Ingredient Snapshot: The chocolate experts at Belcolade have “solved the puzzle” of milk-alike plant-based chocolate.
Its latest innovation, Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace, has been hailed as “the best chocolate in the plant-based market,” winning praise from industry experts and customers despite being launched less than two months ago.
This is the industry’s first chocolate that offers an indulgent taste profile and mouthfeel similar to milk chocolate while being both dairy-free and nut-free, according to Belcolade, the flagship chocolate brand from Puratos. A unique patent-pending product, it achieves superb smoothness, the creaminess of a milk chocolate and balanced sweetness, all without common allergens. Uniquely, Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace is a real Belgian chocolate, thanks to being manufactured at the Belcolade factory in Erembodegem. It is now commercially available.
“Until now, there was a very clear gap in the plant-based chocolate market,” states Youri Dumont, SBU chocolate director at Puratos. “We know the chocolate sector is still driven by many millions of milk chocolate lovers, whose expectations weren’t being adequately met when they looked for plant-based alternatives. So this new product is really about indulging these milk chocolate fans with a really attractive plant-based option. We’re very excited to have solved the puzzle of delicious, allergen-free, plant-based chocolate.”
The creation of Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace was a true co-creation project, involving professional chocolatiers and customers from the outset, alongside Belcolade’s own experts. Its mission was clear: developing a no-compromise, truly indulgent milk-alike chocolate that can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone, including allergy sufferers. The collaboration enabled the team to determine the taste, texture and working behaviour that would best reflect both the needs of professionals and the preferences of consumers. As a result, Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace is highly versatile, suitable for the production of tablets, hollow figures and pralines by chocolatiers. It also has numerous artisan and industrial uses, including mousses, ganaches, coatings and dipping, according to Belcolade.
Feedback from chocolate experts, customers and consumers has been nothing but positive, according to Dumont. One reviewer stated the new product is “the best chocolate I have tasted in the plant-based market” and a second said, “I am really struggling to put into words to describe the little piece of heaven that has just melted in my mouth… I think this is actually the best dairy-free milk chocolate I have ever tasted and ever thought possible.”
The chocolate category is undergoing significant change thanks to global trends like health and well-being. Consumers’ concern about their own personal physical wellness, as well as that of the planet, is fueling plant-based eating habits. Puratos’ own Taste Tomorrow research has found the number of consumers buying plant-based foods has almost doubled (from 35 percent to 60 percent) since 2018, making it the biggest trend in the entire food industry.
Customers seeking plant-based “milk” chocolate inspiration can join live webinars being held on Wednesday, January 12 at 10am CET or 4pm CET (Brussels/Paris). Belcolade’s chocolate expert Michel Eyckerman will create two exceptional confectionery and patisserie recipes based on Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace, and answer viewers’ questions.
For more information about Belcolade Selection M. Plant-Based Cacao-Trace, please contact your local Puratos office.