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Valrhona cooperated with Koa to create Oabika, the new cocoa fruit juice concentrate for chefs and other gastronomy professionals. The flavourful ingredient delivers a new experience with a smooth texture and a unique taste. Oabika is an impactful innovation for the gastronomy with a sustainable vision.

After several months of research and development, Oabika was born. French premium chocolate manufacturer Valrhona has launched the new cocoa fruit ingredient in cooperation with Swiss-Ghanaian start-up Koa. Oabika is the very first cocoa fruit juice concentrate at 72° Brix* created especially for the food service. It has the highest concentration on the food service market providing a silky consistency and an amber-coloured appearance. Besides its fruity and tangy flavour, Oabika surprises through its candied, honey-like notes.

Frédéric Bau, pastry explorer at Maison Valrhona, and Victor Delpierre, drink expert and gastronomy consultant, describe Oabika as a “complete and playful experience.” They both state that “Oabika is a magical ingredient that highlights, enhances and balances tastes. It represents an exceptional moment in time, deliciously refreshing, which takes you on a journey deep inside the pod to the heart of a cocoa plantation.”

After Koa’s success with their cocoa fruit juice and dried cocoa fruit, the new concentrate elaborated by Valrhona together with Koa is an innovation that complements the range of cocoa fruit ingredients. Oabika offers a multitude of applications such as ganache, jellies, mousses, toppings, sauces, glazes, creams, ice creams, sorbets, or drinks. Whether it’s to create new flavour experiences or to demonstrate what sustainable value creation in the cocoa-growing countries really means.

Upcycling the cocoa fruit to increase farmers’ income

The availability of cocoa fruit concentrate for chefs and other gastronomy professionals signifies a milestone for the cocoa fruit valorisation and the cocoa farmers. As the demand for cocoa fruit ingredients grows rapidly, the chances to create a positive impact in the cocoa-growing countries increases at the same time. Until recently, the pulp that surrounds the cocoa beans couldn’t be processed in cocoa-growing countries due to a lack of infrastructure and technology. In conventional cocoa processing, only a small part of the white pulp was used for fermentation, the rest was lost. Koa has found an innovative way to gently process the cocoa fruit in close cooperation with 1,600 smallholders. “As we make use of the cocoa pulp, we provide smallholders with an additional income and at the same time, we create jobs for the young population in rural Ghana,” Daniel Otu, Operations Director at Koa in Ghana, explains.

For Koa, the cooperation with Valrhona is a success. Co-Founder and Managing Director Anian Schreiber emphasises: “As a start-up, we’re proud to be cooperating with a highly reputable and well-established chocolate brand as Valrhona who shares our mission of taking responsibility in cocoa-growing countries to the next level. With the launch of Oabika, we demonstrate how indulgence and responsibility for people and planet go hand in hand. We encourage others to seek such partnerships to tackle some of the food system’s most pressing challenges together.”

Oabika has been launched worldwide in September 2021 including Europe, Asia, USA and Middle East.

*The Brix scale is used to measure the fraction of sucrose in a liquid in degrees Brix, meaning the percentage of soluble, dry matter. The higher the degree Brix, the sweeter the sample, with more concentrated flavours.