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Researchers Make Breakthrough to Transform Chocolate Production and Revolutionize the Cocoa Value Chain

Researchers Make Breakthrough to Transform Chocolate Production and Revolutionize the Cocoa Value Chain

When we indulge our sweet tooth now and then, chocolate is one of the top treats we think of. Unfortunately, its production is not without wasteful flaws, but recent research has uncovered a way to alleviate that.

release from Anthropocene Magazine found that researchers from Switzerland have discovered how to make chocolate using ingredients from the cocoa pod itself, significantly reducing the food waste that results from the traditional process.   

The revolutionary discovery marked the first time that chocolate could be made from every bit of the fruit it came from. In the past, companies only processed the cocoa beans with a portion of the pulp. The research team realized that the other parts of the fruit — usually going on to become waste — can be used as a sustainable replacement for sugar. 

“We treat it as food, as it should be treated, and give it the value it deserves,” lead author of the ETH Zurich research team Kim Mishra said, per the magazine.

The process proved to reduce the harmful pollution released, which usually releases between 1.25 and 46.7 kilograms of such per kilogram of dark chocolate.

Additionally, researchers have found that cocoa farming is a major driver of deforestation in Africa, particularly in countries like the Ivory Coast and Ghana. This deforestation not only harms the environment, but it also affects cocoa farmers.

There has been a 30% decrease in rainfall along the West African Cocoa Belt, which makes 70% of the world’s cocoa supply. As consumers become aware of responsible sourcing for cocoa, there is room for innovation. 

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There are some exciting developments in the chocolate industry aimed at making it more sustainable. For instance, Hershey’s has launched plant-based chocolate bars, which are better for the environment and cater to those with dairy sensitivities. Additionally, Aldi is offering new chocolate bars that support ethical cocoa farming practices, helping to curb child labor and deforestation

“Technology, nutrition, environmental impact and smallholder farmer income diversification can work together to improve the entire cocoa value chain,” Mishra told Anthropocene Magazine. 

In addition to lowering harmful pollution by eating more vegetables and less meat, the developments in this technology give hope to other methods to reduce waste from food systems. 

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