Clean label special feature

Olam’s deZaan TrueDark cocoa ticks all the clean label boxes

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Clean label Cocoa

To meet demands of customers increasingly looking for low sugar and clean label products, cocoa companies are meeting the trend for darker chocolate flavours using natural ingredients. Charlene Zhu, head of ingredient development and innovation for Olam Cocoa in Asia, talks us through some of the benefits of TrueDark Cocoa, and explains why it is also becoming popular in the APAC region.

Natural cocoa powder

To meet the demands of health and wellness trends, Olam Cocoa has created deZaan TrueDark (N11D) cocoa powder, the first natural dark, non-alkalised (or non-‘Dutched’) cocoa powder.

TrueDark can replace the alkalised powders typically found in bakery, biscuit, ice cream and dessert applications and consequently, can be labelled as ‘cocoa’ on ingredient labels, rather than ‘cocoa processed with alkali’.

Olam Cocoa’s research reveals that demand for cocoa powder in Asia was set to increase with a five-year CAGR projection of 8%.

Eating habits

Charlene Zhu, head of ingredient development and innovation for Asia, said the region was on track to become the second largest consumer of cocoa ingredients in the world, thanks to a combination of economic growth and an increase in disposable incomes for young middle-class consumers, which has triggered a shift in lifestyles and eating habits.

We can pinpoint the snacking trend to Asian millennials who are adopting more ‘on the go’ eating habits​,” she said, describing the trend as “wholesome​”.


In the CN video interview, Zhu says that while Olam Cocoa is focussed on innovation from a natural perspective, the company also puts a lot of emphasis on the origin of the product.

Olam Cocoa’s ingredients have a naturally strong flavour and colour impact, reducing the reliance on additives to enhance recipes.

Low sugar products are an area of growth as health concerns around sugar intake become more widely recognised in the region​,” she says.

Our sister title, FoodNavigator-Asia, reported that according ​to Innova Market Research, snack food categories like sweets, biscuits and cookies accounted for 40% of new product developments in Asia last year.

  • Check out the video interview in full.

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