Barry Callebaut now has its first cocoa pilot plant in North America.
The company has opened an expansion of it cocoa products factory in Eddystone, PA., and it features a new research and development laboratory as well as a cocoa pilot plant.
The company says the pilot plant is a scaled-down cocoa products factory that mimics the production processes that occur on full-scale product lines in the factory.
It will allow Barry Callebaut to produce cocoa liquor, cocoa powder and cocoa butter from any cocoa bean blend in small batches as well as test new products and raw ingredients prior to producing them on a mass scale.
“With this new applications laboratory and pilot plant, we will be able to create truly unique cocoa products customized specifically to meet our food manufacturing customer's’ needs in terms of color, flavor and performance attributes,” says Hans Vriens, Barry Callebaut’s chief innovation officer.
Before the expansion, the company only did pilot-scale R&D work for cocoa in France. “We will now perform R&D services closer to our North American customers and offer better and faster services,” says Mark Adriaenssens, Barry Callebaut’s R&D Director for the Americas region.
The new plant will feature a variety of of equipment, including:
  • a winnower, which dehulls and winnows cocoa beans
  • nib and cake alkalizer, which neutralizes acidic components in the cocoa
  • nib roaster, which roasts the bits of the cocoa beans that have been separated from their hulls
  • cocoa liquor grinding line, which grinds the roasted cocoa nibs into a fine paste
  • cocoa press, which separates the cocoa paste into liquid cocoa butter and solid cocoa cakes
  • cocoa powder mill, which processes the solid cocoa into a powder
The applications lab also features an automatic cutter, giving Barry Callebaut’s R&D team new production capabilities for developing syrups, sauces, fillings, and ice cream-based applications.
In addition to the new Eddystone laboratory and pilot plant dedicated to innovation in the area of cocoa, Barry Callebaut operates similar facilities focused on the development of chocolate products and applications in Pennsauken, N.J.; St. Hyacinthe, Quebec; Monterrey, Mexico; and Ilhéus, Brazil.
“With our expanded network of research and development facilities in the Americas region, our customers can now more than ever customize their products from the bean to the bar, giving them a distinct advantage over their competitors,” says Adriaenssens.
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