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Chocolate Industry Observers Eye Lab-Grown and Single-Origin Products

First there was lab-grown meat. Then, lab-grown dairy came along.

Now, it appears chocolate is next.


California Cultured, the U.S. company making lab-grown chocolate, has raised $4 million in a new financing round, reported Green Queen (Nov. 2). The startup says proceeds will go towards further R&D of its ethical and sustainable cocoa product.

So, what exactly does lab-grown chocolate entail? In a similar fashion to lab-grown meat, the production process includes using cell-based technology to recreate identical cocoa products.

Earlier this year, Green Queen also reported that a team of researchers in Switzerland made chocolate in bioreactors for the first time. Tilo Hühn, a well-known food scientist in the chocolate and wine world, came up with the idea of trying to extract cell cultures from cocoa beans to produce polyphenols, the heart-healthy compound found in dark chocolate.  


While it’s too early to tell whether lab-grown chocolate will catch on in 2022, The Food Institute talked to several industry experts who see single-origin chocolate as a trend for next year:

Jeanyves Verdu & Norman Rice, Founders of Chocolat-e, a gourmet chocolate company producing sustainably sourced, single-origin chocolate:

“One chocolate trend that is starting to catch on is single-origin chocolate…Chocolate from a single origin allows you to appreciate the nuances in flavor. Whether it’s from Madagascar, Brazil, Mexico, or Ecuador, a bite of dark chocolate… will taste completely different from one origin to the next, because the nature of the soil is different.”

Michael Laiskonis, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City:

”I observe a continued increase in single-origin emphasis from both the industrial and specialty chocolate manufacturers – but have also noticed an uptick in added flavors and inclusions, from the familiar to the novel – drawing from on-trend ingredients, health-and-wellness, and nostalgic flavor combinations.”

Tim McCollum, CEO & Founder of Beyond Good, a chocolate and vanilla producer:

“We’re seeing a growing consumer demand for chocolate with differentiated taste experience and for real transparency in the cocoa supply chain. Single-origin chocolate hits both trends. When done well, single-origin chocolate delivers a deeper taste and flavor experience to the consumer. And by its nature, single-origin chocolate provides a level of transparency into the supply chain that consumers want and deserve.”