Creaminess, smoothness and integrity of (fruit) pieces are generally of importance.

Nonetheless, there are differences between the two types of uses:

  • For artisanal use: Instant fillings (e.g. custard powders) or ready-to-use fillings are often preferred. Important parameters: ease-of-handling (e.g. pipeability), bake-stability, freeze/thaw-stability, easy-to-slice.
  • For industrial use: Ready-to-use fillings in industrial XL packaging. Important parameters: long shelf-life, bake-stability, controlled water activity, freeze/thaw-stability.

The depositing and dosing requirements may differ, as well:manual depositing, e.g. pipeable with piping bag (artisanal) is preferred, while pumpable / injectable when using industrial equipment (industry) is usual.

Generally speaking, there are different texture possibilities; the most important aspect is to have a good overview of the right texture (“long” or “short” texture) and consistency of the filling / topping. Depending on the structure and whether a water-based or fat-based filling is chosen, the baker/confectioner must have a heating system or a dosing system. Different systems can be used: multi-depositors (fillers), sucking dosage systems, wheel dosage systems and mini-folds systems.

Fat-based or Water-based

Talking about how different textures of fillings impact product formulations and the baking/handling processes, Zeelandia illustrates with differences between fat-based and water-based fillings.

Fat-based fillings are, in general, less bake-stable and have a very smooth texture (“melts-in-the mouth”). Sugar in (non-emulsified) fat-based fillings may attract water from the product (e.g. muffin), which can cause moisture migration and subsequently, dryness of the baked product.

Water-based fillings are, in general, bake-stable, and have a different texture compared to fat-based (not as smooth). However, many varieties in texture can still be obtained; short, long or creamy, etc. Moisture migration can be prevented by choosing the right formulation and combination, aimed at a balance in water activity between the filling and the baked product.

Fillings with (fruit) pieces, nuts, seeds, vegetables, etc. require processes and equipment that can handle the consistency, maintain integrity of pieces, etc.

It is also possible to use fillings once the baking process is finished. This type of filling is, in general, very tasteful, and also adds to a positive, appealing impression of the product.

The Search for Natural

There are several conditions that make the use of natural colors challenging or the use of coloring ingredients that meet consumer approval; these include low pH value, a long shelf-life and exposure to light, in the case of end products that are packaged in transparent packaging. Using coloring ingredients/extracts and/or natural colors and flavors is, or is quickly becoming, the standard – at least in the EU region, according to the experts.

Fillings can have specific properties, e.g. tailored to one product or to a specific production line, and you can also use versatile ‘all-around’ fillings, either ready-to-use or instant. In some cases, additional ingredients can also be included by the baker/producer, increasing the possibilities even more.

The experts also see a strong growth in demand for savory fillings and savory toppings across many countries. This meets the needs of bakers who want to offer a broad product range that includes not only sweet, but also savory baked products. These savory fillings are often based on tomato sauce, vegetables, herbs and spices, etc.

Source: World Bakers

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From cocoa to chocolate in an entertaining and didactic way

November 11th, 2017
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The children’s vacations are over and the school year has already started. Now, time to study! But before returning to school, many have had the privilege of learning about cocoa and Venezuelan chocolate in an entertaining and didactic way, as it took place at the vacation plan offered by the Chacaomarket in Miranda state.

There, about 18 children in the 5 to 12 age range, from the same neighbourhood and also from other sectors such as Quinta Crespo and La Florida as well as children of some shopkeepers of the market, participated in the activity that was led by the teacher and chocolate entrepreneur Lissett Jiménez.

A transformational process

The subject chosen for this sweet gathering was “From cocoa to chocolate”, in which the youngsters received information about the whole process involved in chocolate making, from the seed to the finished product in its different chocolaty presentations or by-products.

“It was an activityto get to know the history of cocoa, the description of all processes to make chocolate, the different types of the product and the tempering techniques” said Belkys Rodríguez, assistant at the recreation centre. “We also visited the shopkeepers who display their chocolates in the market”.

Rodríguez emphasised that Venezuela possesses one of the best cocoa in the world and that its processing and transformation is so special that she does not hesitate to recommend that cocoa is a subject to be imparted at all Miranda state schools, and beyond.

The Children’s recreation centre at Chacao market is part of a network of municipal recreation centres which are framed in what is known as Chacao Municipio Lector. Two other centres are located in the Library of Los Palos Grandes and in the Bello Campo Park.

Once again, cocoa and Venezuelan chocolate are integrated into the schedule of a vacation programme in the country. Their importance grows, so it does thesense of belonging towards a seed, pride of adults and children.

Source:  vivaelcacao.com

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Final report Anuga 2017

October 28th, 2017
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Record fair closes on an excellent result: Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries

Export and innovations are the growth drivers of the worldwide food industry

The 34th Anuga was the best trade fair in a long time for many of the exhibitors. More than 7,400 companies from 107 countries, a new record, presented products from all over the world and all categories over the course of five days. Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries took advantage of this unique offer for sourcing, information and ordering at top level. “Anuga is the world’s biggest and most important business platform for the international food industry,” Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse, commented towards the end of the event. “The trade fair brings the global supply and demand together very precisely. With its clear concept and focus on relevant themes, it is a reliable marketplace for the global food world for customers from Germany and abroad.” In addition to the high level of internationality, which characterised the picture of the trade fair on all days, the quality of the visitors was once again outstanding. For example, Executive Directors and top buyers from leading global trading companies were registered. The out-of-home market was also represented by international teams in Cologne as well as decision-makers from the major online trading companies. The trade fair was opened by the NRW Minister, Christina Schule Föcking. The honorary guest at the opening was the Indian Minister for the Food Processing Industries, I.E. Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal. India was the partner country of Anuga 2017.

“Once again we have experienced a record-setting Anuga,” remarked Friedhelm Dornseifer, President of the German Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade (BVLH). “The high interest from the international food industry proves that the trade fair is a must-attend event in the diaries of the food manufacturers and buyers. Anyone, who wants to get a picture of how the world will eat and drink today and in the future, has come to the right place at Anuga every time. Besides the presentation of innovative products, the latest trends in trading with food were also the key focus of the trade fair. And these are digital. The customers will become more and more increasingly omnishoppers. They expect a networked buying experience, where the bricks-and-mortar trade, online media and the usage of mobile device all merge into one. But the digitalisation is not going to lead to the end of the supermarket. The consumers will continue to visit the shops to buy foodstuffs using all of their senses. Each technological advance that supports the retail trade in providing its customers with the corresponding offers is very welcome.”

The Chairman, Dr. Wolfgang Ingold, summed it up for the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): “Today, growth in the food industry is only possible through exports. Every third Euro is already now earned abroad. As the world’s largest and most important trade fair for food and beverages, Anuga is thus also the biggest and most important platform for the export business of the German food industry. The German food manufacturers were once again this year able to impressively demonstrate that they have plenty more to offer than enjoyment – they are namely also the leaders in terms of quality, safety and diversity! That is also the reason why our food industry is among the TOP 3 export nations with a turnover of Euro 56.7 billion in the export business. Innovations play a central role in retaining this leading position. We are more innovative than any other branch of industry: Every year over 40,000 new products are introduced onto the market in Germany alone. Hence, Anuga is also the global leading trade fair of innovations.”

“Anuga demonstrated anew in the year 2017 its huge relevance, appeal and charisma for our entire industry,” emphasised Guido Zöllick, President of the German Association, DEHOGA. “Over the course of five fully-packed trade fair days, it was the unique source of inspiration for F&B trends, new products and forward-looking technologies for food professionals from all over the globe.”

They were all there: The registration data of Anuga shows that the entire trade was present in Cologne, both from Germany and abroad. They included Aeon, Ahold, AlbertHeijn, Aldi, Auchan, Carrefour, Coop, Costco, dm, Edeka, Globus, Hofer, Jumbo, Kroger, Metro, Migros, Müller, Norma, Rewe, Rossmann, Sainsbury, Sams Club, Schwarz Group, Sobeys, Spar, Target, Tesco and Walmart. Amazon and JD.com were present from the online trade. Furthermore, buyers from numerous specialised online platforms were also among the visitors of Anuga. Important importers and international wholesalers also travelled to Cologne to attend the trade fair.

Important buyer groups from the out-of-home market (food service, communal catering, system gastronomy companies) were also welcomed at Anuga, among others Autobahn Tank & Rast GmbH, CHEFS CULINAR, Gourmet International, Ikea, LSG (Supply Chain Sarl), Sysco (USA), SPCgroup (Korea), Transgourmet and YORMA’S AG.

Furthermore, it became evident again at Anuga that the trade fair is an indispensable sourcing platform: Many exhibitors were able to address their customers from the processing industry directly and conclude important contract transactions.

“This response shows that business is done in Cologne, what’s more across all channels, from the classic trade, to the various categories of the out-of-home market. And that at top and also international level,” stated Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse.

The share of foreign participants was high both among the exhibitors (90% foreign exhibitors) as well as among the visitors. The foreign share of visitors increased up to 75 percent (2015: 68 percent). “The growing number of buyers from abroad is clearly noticeable from the increased number of visitors,” explained Katharina C. Hamma. As usual the attendance from the EU countries and Switzerland was high. An increase in the number of visitors was particularly recorded from Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands. More visitors also attended from the USA and Canada. The attendance from China, Japan and the partner country, India, was also very good. More visitors were counted from South Ameria too, especially from Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. There was also an increase in the number of visitors from the Near East and states of North Africa, i.e. from Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Tunisia. More people visited Anuga from South Africa as well this year.

The export-oriented food industry was thus able to reach an international and first-class trade audience at Anuga. The innovations, which as always were a key focus of Anuga, contributed towards providing the industry with new impulses and ideas. These trend themes included food and beverages that are rich in protein, new products on the theme “superfoods” and numerous new ready-to-go/ready-to-eat ideas. Sustainable concepts as well as organic products were still high in demand, vegetarian and vegan themes were also a major focus. Alternative sources of protein like insects were a theme of intense discussion among the media.

Anuga in figures:
7,405 companies from 107 countries took part in Anuga 2017 on exhibition space covering 284,000 m². These included 716 exhibitors from Germany and 6,689 exhibitors from abroad. The share of foreign exhibitors was 90 percent. Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries attended Anuga 2017, the foreign share was 75 percent.

The next Anuga will take place from 5 to 9 October 2019.

Further information: www.anuga.com

Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Food and FoodTec:
Koelnmesse is an international leader in organising food fairs and events regarding food and beverage processing. Trade fairs such as the Anuga, ISM and Anuga FoodTec are established world leaders. Koelnmesse not only organises food trade fairs in Cologne, Germany, but also in further growth markets around the globe, for example, in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Thailand, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, which have different focuses and contents. These global activities enable us to offer our customers a network of events, which in turn grant access to different markets and thus create a basis for sustainable and stable international business.

Further Information is available at: http://www.global-competence.net/food/

The next events:

veganfach, Cologne, Germany, 03.-04.11.2017

Andina Pack, Bogota, Colombia, 07.-10.11.2017

ISM, Cologne, Germany, 28.-31.01.2018

ProSweets Cologne, Cologne, Germany, 28.-31.01.2018

 

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