Barry Callebaut introduces sensory language

January 29, 2018

Unraveling the taste of chocolate

  • Inspired by wine, coffee and craft beer categories, Barry Callebaut introduces a sensory language and tasting ritual for chocolate

  • The chocolate sensory language is based on the new book ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate’, written by scientists from Barry Callebaut and Givaudan, the leading global flavor house

  • The chocolate sensory language and tasting ritual enable brands and artisans to help consumers appreciate chocolate even more than they do today

Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, today introduced a sensory language and tasting ritual that will help chocolate professionals and consumers to understand and express the richness of chocolate taste. Cocoa and chocolate sensory scientists from Barry Callebaut and the leading global flavor house Givaudan did extensive research to develop a chocolate sensory language and tasting ritual, inspired by what has already been created for wine, coffee and craft beer categories. The chocolate sensory language finds its foundation in the book ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate. A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals’ presented today at the ISM fair in Cologne.

We live taste - Barry Callebaut - Key Visual

Satisfying consumer curiosity about chocolate

Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Quality & Sustainability Officer of the Barry Callebaut Group said: “More and more consumers, and especially millennial foodies, share their experiences on social media. They are increasingly curious about food and taste. But while wine, coffee and craft beer could already be tasted, described and discussed in a rigorous and professional way, we lacked a language that did justice to the richness and complexity of chocolate experiences. Containing over 20,000 identifiable chemical compounds, cocoa is one of the most complex foodstuffs on earth. The sensory language that we have developed for chocolate, will allow consumers to share their passion for a specific chocolate taste much more accurately”.

Barry Callebaut's Chocolate Sensory Wheel

Barry Callebaut developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel with 87 descriptors, covering the flavor, texture and aroma of chocolate. 

Pairing cocoa and chocolate sensory research with consumer understanding, Barry Callebaut developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel with 87 descriptors, covering the flavor, texture and aroma of chocolate. A Chocolate Tasting Ritual requires the five senses - sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste - and enables chocolate professionals and consumers to discover new dimensions of chocolate experience and appreciate chocolate even more.

The science behind the unraveling of the taste of chocolate

The book ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate. A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals’ is the first science-based publication on how to create a sensory language for the chocolate industry. Cocoa and chocolate sensory scientists worked for two years on this chocolate language. The book features molecular insights into the compounds related to each flavor you can find in chocolate and contains a science-based categorization of taste, various aromas, as well as trigeminal sensations – such as the coolness of mint or the tingling of sparkling water –  and atypical flavors.

Renata Januszewska, author of the book and Global R&D Sensory Methodologies Manager at Barry Callebaut, said:  “The book’s ambition is to help switching from an often ‘subconscious/emotional’ to a more ‘conscious/analytical’ approach in the complex world of cocoa and chocolate. Having a shared language will not only enable brands to discuss their chocolate with consumers and describe its uniqueness to them, it will also offer them the means to come up with even better tasting experiences and new taste and food pairing combinations.

The book ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate. A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals’ has been reviewed by external reviewers and is distributed by academic publisher Elsevier. It is presented for the first time during the ISM trade fair in Cologne and will be available as of February 2018.

Author Renata Januszewska, Ph.D. in Applied Biological Sciences, was supported by the leading global flavor house Givaudan and Barry Callebaut’s team of cocoa and chocolate scientists, amongst them Global Sensory Lead Frédéric Depypere (Ph.D. in Applied Biological Sciences and author of about 50 scientific articles and book contributions), GC-MS Specialist Isabelle Van Leuven (Ph.D. in Bioengineering, who has more than 20 years of expertise in aroma research of different food matrices) and Consumer Market Insight Manager Karin Loobuyck.

About Barry Callebaut Group:
With annual sales of about CHF 6.8 billion (EUR 6.3 billion / USD 6.9 billion) in fiscal year 2016/17, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds. The Group runs close to 60 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of about 11,000 people.
The Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.
The Barry Callebaut Group is committed to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmers’ livelihoods. It supports the Cocoa Horizons Foundation in its goal to shape a sustainable cocoa and chocolate future.