ZDS - Zentralfachschule der Deutschen Süßwarenwirtschaft e. V.
Two ZDS conventions with transfer of know-how galore
Interesting information was offered during SweetTec and Inter-Praline 2017, two conventions which were hosted by ZDS – Zentralfachschule der Deutschen Süßwarenwirtschaft in Solingen/Germany. Its foyer provided a platform for businesses such as commodity, component or machine suppliers as well as scientific institutions to present themselves.
The international confectionery convention SweetTec was all focused around the latest topic of reducing sugar, together with new trends in sweeteners for confectionery products. Sugar reduction has whipped up a bit of a controversy, based on the discussions over a sugar tax in some European countries.
Rainer Engler of ADM Wild Europe and Bart Cortebeeck of Cargill gave a joint talk on trends in the segment of low-sugar products and natural sweeteners, pointing out that manufacturers do react to the pressure coming from governments and consumers towards offering more wholesome food. With medical conditions such as diabetes on the rise, there is a definite need for action. Having said that, taking sugar, and hence the caloric value, out of confectionery products is no mean feat without impinging on properties such as sweetness, texture, and mouthfeel. Argues Rainer Engler, “What’s more, the production process may be plagued by technical problems, too, for example during sugarcoating or polishing,” continuing that “the shelf life of the products may diminish as well.” While natural, sustainable alternatives which are seen
as positive, such as honey, fruit juice concentrates and maple syrup, are available, they offer no advantages in terms of caloric value.
Nutritionist Dr Sabine Poschwatta-Rupp has looked into new developments in the segment of sweeteners, which can be broken down into artificial sweetening agents (including saccharin and aspartame) and sugar substitutes (like sorbitol and maltitol). Discussing first different types of sugar such as glucose and fructose and their natural origins, she then proceeded to elaborate on their negative and positive impact on the human body. For example, fructose increases the appetite and curbs lipid catabolism while tagatose, which is related to fructose, is suitable even for diabetes sufferers because of its slow action. Tagatose, as well as a number of other sugar types and particular sweeteners (e. g. maltitol), have a favourable effect on the intestinal flora and consequently on immune defence and metabolic regulation. No-calorie sweeteners, in this aspect, seem to have an unfavourable effect, if anything, or none at all.
Farmers play an important role for excellent cocoa
The biennial Inter-Praline convention has been known for years as a high-calibre meeting focused on all things around pralines and chocolate. This year’s issue offered a range of events with experts sharing insights into latest trends in commodities, markets, engineering, processes and packaging, to name a few.
Among the experts was Oliver Coppeneur, chocolate maker and managing director of Confiserie Coppeneur et Compagnon in Bad Honnef / Germany. Giving a spirited talk titled “Farm to bar” that dealt with authentic roots chocolate, he stressed that the first thing when it comes to chocolate making is to find “excellent cocoa”, which, aside from factors like species and place of origin, is all about the farmer’s role and the method of production. As with wine, what is of critical importance here is the “terroir”, in other words, the locational factors: “Cocoa has a preference for deep-green, nutrient rich soil,” explained Oliver Coppeneur. “Also, farmers must make sure that the cocoa plant gets enough shade.” This is achieved by adding broad-leafed banana trees. It is also crucial to look after the cocoa trees all the time and pick out deficient fruits. Other key factor include the harvest, with a time window as short as ten days, as well as optimized fermentation, drying, and roasting. No “excellent” raw product is going to be obtained unless all these requirements are met.
E-commerce is a genuine future trend
The ever-current topic of palm oil was addressed by food engineer Melanie Klasen, who works for the German oil and fat specialist Walter Rau. It‘s not by chance that palm oil, or more precisely, palm fat, has the largest share in the oil market with a whopping 40 %. “It is relatively productive, inexpensive, and useful in a variety of applications.” On the other hand, it contains a lot of harmful contaminants including 3-MCPD esters (nephrotoxic) and GE (genotoxic and carcinogenic).
The compounds are created during the essential refining process out of precursor substances present in the palm oil, such as chlorine and diglycerides, which may be introduced by plant protection agents amongst other things. There are three – yet rather expensive – ways to decrease contamination: producing raw oil which is lower in contaminants, modifying the refining steps, and post-refinery treatment.
In her talk, product developer Susan Weißflog of Chocri, a Berlin-based chocolate manufacturer with online shop, addressed the question as to whether e-commerce in the praline market is just another hype or a genuine future trend. She pointed out that customers may be won over, in the age of all-encompassing digitalisation, by following a sound digital strategy and offering a 24 / 7 online range that appeals to emotion. Leveraging a modular product configurator to individualize the mass production of chocolate products holds a lot of promise: for instance, a “chocolatey” product of one’s own making may be rounded out by a personalized (gift) wrap. This benefits vendors in that customer information collected via product tests or surveys for example may be used to develop new products, inter alia.
By harnessing social media, e. g. via “recommendations” made by “influencers”, including bloggers, it is possible to give products a wider reach and win over new customers: The fact that “likes” can be turned into “buys” helps making e-commerce a true future trend.
The Inter-Praline also saw a piece of machinery being handed over to the ZDS: Managing director for Hamburg Dresdner Maschinenfabriken (HDM), Wolfgang Pförsich, consigned a 20 kg laboratory refiner / conche of the type MacIntyre 20 to Andreas Bertram, managing board member for ZDS. The universal system is designed for the fabrication of high-quality chocolate and fatty masses. It mixes the product, which is then refined by the rotating grinding assembly between the surfaces of the rotating bars and the bars in the lined cylinder. The process allows for particle sizes between 15 and 18 µm and optimized flavour development. Details on the HDM and MacIntyre systems are to be had at ProSweets Cologne trade show (hall 10.1, stand D 81).
Additional equipment was handed over by Aasted (Nilshot depositor), Tecno (Multiprocess C mini-line for low-volume chocolate production) and d3 technology (3D printer to create moulds for small batches of chocolate products). •