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B BRIEFING


Dr. Pierre Akiki FCSI is founder and general manager of Next Ideaz in Beirut, Lebanon.


this intense work, so many have decided it is hardly worth bothering when other industries offer greater rewards. The consumption of chocolate is rising faster than cocoa production and it’s not sustainable. Cocoa-growing smallholders earn just 80 cents a day, which is no incentive to replant trees when they die off and wait up to five years for a new crop to mature. Another blow is that the younger


generation is not around to do the replanting – they are heading for the cities rather than face such backbreaking work for such a small reward. However, the good news is that farmers are cultivating chocolate in other areas of the world such as the Caribbean, Asia and South America, where the salary scale is better. Many of them are involved in co-operatives that work out fair trade agreements with their buyers, and others are working towards applying similar fair trade programmes in Africa to ensure that farmers there also receive a fair wage, and that cocoa production continues. No matter what the cost increase is in the near future, nine out of 10 people will still consume chocolate regularly.


Chocolate and your health Chocolate comes from the cacao plant, which is extraordinarily rich in flavanols, a type of flavonoid phytochemical. Other foods rich in flavanols include tea, grapes, grapefruit, and wine. That sounds simple enough, but some forms of chocolate have many more more flavonoids than others. The more non-fat cocoa solids a chocolate product contains, the more antioxidants it tends to contribute. Cacao beans contain some saturated


fat, most of which is stearic acid, which studies have recommended doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol levels as much as other saturated fatty acids. The other fatty acids in cocoa butter are mono-unsaturated fat (considered a desirable fat) plus another saturated fats called palmitic fatty acid. But here’s where it gets confusing: chocolate products can have other types of fat added, such as milk fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or even coconut or palm oil (both naturally saturated oils) in addition to cocoa butter.


Some studies suggested that cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of


cardiovascular disease by: anti-inflammation action; lowering blood pressure; and decreasing LDL oxidation.


The chocolate industry For the food sector, particularly markets that use chocolate as a major product, here are the top five forecasts for the chocolate industry: 1 Sugar prices will fluctuate – this can be traced back to 2012. 2 Cocoa prices are believed to remain high. 3 The quantity of cocoa used in chocolate will decline as confectionery companies look to cut costs. 4 Retailers and supermarkets become more averse to raising the selling prices of chocolate to consumers so the amount of chocolate sold could decrease as manufacturers try to hit high profit margins. 5 Demand for cocoa and chocolate products to increase as countries such as India, China and Japan further embrace chocolate culture.


Back to the bean


Smallholders earn just 80 cents a day, so there is no incentive to replant trees when they die


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The enormous demand for functional foods with health benefits has led the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut to build up a variety of chocolate applications based on inventive research that goes ‘back to the bean’. ACTICOA is an individual and unique production process offering numerous possibilities for chocolate, cocoa and chocolate drinks. It is designed to preserve the high amount of polyphenols, naturally present in the cocoa bean, in the finished chocolate. It raises the nutritional profile of chocolate in a natural way, making chocolate more refined for the end consumer. By reducing and harmonising sugar and fat in the final recipe, the company has succeeded in offering chocolate with an improved nutritional profile for a range of chocolate applications and is the first to launch chocolate with probiotics.


For more go to foodserviceconsultant.org


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