The common products of the chocolate industry are obtained from cocoa beans that are fermented, dried and roasted after harvesting. However, the cocoa fruit consists of much more than just the beans. Approx. 10% of the pulp and 80% of the cocoa pod. There are already approaches to using the nutrient-rich and aromatic pulp, but these are limited to the local market.
The aim of the CocoaFruit research project is to show ways of utilizing the entire cocoa fruit, in particular the aromatic pulp and the cocoa pod. The thermally and fermentatively preserved pulp could serve as the basis for the development of beverages and fruit preparations. The cocoa pod, on the other hand, could be used as a substrate for the cultivation of mushroom mycelium in order to obtain a protein and fiber-rich food ingredient. In addition, utilization options for cocoa beans apart from chocolate production are evaluated. To preserve the beans’ antioxidant polyphenols, they are pressed while avoiding heat. The natural cocoa butter obtained in this way could be used as a substitute for palm fat or hardened fats.