Cocoa prices reached a 24-year high on the London Stock Exchange in September amid fears that the market could be set to experience its worst shortages in 40 years. Concerns have been raised particularly because of warnings from the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, that it could see flat or lower production in 2009 compared to last year on the back of disease and dying trees. West Africa is the source of 70 per cent of the world's cocoa supply.
Synergy Flavors is touting its chocolate flavors as a way to reduce cocoa – although not entirely replace it – in products such as baked goods, confectionery, desserts and beverages, including chocolate milk, hot cocoa and dry sports nutrition drinks.
Director of Business Development at Synergy Flavors Greg Bach said: “By reducing the amount of cocoa in a product and supplementing it with Synergy’s chocolate flavors, customers can save considerable costs and enjoy the reassurance of future price stability.”
However, Bach added that there are reasons to retain some of the cocoa in these products, while using the company’s ingredients as a way to extend chocolate flavor.
He said: “Our advice is to only partially replace cocoa with our flavors, because they cannot compensate for cocoa powder’s physical attributes such as mouthfeel, body, color, astringency and bulking.”
The flavors are either natural and artificial (N&A) or artificial, and the company said it would work with food and beverage manufacturers to offer “sound, realistic advice on suitable substitution levels” for specific applications.
Synergy also pointed out that as vanilla is known to enhance chocolate flavor, vanilla flavors could also help to retain cocoa flavor even if cocoa content is cut.