Sector News

Cargill’s alternative cocoa collaboration gets off the ground as cocoa prices continue to climb

April 14, 2024
Consumer Packaged Goods

Cargill partners with Voyage Foods to scale up alternatives to cocoa-based products to meet consumers’ indulgence needs. The commercial partnership will also provide food manufacturers with nut spreads produced with no nut or dairy allergens used in the recipe formulation.

This alternative cocoa collaboration comes amid a continued rise in global prices impacted by adverse weather conditions, including volatile El Niño weather patterns and disease-affecting yields in key cocoa-growing regions, including West Africa, which supplies about 70% of the world’s cocoa.

But, Anne Mertens-Hoyng, category director of Chocolate Confectionery & Ice Cream at Cargill, explains how this partnership is complementary to and further expands Cargill’s comprehensive portfolio for indulgence.

Cocoa-free confectionery is not cocoa-dependent and is therefore less subject to market volatility, which does offer more stable pricing for Cargill’s customers.

“That being said, Cargill remains committed to its traditional chocolate business and will continue its journey to responsibly source and produce cocoa and chocolate while supporting the cocoa communities it partners with and implement and expand its sustainability programs,” she tells Food Ingredients First.

“In addition, Cargill will continue to support its cocoa and chocolate customers in managing their supply chains through this unforeseen and challenging environment by providing them with supply certainty and offering them risk management tools that will help them manage price volatility.”

As demand for more sustainable global confectionery products increases, Cargill’s new commercial partnership with Voyage Foods is predicted to scale up and deliver healthy, and particularly more sustainable alternatives to cocoa-based products, as well as along nut spreads without their traditional ingredients, peanuts and hazelnuts.

Voyage Foods uses its proprietary technology to replicate products and applications with the chocolate flavor.

“This partnership with Voyage Foods is one example of how Cargill is developing a range of future-proof products to meet pressing consumer demands and market regulations when it comes to even more sustainable options.”

“Using its breakthrough technology, Voyage is decoupling foods from the traditional source material — creating new alternatives to the food and drink we love in ways that are even more sustainable, scalable, cost-effective and comparable in taste and industrial application to their traditional counterparts. Their products are always made from wholesome ingredients and are even more sustainable by using less water and land than their traditional counterparts.”

Cargill expects to accelerate an even more sustainable offering through innovation and new technology, which align with Cargill’s overall sustainable growth plans, as a result of this collaboration.

Cocoa-free confectionery range
Cargill will be the exclusive B2B global distributor for Voyage Foods.

These alternatives to cocoa-based products — or the cocoa-free confectionery range — will be used in the recipe formulation across categories like bakery, ice cream and confectionery, which are pegged as “exciting high-value categories.”

They will complement and diversify Cargill’s traditional chocolate portfolio to provide a broader range of solutions that are vegan and label-friendly, while the recipe formulation contains no nut or dairy allergens.

Mertens-Hoyng says the new cocoa-free confectionary could be used as a one-to-one replacement for chocolate or coating and filling applied in bakery, ice cream and confectionery.

“While this offering delights the consumer with a tasty indulgence, it also offers a good solution for consumers looking for no nuts nor dairy used in the recipe formulation and an even more environmentally friendly option,” she continues.

“As an example — a cereal bar with cocoa-free confectionery chips and drizzle, an ice cream with a layer of cocoa-free confectionery coating and a peanut swirl, a coated donut with a hazelnut filling — all produced with no nuts nor dairy allergens used in the recipe formulation.”

“The oils and fats included in the recipe are mainly provided by Cargill, making this a true end-to-end collaboration, which we aim to extend in the future by transforming other raw materials into indulgent solutions for our customers.”

The cocoa-free confectionery range will be available in Europe and will follow shortly in other regions globally.

By Gaynor Selby


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