Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, today announced the launch of a new lactose-free milk chocolate first to be sold in the company's Region Europe. The new chocolate differs from existing offerings by using a special skimmed milk powder with the lowest lactose content available on the market. With this particular powder, Barry Callebaut can allow higher amounts of milk powder in its recipe which preserves all the goodness from the milk- resulting in a similar taste as regular milk chocolate.
For the production of this new lactose-free milk chocolate, special measures including additional and specific cleaning of the production lines were taken in order to eliminate the risk of any lactose contamination during the production process.
Today, many people suffer from lactose intolerance - according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) up to 70% of adults worldwide are affected*. This makes them unable to consume milk-based products. Lactose accounts for about 5% of whole milk and is found in most fresh dairy products. Lactose intolerant people do not have a sufficient amount of the lactase enzyme, which normally splits lactose into 2 moieties: glucose and galactose before absorption. Due to the absence of this enzyme, lactose enters into the large intestine, where bacteria begin a fermentation process. As a consequence of this fermentation, the lactose intolerant person will suffer from side effects including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea or nausea.
At the moment, the most important markets for lactose-free food products are Germany, Austria, the UK and the Scandinavian markets (mainly Finland), despite the fact that less than 20% of the population in these countries is lactose-intolerant*.
The frequency of lactose-intolerance is much higher in Southern European countries, Africa and Asia. This discrepancy promises a significant potential for the lactose-free food industry in those regions.
With annual sales of about CHF 4.6 billion (EUR 3.6 billion/USD 5.0 billion) for fiscal year 2010/11, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate - from the cocoa bean to the finished chocolate product. Barry Callebaut is present in 27 countries, operates around 40 production facilities and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of about 6,000 people. Barry Callebaut serves the entire food industry focusing on industrial food manufacturers, artisans and professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), the latter with its two global brands Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®. Barry Callebaut is the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations and provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing. Cost leadership is another important reason why global as well as local food manufacturers work together with Barry Callebaut. Through its broad range of sustainability initiatives and research activities, the company works with farmers, farmer organizations and other partners to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods.