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Optimised use of cacao flesh

Centre for Sustainability and Energy

Cacao fruits are generally harvested only for their beans, which are used to make high-value products such as chocolate. When the cacao beans are fermented, the tasty cacao pulp (the surrounding fleshy fruit) is separated off in liquid form using microbial enzymes and discarded as a waste product instead of being used for human consumption.

A project is underway to use part of the pulp (either removed mechanically before fermentation or drained off during fermentation as “sweatings”) for other products in order to generate an extra source of income for cacao farmers, while avoiding any negative impact on the fermentation process itself in order to maintain the required quality standards.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Microbiology at the Institute of Food and Beverage Innovation, and an initial pilot phase involved several student theses researched in both Switzerland and Honduras.