Tag Archives: Chocolate

Cut the Cocoa, Add Jackfruit Flour, Result: Pretty Much the Same

jackfruit-growing

The bad news: Persistently low and volatile prices are raising fears that world demand for cocoa, the principal ingredient in the much-loved confectionery known as chocolate, could soon exceed availability. Aside from something called swollen shoot virus disease, the problem is, given the money, solvable: A shortage of warehouse storage capacity in the major cocao productions of West Africa, South America and Asia could relatively easily be overcome by, duh, building more facilities. But the funds to do so are lacking, so the risk of shortages is a real one.

The good news: Researchers in the UK and Brazil have found people identify a chocolate-like aroma in flour made from roasted jackfruit seeds, according to Food Navigator. Their studies hold promise for jackfruit’s ability to mimic the aroma of chocolate, making jackfruit, which has many of the same characteristics as cocoa, a potential stand-in for the real thing, providing consumers a taste and feel they like like in chocolate-like products.

The even better news: A study at the University of Malaysia has found that substituting a proportion of jackfruit flour for wheat flour in cake-making can result in a caloric reduction of more than 30% in the end product.

Food Dive reports that, “The International Cocoa Organization said about 4.7 million tons of cocoa are currently being produced worldwide, with total production expected to rise about 18% from 2016.

It’s still early as far as the jackfruit being used as a substitute for cocoa. Even if the fruit has many of the same characteristics as cocoa, if it does not mirror the taste or texture, it could instantly turn off consumers. It’s also uncertain how well the flour made from roasted jackfruit seeds would work with other ingredients used to make chocolate, or how much it would cost to produce the cocoa-like substitute. Figuring out these answers will go a long way toward determining whether it can displace cocoa in even a small amount of foods.

Developing additional U.S. markets for the popular jackfruit — now used in ice cream, smoothies, soups and side dishes — could stimulate new income streams, along with adding value and reducing widespread waste in places where it grows.

Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree-borne fruit, capable of reaching sizes of more than 80 pounds, growing both on branches and the trunks of trees native to South and East Asia. It’s botanically related to figs, mulberries and breadfruit.

It also has a dual identity. If it’s left to ripen, it becomes amazingly fruity and has been rumored to be the inspiration for the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum.

The fruit is increasingly popular with U.S. consumers. Pinterest named jackfruit as the top food item people will be trying in 2017 based on a 420% increase in interest among users of the social media platform. Vegetarians and vegans are driving some of this interest because of jackfruit’s evolving role as a meat substitute, despite its relative lack of protein.

Jackfruit delivers a powerful nutritional package as a significant source of vitamin A, C and the B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber and several important minerals, particularly potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. Among its other assets, jackfruit contains no cholesterol and virtually no fat.

Please check out our other blog, YouSawWHAT.info.

(Between them, these blogs have been view in 90 countries!)

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What Came First, Easter or the Egg-Laying Bunny?

 

real easter egg

Neither (the egg-laying bunny or Easter came first): It was the chocolate-loving British public, which will scarf down chocolate in any form on any occasion – or so some press reports would have you believe.

So how did that public react when Cadbury’s and other candy companies altered their packaging in recent years so the word Easter, once prominent on chocolate egg packaging at this time of year, was either eliminated or relegated to a spot on the back of the pack?

They kept right on buying their chocolate eggs!

But now they have an option to buy one called ‘The Real Easter Egg,’ from Manchester-based  Meaningful Chocolate Company.

An article on The Blaze website says that company “emerged six years ago with the goal of spreading the Christian message through a variety of Easter and Advent products. Instead of politically correct bunnies, flowers and chicks, Meaningful Chocolate Company openly declares Christ as the reason for all of the festivity.”

The Blaze continues:

But since the company first walked onto the Easter candy scene, its founder, David Marshall, said the descriptions on other company’s Easter treats have become more and more bleak.

As an example, the company mentioned Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trail Pack, whose name was changed to “Egg Hunt Pack.” In addition, this season’s label on Nestlé’s Quality Street Easter egg reads: “Large Milk Chocolate Egg.” Another Nestlé product, the Milkybar Easter Egg, now has the blunt name, “Milkybar White Chocolate Egg,” proving that Cadbury is not the only company to blame for the pull.

“It looks like there is a trend,” Marshall told Telegraph.

“A lot of businesses are not comfortable with the religious aspect of the festival,” he continued. “If they want to make their product as attractive to as many people as possible it could well be that they want to remove references to the Christian festival because that will be seen as attaching to one faith tradition.”

A spokesman for Nestlé told Telegraph that there had been “no deliberate decision” to remove the word “Easter” from its holiday products and assured that customers would make an “automatic” connection even if the word was not explicitly mentioned.

“Chocolate eggs have been synonymous with Easter and the Easter story since the beginning of the last century and the association is now an automatic one,” he said. “There has been no deliberate decision to drop the word Easter from our products and the name is still widely used at Nestlé.”

Cadbury has also denied accusations that it has caved to secular pressure and removed Easter from its iconic chocolates, stating that the word “Easter” still appears, if not prominently, on the back of its creme egg wrappers.

A website focused almost entirely on statistics — including some that nobody should want to be aware of! — just published a list of “14 Staggering Easter 2016 Sales Statistics”. Among them: Sales associated with Easter in the UK were expected to be some  £775 million this year. That is, indeed, a ‘staggering’ statistic!

I encourage you to ask your friends, family and colleagues to check out what my two blogs – Food TradeTrends.com and YouSayWhat.info – do in the interest of providing information you might, otherwise, never become aware of. You never know: Some of my research could prove useful, or possibly amusing, to you (and them).

(In the few months these blogs have been published, they’ve been seen, between them, in no fewer than 30 countries! I’m pretty staggered by that statistic!)

‘Want To Be Smarter? Eat Chocolate!

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Chocolate consumption can make you smarter? A new study says ‘yes’. (Photo: ALAMAY)

A recently published study showing that chocolate consumption can make you smarter – yes, make you smarter! – revealed a ‘who woulda thunk it’ fact: Women — those in this study, anyway — eat more chocolate than men; At least the ones in this sample did!

That chocolate can enhance your mental and cognitive abilities – including math skillsis surprising. That women tend to eat more chocolate than men is sort of like saying men are more likely than women to urinate standing up!

The study described recently in the journal Appetite, was done in the U.S. between 2001 and 2006. It was an isolated and carefully calibrated sub-set of a study that began in the 1970’s to examine the cognitive abilities of close to 1,000 people, who were followed over a significant number of years.

The chocolate-related part of the study was done at the urging of  Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher at the University of South Australia. She recognized that the so-called Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) presented a unique opportunity to examine the effects of chocolate on the brain because of its large sample, of slightly fewer than 1,000 individuals spanning a broad age spectrum.

Researchers have long known that chocolate consumption can help reduce one’s risk of strokes, reduces ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels while boosting ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels, can protect your skin against sun damage, can help you lose weight, reduces stress in mothers-to-be, reduces blood pressure,  and even help prevent diabetes. But Ms. Crichton’s research provided an exciting new reason to enjoy one of the world’s favorite sweets.

In 2009, 7.2 million tons of chocolate were consumed worldwide (Statista, 2015). Commonly associated with pleasure and enjoyment, chocolate is a frequently ‘craved’ food, possibly due to its rich natural complexity that provides a sweet taste. Its high carbohydrate and fat content and highly palatable orosensory qualities, obtained from its specific constituents, may all contribute to its appeal as a ‘comfort’ food, various sources say. (See above-cited sources.)

It’s a good bet that sectors of the food industry will do what they can to exploit the MSLS and even statistics cited here to further promote chocolate-based products. And why wouldn’t they?