India’s CARRA launches a rare plant-based white chocolate bar
Although plant-based chocolates have been around in India for quite some time, the vast majority of them are dark or milk chocolates as they are easier to match in terms of appearance and taste when the dairy component is took of.
“There are very few white chocolate bars that do not contain milk and dairy products in the Indian market because it is not easy to achieve the required color or milky mouthfeel just by using ingredients with herbal base”,CARRA CEO Komal Khosla said FoodNavigator-Asia.
“It took us a long time to discover the taste, to get that creamy, milky taste and texture similar to regular dairy chocolate so that consumers didn’t feel like they were compromising in any way. . This is hugely important because chocolates are very strongly rooted in indulgence, making it all the more crucial to ease the switch to plant-based when it comes to taste.
The company started its plant portfolio with dark chocolates of which it now has 10 SKUs, then milk chocolates with two SKUs and now it has launched its white variant – Lemon and Cranberry.
The hope is that the white chocolate will help it appeal to consumers who have a fondness for white chocolates, and that the milky visual and taste will delight even the most “stubborn” consumers who think dairy products are necessary for get that chocolatey taste.
“Based on the need to facilitate change, we opted for the lemon and cranberry flavor because the fruit goes very well with our white chocolate base, [and] hope it will appeal to even more people,”Khosla added.
“We sell our plant-based chocolates at a price comparable to regular chocolates compared to many other brands that charge extra, but it should be noted that our return costs are actually 5% to 10% more. expensive to manufacture, due to us having to use a lot of fruits, nuts and other plant materials to replace the powdered milk component.
“It’s something we’re working on, to balance the background costs with market prices and the costs of conventional chocolate production, and for that we’re looking at areas like improving our formulations using ingredients such as oats – but the priority will always be to satisfy the taste buds and keep the mouth feeling rich.
CARRA softly launched the white chocolate bar in March 2022 in Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai in India.
Sugar Free and Brand Partnerships
CARRA also offers a sugar-free line, which Khosla says has seen rapid growth due to the growing health and wellness trend.
“Sugar free series is definitely seeing strong month-to-month growth, I would say it’s the hottest upcoming trend in India right now,”she says.
“The health and wellness angle is also the most appealing to consumers, it’s a higher focal point for them and we know we need to push that in order to reach more people and resonate with them.”
The company is also developing a model of working with existing conventional chocolate brands to help them develop more sustainable products.
“This model is something we plan to focus on first in India, where we work closely with other chocolate brands to help them develop their own vegan or sugar-free products,”Khosla said.
“The interest in these brands shows how the trend for healthier products is accelerating in India, how much consumers want gourmet products while being more aware of what they eat.
“Dessert is very important in India after meals, and many consumers just want something that can satisfy their taste buds without making them feel guilty – and plant-based, sugar-free chocolates are able to fill that gap very well.”
When it comes to logistics, Khosla shared that plant-based chocolates face exactly the same challenges as conventional chocolates due to their use of high-quality couverture chocolate (rich in cocoa butter) as a base, which have a similar fat content to regular chocolates and also face risks of melting.
“India is a country with very varied temperatures depending on the city, and it can reach more than 40°C in summer in some places,she says.
“So at the moment the logistical challenges are still there and we are working on that using expedited courier and packing with dry ice from the warehouse, but eventually the hope is to have a warehouse in each city.
“This is also the reason why we are not considering exporting closely yet – before that, we first need to have the right temperature control methods in place.”