Launching in Japan in Q3 2019, Nestlé’s Cacao Fruit Chocolate is made only from the cocao fruit and contains no refined sugar. Instead, the 70% dark chocolate is sweetened with white cacao pulp. This was previously used and discarded, but will now be dried and ground before being incorporated into the chocolate. Available globally in 2020, the cacao fruit chocolate will be priced at JPY 400 (around USD 4).
Nestlé has generated billions in profits over the last 150 years catering to the planet’s sweet tooth. But despite what you might think of the company’s history, this is an innovation that we can all applaud.
End of Excess. This new chocolate ditches refined sugar, and instead makes use of a part of the cacao fruit that’s typically wasted. That means it’s not only a healthier option, it’s more sustainable, too. Of course, Nestlé aren’t the only F&B company striving to eliminate waste: just see Kellogg’s partnering with a UK brewery to turn rejected cereals into beer, or this US startup turning unserved restaurant food into frozen meals. And biowaste isn’t just a useful raw material in the F&B industry. We’ve seen temple flowers turned into paint in Sri Lanka; food waste used to dye clothes in Hong Kong and organic waste turned into luxury perfume in France! All this should prompt a question: what waste byproducts (material and otherwise!) does your process create? How can you find a way to put that waste to good use?
Everybody pivots. At the heart of this innovation is changing consumer attitudes to sugar, and Nestlé’s efforts to reinvent itself around that shift. Nestlé sold their US confectionary business back in 2018, and have been trialling a DNA-based health foods service in Japan. And they’re not the only F&B giant to start reimagining their offering around the megatrend towards wellness; just look at Burger King and their new partnership with the meat-free Impossible Burger. The underlying lesson here applies to any industry: when a powerful, decade-on-decade megatrend runs counter to your business or brand proposition, you can’t ignore it. Instead, find a way to reimagine what you do and offer customers truly new options.