Cargill has introduced a new range of organic cocoa powders suitable for dairy products and bakery in response to growing consumer demand.
The organic cocoa powders are part of the Gerkens brand and are available in two varieties, natural or lightly alkalized.
It follows recent research that consumers in the US view chocolate as an “indulgent pleasure” that they are not willing to give up regardless of the tight economic environment, according to Mintel.
The market researcher highlighted innovative, dark and premium chocolate as particularly popular with consumers and sales for these products are expected to remain strong as Americans continue indulging in this favorite treat.
Hugo van der Goes, vice president of sales, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, which is based in Lititz, Pennsylvania, said: “The new organic cocoa powder highlights Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s ability to meet customer demands for high standard organic products.”
The Gerkens brand, which is part of Cargill, offers a range of low and high fat cocoa powders with different color and flavor profiles.
The Gerkens 10/12 natural product is a standard fat, organic cocoa powder with a color described as a subtle brownish-red.
It is suitable for dairy product inclusions, ice cream and instant mixes and is said to give a rich, mild chocolate flavor profile.
The Gerkens 10/12 lightly alkalized product is a standard fat, alkalized organic powder, which provides “smooth, full-bodied and balanced chocolate notes”. It has a deep brownish-red color and is ideal for baking and compound coatings.
Cargill emphasized that both powders, which come in 50 lb bags and are certified Kosher, are manufactured following the “strict food safety and quality standards that are preferred by manufacturers in the industry”.
In recent years organic confectionery products have become increasingly popular and consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for them.
For example, in the USA the price for a kilo of organic chocolate is about three times higher than conventional chocolate.
The US retail market for chocolate has shown fast growth, with sales rising 22 per cent from 2002 to 2007, to reach $16.3bn (€11.5bn), according to Mintel. It is also predicted to grow annually by four per cent for the next six years.
Barry Callebaut demonstrated its faith in the future of organic chocolate in April this year when the company acquired a 49 per cent stake in Biolands of Tanzania, Africa's largest exporter of certified organic cocoa, after purchasing 100 per cent of its top-end cocoa for the past eight years.
Similarly, ADM Cocoa recently introduced new procedures in its cocoa facilities in the UK so as to be able to supply a new range of certified organic chocolate to its food industry customers.
The company, which is part of Archer Daniels Midland, is to launch a new range of organic chocolate ingredients in liquid form and in solid forms, such as chips, buttons and fragments.
However, the price of cocoa has been steadily rising. In July, in New York, cocoa futures achieved a 28-year high, reaching $3,245 (€2,203) per tonne, after last month crashing though the $3,000 (€2,114) barrier as demand outstripped supplies.
Major confectionery companies, such as Barry Callebaut, have seen profits suffer under increased input costs, leading them to respond with actions such as raising retail prices.