Nestlé has introduced Incoa, a 70% dark chocolate bar made exclusively with cocoa fruit, under its Les Recettes de L’Atelier brand.
The launch brings cocoa pulp-sweetened chocolate to a wider audience across several countries. It will appear on shelves in retail in France and the Netherlands with other European markets to follow.
"We are proud to be able to develop and produce a chocolate at-scale using only the cocoa fruit,” said Louise Barrett, head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Center in York. “This breakthrough innovation allows us to deliver a great-tasting dark chocolate, while also integrating agricultural side-streams into our value chain, a key priority for our sustainability agenda."
Nestlé announced the development of this approach in 2019 and then launched it with KitKat in Japan. The company leveraged its in-house chocolate expertise to develop a patented natural approach that allows it to extract the pulp and produce a dark chocolate that captures the pulp’s intrinsic sweetness and texture.
The cocoa fruit contains cocoa beans and cocoa pulp. The pulp, which makes up around 10 percent of the fruit, surrounds the beans and is soft, sweet and white in color. Some of the pulp is used in the fermentation of the cocoa beans after they are harvested, but a significant proportion is usually discarded. In some countries the pulp is commercialized as juice or frozen and used as an ingredient in ice cream and other food products.
The cocoa beans for Incoa are sourced in West Africa from Nestlé Cocoa Plan farms certified by Rainforest Alliance. The cocoa pulp for Incoa is currently sourced from Brazil from farms that are part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Nestlé is working on expanding the sourcing of the pulp across Cocoa Plan farms globally.
"Incoa is an authentic, pure cocoa experience,” said Alexander von Maillot, head of confectionery at Nestlé. “People are looking for something that little bit different and more sustainable from their chocolate. The fact that Incoa is made from the cocoa fruit and nothing else means it cuts waste and brings additional value to the cocoa sector."
Nestlé is currently working with cocoa cooperatives and other partners in West Africa to test how cocoa pulp production could be commercialized there. That includes testing, collection and further treatment of the pulp.