Exclusive interview

Coffee Flour expands footprint into chocolate and baking categories

Coffee Flour's CEO said the product is able to block some of the bitter agents found in chocolate. Pic: Coffee Flour

Coffee Flour, a firm that started with an idea to take advantage of discarded coffee cherry fruit, is vying for health and nutrition-focused investment partners after recently being selected by the Launch Food Program as a 2017 innovator.

“We hope to broaden the remit of the coffee growing community that is engaged in Coffee Flour production in order to expand our environmental and economic impact,” CEO Dan Belliveau said.

As a coffee industry professional, Belliveau said he knew there had to be a better way of dealing with the local ecosystems’ pollution issue caused by leftover coffee cherry pulp and turned the byproduct into a new sustainable source of revenue and nutrition.

Coffee Flour currently works with 14 mills in eight countries and several large corporate customers, such as Google. Its product is available in Sprouts Markets, Marx Pantry and Nuts.com, and is used by several restaurants worldwide, according to the company.

Multifunctional ingredients

The “culinary versatility” of Coffee Flour makes it a good mix for the baking and confectionery categories, Belliveau believed.

“Coffee Flour is high in fiber, protein, potassium, iron and antioxidants, and has a mild, slightly fruity flavor that makes it very easy to incorporate into familiar recipes,” he said.

“Unlike many flours, it can be used on its own as a nutritional booster or combined with other flours to make gluten-free versions of popular foods like bread, pasta and baked goods.”

Enhancing chocolate flavor

As for chocolate products, Belliveau said Coffee Flour will play more of a complementary role as chocolate cannot be made without cacao beans.

“I don’t necessarily view coffee and cacao products as competing so much as complementing each other,” he said.

“We’ve found that coffee cherry fruit highlights and enhances the flavor of cacao.”

“We have also found that Coffee Flour can actually block some of the bitter agents found in chocolate, which may mean that chocolate products that include Coffee Flour can be made with less sugar,” Belliveau added.

In terms of the next biggest development in the premium chocolate space, Belliveau said there will be continuous growth in the dark chocolate bar sectors driven by innovative flavor add-ins.

“Coffee Flour is an ideal add-in for flavor and texture, so I believe this will work to our advantage,” he said.

Expanding customer base

The company is working with manufacturers in the alternative and natural baking products market to develop new offerings.

Belliveau added Coffee Flour also plans to expand sales to the US, Japan and the EU and to cultivate a market for the brand in Brazil this year.

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