Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

What’s the Difference Between Cocoa & Cacao?

September 23rd, 2017
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Sure, you love chocolate, but can you tell these ingredients apart?

Most people love the rich, creamy taste of chocolate, but not everyone knows the difference between cocoa and cacao.

The chocolate flavor most of us think of is based on cocoa, which comes from the beans of the cacao tree. Cocoa is processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter and, of course, chocolate chips. With its sweeter flavor, cocoa is a more common ingredient than cacao in desserts like fudgy brownies and rich chocolate cakes.

The purer form of chocolate is called cacao. It comes from the same source as cocoa, but you can find it in cacao nibs and specialty bars. It’s also a superfood with many antioxidants—in case you needed another reason to give it a try.



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Why chocolate is good for your gut

September 23rd, 2017
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Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies show that it can also promote friendly bacteria and reduce inflammation in our guts.

First, some background: trillions of bacteria live in our guts. They contribute to our immune system, metabolism, and many other processes essential to human health.

When the delicate balance of microbes in our intestines is disturbed, it can have serious consequences.

Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, allergies, asthma, and cancer have all been linked to abnormal gut microbiomes.

A healthful diet supports bacterial diversity and health, but could chocolate be an integral part of this?

Benefits of cocoa

Cocoa is the dry, non-fatty component prepared from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the ingredient that gives chocolate its characteristic taste.

Many health benefits have been attributed to cocoa and its potent antioxidant functions. These include lowering cholesterol, slowing down cognitive decline, and keeping the heart healthy.

Cocoa metabolism is partly dependent on the bacteria that live in our intestines.

Our bodies are only able to absorb some of the nutrients in chocolate. As such, we need our tiny microbial passengers to break complex molecules into smaller components, which we would not be able to take into our bodies otherwise.

This allows us to make full use of the many health-promoting molecules in cocoa. It doesn’t stop there, however. The gut microbes also benefit from this relationship, which, in turn, has an even greater effect on our health.

Gut health and inflammation

Several studies show that the consumption of cocoa increases the levels of so-called friendly bacteria in the gut.

Researchers from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom measured higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the intestines of human volunteers who drank high-cocoa chocolate milk for 4 weeks.

The same team previously showed that components in cocoa can reduce the growth of Clostridium histolyticum bacteria, which are present in the guts of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease.

In pigs, higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species were also found in the colon in response to a high-cocoa diet. Interestingly, the expression of known inflammatory markers was reduced.

Friendly bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have, in fact, been implicated in actively promoting anti-inflammatory processes in our intestines, keeping our gut healthy.

Chocolate as part of a healthful diet

Despite the fact that these scientific studies support the claim that cocoa can be beneficial for our gut microbiomes, cocoa does not equal chocolate.

The cocoa extracts used in research do not contain the high levels of sugar and fat found in our everyday chocolate bars.

Unsweetened cocoa powder or high-cocoa content dark chocolate are the closest alternatives to the cocoa used in these studies. Consumed in moderation, chocolate may therefore promote friendly bacteria, and, by extension, a healthy gut, keeping inflammation at bay.

When choosing your next chocolate treat, join the Medical News Today editorial team in their choice and opt for a nice piece of dark chocolate.



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Scientists debut first new chocolate in 80 years and it’s pink!

September 11th, 2017
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We’d like to think that chocolate science has become a perfected art over the last century or so.

But scientists would disagree, particularly the chocolate scientists over at Swiss company Barry Callebaut, who have recently debuted the first new kind of natural chocolate in over 80 years.

Hold on to your hats, millennial pink lovers. Now, along with dark, milk and white chocolate, please welcome … ruby chocolate!

The rosy pink-colored chocolate comes from the Ruby cocoa bean, and was launched at a special event in Shanghai on Tuesday. Not only does the chocolate look wildly different, but it also has a unique, fruitier taste.

“The fourth type [of] chocolate offers a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a tension between berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness,” the company said in a news release. “To create Ruby chocolate, no berries or berry flavor, nor color, is added.”

As a company spokesperson told TODAY via email, the Ruby bean grows in countries like Ecuador, Brazil and the Ivory Coast, “but you need the right” bean for it. Barry Callebaut “is able to identify the specific Ruby beans. Secondly, we developed a unique processing that makes those special precursors come alive, creating Ruby chocolate.”

There are no additives to the chocolate, added the spokesperson.

Believe it or not, white chocolate was actually the last kind of chocolate to be launched, by Nestle, in the 1930s. That said, white chocolate is actually a chocolate derivative since it contains no cocoa solids, and has specific standards that have to be adhered to in order to be called white. Ruby chocolate is, says the spokesperson, a “real chocolate” and not a derivative.

Other companies have created red cocoa powder in recent years, but as Barry Callebaut notes, this is the first time “natural reddish chocolate” has been produced.




A study of the Indo-China chocolate market 2017

August 12th, 2017
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The global demand for chocolate is now showing recovery and leading suppliers such as Barry Callebaut are now forecasting stabilization of demand in the key markets worldwide. By 2020, the United States is expected to be the largest consumer of chocolate globally, followed by Russia. Amongst the BRIC nations, while India and China are nations projected to have the highest chocolate market growth in the period 2015-2020, economic conditions in Brazil and Russia have been hampering the chocolate market’s growth.

It is expected that the global chocolate market will grow at a CAGR of approximately to 5% through 2020. New flavours coupled with product packaging innovations will be the trend going forward. World over there is growth potential in the customized and luxury chocolate segments. People have a rising affinity for handcrafted chocolate and many startups are dappling in the art of chocolate making. Popularity of premium chocolates is on the rise particularly in the United States and Brazil. While rising obesity and health concerns world wide is a challenge for the growth of the sector, there is also growing awareness about the benefits of dark chocolate. Players have also been introducing low sugar and sugarless chocolates.

Globally, India is amongst the fastest growing chocolate markets. In 2016, the chocolate market in the country grew by 13% year-on-year. Other than India, Poland’s market which grew at 2% year-on-year are the only two countries globally to have shown growth in the chocolate market. India is amongst the four countries projected to have the highest chocolate market growth in the period 2015-2020. Other countries include Mexico, China and Brazil. The chocolate market in India is currently growing at a rate of 20% annually and is projected to grow by 30% by 2020.

In 2014 the per capita consumption of chocolate in China was just 0.2 kgs as compared with 2.5 kgs per person in Brazil, 0.7 kgs per person in India and 2.2 kgs in United States. Hence, a huge untapped potential exists in the market. However, the recent government corruption crackdown has dampened the chocolate market in China.

A challenge facing the market is that Chinese customers do not trust home grown brands due to food safety issues. They have a greater affinity for foreign chocolate brands, close to 70% of the Chinese chocolate market is controlled by European brands. Other than the food safety concern, the poor performance of local chocolate brands can be attributed primarily to poor marketing efforts.

The report ‘A Study of the Indo-China Chocolate Market 2017’ highlights key dynamics ofthe global, India and China’schocolate market. The potential of the sector has been investigated along with the emerging trends.The current market scenario and future prospects of the sector has also been studied. The report contains profiles of key players including Nestle S.A., Mars Foods, Ferrero Rocher, The Hershey Company, Mondelez International Inc., Amul. The report contains latest opinions of industry experts.

Source: Asia Food Journal


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Report: Chocolate markets in India, China expected to see greatest growth

July 29th, 2017
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The Indian and Chinese chocolate markets are among those expected to see the most growth over the next few years, research shows.
In “Indo-China Chocolate Market Study 2017,” India-based Smart Research Insights projects the global chocolate market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent through 2020, thanks to innovations in flavors and packaging.
“World over there is growth potential in the customized and luxury segments,” the report’s executive summary reads. “People have a rising affinity for handcrafted chocolate, and many startups are dabbling in the art of chocolate making.”
The United States is expected to be the largest consumer of chocolate globally, followed by Russia. However, India’s chocolate market — which experienced 13 percent year-on-year growth in 2016 — is projected to grow by 30 percent by 2020.
Smart Research Insights said nearly 70 percent of India’s chocolate consumption occurs in urban areas, thanks to poor infrastructure, lack of cold storage facilities and greater affinity for traditional Indian sweets in rural areas. However, consumption of chocolate in small packages priced between 5 and 10 Indian rupees, is expanding in rural parts of the county.
The research firm also pointed to potential in China’s chocolate market, noting the country’s per capita consumption was about a tenth of that in Brazil and the United States in 2014. Chinese chocolate brands could also stand to have a greater presence, since 70 percent of the market is controlled by European brands.


The surprising country that produces the most chocolate

July 8th, 2017
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It’s World Chocolate Day (07/07/2017), apparently. What better excuse to gorge on Toblerone like Alan Partridge?

But which country is the king of chocolate? Below we’ve listed the top 10 exporters of chocolate last year. And Switzerland isn’t number one.

Just missing out on the top 10 were Mexico, Russia, Spain, Austria and Turkey, while 79.4 per cent of all chocolate exports in 2016 came from the same 15 countries as the previous year.

Without further ado:

10. Switzerland – $802.2m of chocolate exported in 2016

Tenth?! Amazingly, the home of Nestlé and Lindt only just scrapes onto the list. Serious addicts should note that there’s a “chocolate train” to take visitors the Nestlé factory in Broc. The Lindt & Sprüngli Museum is in Kilchberg.

9. United Kingdom – $878.8m

Three per cent of all chocolate exports come from our own country. We even trump the Swiss (in quantity if not quality). The top pilgrimage site in Britain is Cadbury World in Bournville, a small town on the south side of Birmingham. The factory, which is open every day except Christmas Day, weclomes around 600,000 visitors each year.

8. France – $1.4bn

If you want to experience the finest dark chocolate, you have to go to France, and for sheer concentration of chocolatiers you cannot beat Paris. Its annual four-day Salon du Chocolat is a huge exhibition dedicated to every aspect of chocolate-making, with demonstrations, chocolate art, tastings, lectures, and even a fashion show featuring outlandish creations made from chocolate.

7. Canada – $1.5bn

The French influence, we assume, has played a part in Canada’s high standing in the chocolate table. St. Stephen, New Brunswick, home to the Ganong factory, is known as “Canada’s Chocolate Town”, and hosts an annual festival.

6. Poland – $1.6bn

Polish chocolate? Correct. E. Wedel is the big name in Polish confectionary. If you’re in Krakow, be sure to visit Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady. The array of cakes and hot drinks is extraordinary.

5. United States – $1.6bn

Six per cent of all chocolate exports came from the US last year. That’s a lot of Hershey bars.

4. Italy – $1.7bn

For fine chocolate, Italy rivals France. Eurochocolate, the annual fair in Perugia, Umbria, and the largest of its kind in Europe, sounds like a good place to indulge.

3. The Netherlands – $1.8bn

We can’t say we’re overfamiliar with Dutch chocolate, but they clearly produce a lot of it. Our Amsterdam expert, Rodney Bolt, advises a trip to Van Roselen Fine Chocolates. “It sells handmade, heart-meltingly good chocolates and truffles – ranging from classic pralines to curious combinations of fruits and spices,” he says. “It also stocks prime chocolate from Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and more.” The city is also home to Chocolátl, which bills itself as a “chocolate gallery”, and has mainly artisanal, single-origin chocolates so beautifully displayed, and in such alluring packaging, that it seems a pity to pick one off the shelf.

2. Belgium – $2.9bn

With 11 per cent of all exports, the Belgians clearly know a thing or two about making chocolate. Visitors can choose from an array of attractions and activities, from chocolate museums, walking and tasting tours to over 2,000 chocolate shops and chocolate festivals, including Choco-Laté in Bruges and the Chocolate Festival in Brussels.

1. Germany – $4.5bn

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Germany is number one. It is, after all, the home of Augustus Gloop, as well at Üter, the chubby kid from The Simpsons who uttered the immortal line: “Don’t make me run, I’m full of chocolate!” (while Homer attempted to towel whip his backside). But it’s domination is impressive: 17 per cent of all chocolate exported around the globe came from Germany. So where to enjoy it? Travellers who dash to Cologne can visit the Das Schokoladenmuseum – where the mechanics of chocolate production are dissected alongside plenty of samples. Enjoy.

Top 10 | The biggest cocoa producers in the world

This list, of course, is very different, but, as with chocolate production, one country dominates.

  1. Ivory Coast – 1,448,992 tonnes produced in 2013
  2. Ghana – 835,466
  3. Indonesia – 777,500
  4. Nigeria – 367,000
  5. Cameroon – 275,000
  6. Brazil – 256,186
  7. Ecuador – 128,446
  8. Mexico – 82,000
  9. Peru – 71,175
  10. Dominican Republic – 68,021








Chocolate Boosts Your Brain Power, New Study Finds

July 8th, 2017
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Italian scientists have found that a daily dose of cocoa acts as a dietary supplement to counteract different types of cognitive decline.

They found regularly eating cocoa was linked to improvements in working memory and visual information processing and cocoa could be particularly beneficial for certain people.

Cocoa, is the dried and fermented bean from the cocoa tree used to make delicious chocolate treats. Cocoa has been studied extensively because, well, who wouldn’t want that job.

Over the years, it has been found that a range of naturally occurring chemicals in the cocoa bean have therapeutic effects.

For example, polyphenols in dark chocolate were found to increase calmness and contentedness and flavanols were able to reverse age-related memory decline.

Before you start using this an excuse to scoff as much chocolate as humanly possible, just remember that chocolate also contains theobromine, a toxic chemical. Though to be at risk of poisoning yourself, you’d have to eat about 85 full sized chocolate bars.

Despite the large number of claims about the health benefits of cocoa, there are only a limited number of randomised trials and the literature is a mixed bag of results.

In this study, the team looked through the literature for effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on brain activity and, more specifically, what happens if you do this over a long period of time.

The studies used to perform the review mainly required the subjects to consume a low, medium or large amount of cocoa in the form of a chocolate drink or bar for a period of between five days and three months.

The scientists found that there was enough evidence to support the health claims attributed to cocoa, and, in particular, the flavanol compounds it contains.

They noticed enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after consuming cocoa flavanols. The benefits varied depending on the demographic being tested.

For the elderly, it turns out that long term ingestion of cocoa flavanols improved attention, mental processing, working memory and verbal fluency and was most beneficial in those who had mild cognitive impairments or the beginnings of memory loss.

“This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance,” wrote the researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy, including Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara.

For healthy people, without the beginnings of memory loss, cocoa could also enhance normal cognitive functioning and have a protective role on cognitive performance. The researchers admit that you have to push the healthy subjects a little harder before that benefit starts to become significant.

One demographic in particular benefited from cocoa.

For women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation counteracted the cognitive impairment associated with no sleep. Promising results for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work different shift patterns.

But how exactly does cocoa help with brain power?

The researchers aren’t completely sure, but do have some ideas.

“If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume… This structure is particularly affected by ageing and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.”

So should you start shovelling chocolate into your mouth? Perhaps, but it comes with an obvious warning.

“Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time,” say the researchers.

“There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk.”

Despite the risk of gaining a few extra kilograms, the scientists are happy to listen to their own advice and conduct a little bit of self-experimentation.

Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavanols. So, we always eat some dark chocolate. Every day.”

I can’t think of health advice I’d be happier to listen to.

The findings were reported in Frontiers in Nutrition.



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Barry Callebaut opens its 20th Chocolate Academy center in Milan, Italy, led by world champion Davide Comaschi

July 1st, 2017
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Together with Davide Comaschi, winner of 2013’s World Chocolate Masters, we had the pleasure to inaugurate our 20th CHOCOLATE ACADEMY center, accompanied by some of our senior management members, sponsors and renowned chefs.

Massimo Garavaglia, President EMEA, said in his opening speech: “The future for chocolate is bright, whether you look at it from an innovation perspective, or from a perspective of creativity, or from the perspective of new applications. Therefore, it’s really a good moment for all of us to celebrate.

The success of our recent academy openings in Moscow, Dubai and Istanbul makes me confident that our new chocolate academy in Milan will turn out to be very successful very soon too, and I am sure that with this we have created something really beautiful for Italy, and even more so for the city of Milan.

You know that I’m Italian. The special thing with this academy is that it will be Italian in the best sense of the word, led by Davide Comaschi, an Italian chef who has collected a great experience in recent years – this excellence and creativity are difficult to find and really valuable for us. In addition, it will be the first academy to develop recipes for artisanal gelato with real Belgian chocolate.

I am convinced that this is only the start. Others may view Italy as a mature market and a difficult one, where you don’t need to invest, but I believe that this is the right moment to invest, and I am sure that the academy will be a way to draw a promising future for chocolate in Italy.”

Go to Milan to learn all about chocolate … and chocogelato

The CHOCOLATE ACADEMY center in Milan is a teaching and training center for professionals of all levels and all Barry Callebaut customers who are interested in improving their chocolate skills or learning new techniques, trends and recipes for the Italian market. In addition, the academy will act as the global center of excellence for chocolate gelato (artisanal chocolate ice cream) and hosts the first ChocoGelato Lab, dedicated to this truly Italian craftsmanship.

As Academy head Davide Comaschi explains: “Milan has become the Italian capital of chocolate in recent years. It is in fact the city where the Salon du Chocolat, the Italian edition of the prestigious Parisian kermesse, takes place, and the place chosen by an undisputed market leader as the Barry Callebaut group to host its 20th CHOCOLATE ACADEMY center, the first in Italy.”

In honor of the occasion, Barry Callebaut’s chefs from all over the world met in Milan to prepare a unique 20-story-cake and everyone attending the event was only too happy to help making the sweet delight disappear very quickly.

Chocolate Academies are centers of excellence in chocolate

Including the recently inaugurated center in Milan, Barry Callebaut manages a total of 20 CHOCOLATE ACADEMY centers all over the world. A specialized Beverage Academy center forms also part of the mix. The academies act as centres of excellence where Barry Callebaut concentrates chocolate knowledge in order to drive innovation and facilitate partnerships with artisans. They provide venues for training and customer demonstrations focusing on all aspects of Chocolate work and across all trade sectors from hotels, restaurants and catering (Horeca) to Pastry, Bakery and Chocolatiers. Last but not least, they offer an excellent forum for customer dialogue through seminars and customer focus groups.



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Seasonal Chocolate Popularity

June 3rd, 2017
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New research from Mintel reveals that seasonal launches accounted for one quarter of chocolate new product launches in 2016, the biggest area of chocolate new product development.

“Our research shows that seasonal chocolate tops all chocolate new product development, a testament to the popularity of seasonal treats among consumers across the globe. This reflects the fact that these products are typically bought to help celebrate holidays or special occasions,” says Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for Mintel Food and Drink. “With this in mind, seasonal chocolate is somewhat immune to recessionary pressures, as these products are bought on an occasional basis.”
When it comes to chocolate spend per head, the United Kingdom sits atop the leaderboard. In 2016, the average British consumer indulged in 8.61 kg of chocolate per capita. This was followed by Switzerland (8.59 kg per capita), Germany (8.32 kg per capita), Russia (6.57 kg per capita) and Austria (5.37 kg per capita).
While the UK leads in terms of per capita consumption, when it comes to volume sales the US leads the way. In 2016, the US consumed a whopping 1.3 million tonnes worth of chocolate, followed by Russia with 979 thousand tonnes, Germany at 680 thousand tonnes, and the UK at 555 thousand tonnes. Meanwhile, in Canada, consumers consumed a modest 148 thousand tonnes of chocolate in 2016.
In recent years, the chocolate confectionery market has continued to see growth, though at a very slow rate. In the US, sales were flat over the past two years.
“Chocolate confectionery had an uneven year in 2016. Volume sales in developed markets like the US remained flat, while the picture was a bit brighter in emerging markets like Poland and India, where sales generally fared better. Our research reveals that changes in per capita consumption points to an important shift in consumers’ eating habits, as consumption of chocolate confectionery is declining in the top five markets,” Mogelonsky says.
“The big issues revolve around permissibility and the blurring of lines between snacks and confectionery. Even though boundaries are fading, there is still something about chocolate confectionery that has remained constant. Chocolate is still a treat and, as something special, it typically gets a pass. While consumers may be looking for more healthy foods, they will trade health for indulgence when it comes to chocolate.”
Proving chocolate lovers have a heart, interest in ethical products remains relatively strong, with 17 percent of new products claiming some sort of “ethical-human” positioning, which could include fair trade, Rainforest Alliance or some other, independent “bean-to-bar” certification. Although still a small part of the category, accounting for less than six percent of global new product introductions in 2016, launches of chocolate confectionery with an organic claim increased six percent between 2014 and 2016.
Consumer demand is likely to be the major impetus for more conversion to organic offerings. In the US, 15 percent of chocolate buyers purchase organic products.
“Providing organic cocoa is proving to be a challenge for the industry. In order to satisfy the growing demand, it will become necessary for more cocoa growers to switch to organic farming methods,” Mogelonsky says. “As interest in healthy sweets continues to rise, the availability of chocolate that offers organic or all natural positioning will be desirable as consumers look for better-for-you options.”

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Mumbai sees relaunch of The Chocolate Academy by The Barry Callebaut Group

April 15th, 2017
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The Chocolate Academy by The Barry Callebaut Group comes to Andheri in a new avatar much to the delight of cocoa lovers

Chocolate lovers from across the city are excited about the recent relaunch and relocation of The Chocolate Academy Center by The Barry Callebaut Group. The centre, relocated in Andheri, welcomes people from all strata: pastry chefs, chocolatiers, bakers, caterers and anyone with a love for chocolate. This academy is the brand’s 19th training centre in the world and is the fourth in Asia Pacific, after Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo. The launch saw a lot of buzz at the academy as chocolatiers walked in for a peek into ‘The Chocolate Academy Center 2.0.’

A one-stop destination

This academy will serve as an epicentre for exchanging technical skills, conducting sessions and workshops around cocoa and dialogue around gourmet division. Chef Manikandan Raman, Head of Academy and Technical Support for the Chocolate Academy Center Mumbai, shares, “This academy has lots to offer to chocolate-loving people, be it bakers who want to learn more about chocolate and cocoa products or beginners who want to learn about chocolates. The centre has designed workshops according to various levels from easy, intermediate and difficult.” This state-of-the-art centre is equipped with a modern kitchen and the equipment is sourced from the elite league.

Positive numbers

Recently, Barry Callebaut opened a chocolate factory in Pune, and now the brand has branched out to Mumbai as the gourmet market in India is booming, which is also validated by the research conducted by Euromonitor. According to market research firm Euromonitor, India is one the fastest growing confectionery markets globally (CAGR of 12 per cent over 2015-2020). The average unit price in India grew by 8 per cent in 2015 and premiumisation is expected to fuel chocolate sales further in India.

Mikael Neglén, President, Chocolate Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut, shares, “With significantly greater exposure to international brands and product premiumisation, we believe there will be an increasing demand for our gourmet products in India and across Asia Pacific. The investment we’ve made here reaffirms our commitment to the professional chocolatiers in this region.”



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