Chocolate consumption is constantly increasing, but production is declining. Faced with this problem, companies are interested in alternative lab-based manufacturing methods.
Since 2018, several stakeholders have sounded alarms and predicted a global chocolate shortage, the “chocapocaylpse.” On the one hand, the global market is expanding very rapidly, according to one report, doubling by 2025 and potentially exceeding $ 170 billion by 2025. More than half of the world’s production is consumed in Europe and North America.
Demand is exploding in emerging countries, fascinated by the concept of “coffee culture”. In India, for example, according to an article in The Conversation, chocolate consumption increased by 50% between 2011 and 2016. On the other hand, supply is running short. The crops are suffering from cocoa tree disease and growers are not hesitant to look at other more profitable crops such as rubber and palm oil.
According to WWF, the process of cocoa cultivation causes massive deforestation in West Africa, especially in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, which involves child labor due to dangerous work.
Faced with these threats, some producers are focusing on sustainable development, such as the Mars and Milka brands. But others are looking at more radical alternatives. Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences Zurich (ZHAW) have developed a technique for growing chocolate in the laboratory.
Regine Eibl, a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Zurich (ZHAW), told swissinfo.ch: To make this chocolate, the cocoa beans must first be washed, then sterilized, divided into 4 equal parts with a scalpel, and cultured in a dark place in a 29 ° culture. A crust is formed within 3 weeks.
These calluses are then harvested, placed in flasks and shaken in a bioreactor (a type of large tank). The energy footprint of the manufacturing process has not yet been calculated, but the resulting product can grow indefinitely, making it more environmentally friendly.
Other companies interested in this area include California Cultured, Voyage Foods and Qoa. The Munich-based latter is interested in yeast-based chocolate production and “precision fermentation”. Qoa claims to be able to produce chocolate that is 20% cheaper than traditional chocolate.
However, at this time, none of these companies have announced the release of this type of product to the consumer market, so it is unlikely that you will immediately sample the chocolate grown in the lab.
Is laboratory-grown chocolate the answer to the imminent “chocapocalyspe” — citizens
Source link Is laboratory-grown chocolate the answer to the imminent “chocapocalyspe” — citizens