Roses are red, violets are blue, and so is chocolate, says Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut says its new flower-shaped food colorant pellets allow for easier personalization than other powder and liquid dyes.

Barry Callebaut says chocolate makers can produce products in novel colors far easier with its new flower-shaped food colorant pellets compared to using high doses of powder and liquid dyes.

It claims its Power Flowers system enables chocolate makers to snap off petals for mess-free customization of color without having to heat the product. The company said at the product launch at Europain in Paris this week that the pellets allowed easier personalization than other powder and liquid dyes.

Barry Callebaut launched the natural colors range through its color and printing brand IBC.

Speaking at Europain, vice president of Callebaut’s recently created specialties and decorations unit, Patrick Hautphenne, told ConfectioneryNews: “There is more and more demand for coloring but the way that people color today is not user-friendly. You either use colors in a liquid form or in a powder, but in both cases it’s very difficult to dose.”

Mix and color

“With one flower of one gram you can color 400 grams of chocolate. So instead of having a bucket full of powder which is very difficult to dose – you never know how much to put in for the end products – or working with liquids which often you need to warm up also, you have a small flower of one gram and as soon as you put in into white chocolate we have a perfect color.” Hautphenne said.

The flowers – made from tempered cocoa butter and 40% pigment – can be added to temperate white and milk chocolate and stirred in until the color is dispersed. They come in four base colors – red, yellow, blue and white – which can then be combined to form any shade when added to a fat-based product.  

E-numbers are everywhere

Last year Callebaut launched another food colorant, Cocoa Art, through IBC. The earlier product used cocoa to create brown and red colors and could therefore be listed as an ingredient as opposed to an additive or E-number.

Unlike Cocoa Art, Power Flowers must be listed as an E-number by manufacturers. Comparing the two lines, Hautphenne said: “With Cocoa Art it was quite amazing that we managed to do it, but it is also clear that we are quite limited. You cannot have a full range of colors in cocoa powder which is coming from the cocoa bean which in the end is brown.”

“These [Power Flowers] are natural colors but these are still E-numbers so you need to declare them on your packaging. Today every color that you find in foods is always with an E-number, it didn’t exist before,” he said.

Hautphenne said that he did not feel this would hold the product back but admitted that some markets may be more interested than others. He said he thought the product would have global appeal but there may be some countries like the Netherlands and the UK where colorants may be more commonly used, and other like Germany where they are used less.


He said the product aimed to offer a chance of personalization to artisanal and semi-industrial scale chocolate makers. “It is clear that if tomorrow a customer who wants 100 or 200 tons of colored chocolate then they will buy it immediately with us and he will not start mixing himself with these small flowers of course.”

He said the company had noticed an increasing demand for personalization within the market as manufacturers seek new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors, something Callebaut was keen to tap into with brands like IBC.

“As we are a big company, as we are selling to a lot of big players in the market the volumes are rising but there’s also a risk that we don’t focus on the products where we have higher value.”

“We feel more and more the demands of our customers for speciality products because they want to differentiate themselves from competition. So it’s a kind of win-win created because this is also what we want to do - to differentiate from our competitors with all these specialities and that’s what our customers would also like to have,” he said.     

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