PE firm savouring success

International acclaim for zero-added sugar chocolate bar

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A Port Elizabeth chocolate manufacturer has started savouring the sweet taste of success with their recently launched zero-added sugar peanut butter bar, after being sampled everywhere from Ibhayi to Dubai.
Global trends towards healthy living have seen food and beverage conglomerates such as Coca Cola and Nestlé introduce a larger variety of reduced-sugar products into the market.
But according to Chris Parkin, managing director at Port Elizabeth-based Coti Chocolate Manufacturers, the chocolate industry offers less choice to the health-conscious consumer.
Responding to the push towards sugar-reduced products, Coti created the world’s first zero-added sugar peanut butter bar, which hit shop shelves late in January.
At the same time, it also created a similar bar with added whey protein.
The bars make the claim of having “zero-added sugar” and not “sugar-free” due to ingredients such as milk containing natural sugars in the form of lactose.
Parkin said the company, established in 2005, had gone through rigorous research and testing processes over a period of seven months, to create the Peanut Butter Max bars which he believes offer an affordable alternative to buyers.
“There are great debates surrounding nutrition these days: you have those who advocate high fat diets while others say carbohydrates are good,” he said.
“So protein is the single macro-nutrient standing tall.
“It is perceived as a very positive ingredient to have.
“We already have a lot of protein bars in SA, but they tend to be aimed more at the gym buffs as opposed to the ordinary consumer.”
Parkin recently travelled to Dubai to introduce the two products to the international market at the Gulfood Trade Show, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade show.
Should Coti gain access to the international market, the company would be faced with a positive challenge in terms of its production capacity, he said.
“We have machinery that we can adapt to increase our production,” Parkin said.
“If we get it right we are going to need more people which, in this country’s context, would be something lovely to do.” Gulfood welcomed more than 98,000 delegates from 193 countries and about 5,000 exhibitors to the 2019 show, which was held between February 17 and 21.
Parkin said hundreds of people sampled the products complimenting their taste and the two bars were equally favoured by the test tasters.
“It was fantastic to expose the product to an international audience,” he said.
“We had people from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Bangladesh, Rwanda and India showing a lot of interest in the products.”
Parkin said the Peanut Butter Max bars were also heat controlled chocolates that melted at about 33°C.
Ordinary chocolate bars or slabs melted at about 24°C, he said.
The purpose of producing a more robust product was to cater for smaller or informal traders who operated without air-conditioning in their stores, Parkin said.
“Chocolate is an impulse buy and we’ve realised that to be successful you need to have something that works in the smaller stores.
“Inside your mouth it’s about 37°C, so you obviously can’t make a product that is totally heat resistant.”

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