Use natural flavours to avoid cocoa price fluctuations

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Bakers have been urged to use natural flavours instead of cocoa and chocolate to avoid fluctuating prices. Image: Getty
Bakers have been urged to use natural flavours instead of cocoa and chocolate to avoid fluctuating prices. Image: Getty
Bakers have been urged to turn to natural flavours in an effort to protect against cocoa prices rises.

Liz Gabriel, bakery specialist at European flavour specialist ITS urged baked goods manufacturers to cut down the usage of cocoa and chocolate in their recipes in light of prices hitting an ‘all-time high’.

To this end, she suggested producers turn to more ‘straightforward and stable’ natural flavours to achieve the same effect in their products.

“This helps protect against the current cost fluctuations in the cocoa market, helping to give better stability in the supply chain and of course steadying the price of the finished product,” Gabriel explained.

Options and flexibility

ITS claimed that natural flavours also offer bakers more options and flexibility around the flavour of the finished product as many different profiles are available. Instead of relying on a simple cocoa flavour, producers could opt combinations such as chocolate orange or even ruby chocolate.

“Bakeries can also tap into other indulgent and well-loved indulgent flavours to help take the place of chocolate,”​ Gabriel added. “Caramel is the obvious first choice when it comes to indulgent flavours particularly when creating a filling for a muffin or donut for example.

“As well as the standard caramel flavour profile, other flavours like salted caramel, caramelised biscuit or even a ‘braver’ take like miso caramel can help create additional flavour notes to frostings for example and that all important ‘mouthfeel.”

Other options included white chocolate, which Gabriel noted was seeing a resurgence in both indulgent and standard ranges and does not rely on cocoa powder like its partner flavour.

Cocoa deficit

Gabriels’ words followed news from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) that the 2023/24 season would end in a higher deficit than previously expected, with global production and grindings projected to decline by 11.7% and 4.3% respectively.

“Though at the start of the season, there was uncertainty regarding cocoa demand due to increasing cocoa prices, current available data reveal that cocoa grinding activities have so far been unrelenting in importing countries despite the record cocoa price rallies,”​ said an ICCO spokesman.

“However, grinding at origin which was earlier on viewed as an impetus to prop up demand, as producing countries engaged earnestly in value addition investments, has slowed down due to the lack of beans.”

The ICCO also reported a decline in trade activities, which it suspected was caused by a supply tightness from top producing countries in West Africa.

Meanwhile, in this exclusive report for Food Manufacture, Mintec explores the changes in confectionery ingredients prices over the past year.

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