ETH, Koa and Felchlin develop more sustainable chocolate

22 May 2024 09:27

Zurich CCGreater Zurich

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Zurich/Ibach - Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) have been working with the startup Koa and the chocolate manufacturer Felchlin to develop a more sustainable and healthier recipe for chocolate. It harnesses almost the entire cocoa fruit. A patent application has now been filed.

As part of an Innosuisse project, a team led by emeritus ETH professor Erich Windhab worked with the startup Koa from Zurich, which is dedicated to sustainable cocoa fruit cultivation, and Swiss chocolate manufacturer Felchlin, from the canton of Schwyz, to develop a recipe for cocoa-​fruit chocolate. A patent application has been filed, according to the ETH. 

The new recipe not only harnesses previously unused parts of the cocoa fruit. It also increases the dietary fibre content by around 20 per cent and reduces the saturated fat content by around 30 per cent. Both these factors make cocoa-fruit chocolate healthier.

The development also diversifies income opportunities for cocoa farmers. Conventional chocolate only makes use of the beans, but the researchers were able to use the flesh and parts of the fruit shell – or the endocarp – for their cocoa-​fruit chocolate recipe. They processed it into powder and mixed it with part of the pulp to form an extremely sweet jelly that can replace the granulated sugar that is normally added to chocolate.

This would allow the farmers to “generate income from three value-​creation streams”, main author of the study, Kim Mishra, is quoted as saying. “And more value creation for the cocoa fruit makes it more sustainable.”

First, however, the entire value creation chain will need to be adapted, “starting with the cocoa farmers, who will require drying facilities”, says Mishra. Cocoa-​fruit chocolate can only be produced and sold on a large scale once enough powder is produced, she explains. ce/mm

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