East meets West: ofi uses artificial intelligence to predict the regional cocoa flavors about to go global



olam food ingredients (ofi) predicts a greater fusion of Eastern and Western flavors in confectionery, bakery, beverages, and snacks, after combining the insights of its innovation experts in key regional markets and AI-powered researchto identify the next big cocoa flavor trends.


The research – which used predictive analytics to scan online recipes, restaurant menus and e-commerce sites for budding trends before they hit the mainstream – found Asian flavors like dragon fruit, sesame, yuzu, lychee and miso are taking off in the US and Europe, while Western flavors like butterscotch, marshmallow, salted caramel and cookies & cream are becoming more popular in South Asian countries, including Indonesia and India. ofi’s ingredients innovation experts have turned these trends into adventurous cocoa pairings and dishes we could see on menus or in stores soon.


1 Ai Palette 

Edward Norder, Head of EMENA Innovation, ofi, commented: 

“Increasing globalization means flavor trends are crossing borders faster than ever. And thanks to social media, a local craze can turn into a worldwide phenomenon overnight. This is a big opportunity for food and beverage companies to get ahead, but first they need to be able to pair the right flavors and translate emerging trends into great-tasting products in the development kitchen.


That’s why we have created new cocoa pairings and innovative concepts inspired by this ‘East meets West’ trend. From chocolate-coated dragon fruit ice cream and a yuzu-infused chocolate panna cotta for the US, to a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert for Germany, and a black forest and cocoa flavored frappe-style drink for Indonesia.

Choosing the right cocoa powder is a powerful tool for helping manufacturers win on taste. So, we hope what we’re sharing today will inspire our customers to look again at cocoa as a pairing for fresh, on-trend flavor combinations and applications that will surprise and delight consumers around the globe. Thanks to our network of Customer Solutions Centers, we’re well placed to support customers with ingredients that can be sustainable and traceable and to test whether these new concepts can be commercialized at scale.“


The top flavor trends by geography are:



  • Dragon Fruit – starting to trend in the UK in bakery. The punchy flavor pairs perfectly with deZaan’s N11N cocoa powder in pastries or N21N cocoa powder in ice cream or sorbet.
  • Sesame – becoming popular in bakery in France, this flavor pairs excellently with deZaan’s D11S – a deep intense cocoa flavor – in a chocolate banana brioche.
  • Chilli – emerging particularly in German confectionery, for example a chocolate bar. It also works with deZaan’s TrueDark – a rich natural cocoa powder with notes of nuts and fruits – in a chipotle chili, lime and passionfruit dessert.



  • Lychee – growing in popularity in the bakery category, it pairs well with deZaan’s D23A cocoa powder – a full chocolatey taste and creamy texture – in a rich pastry filling.
  • Yuzu – also booming in the bakery space, this works excellently with deZaan’s N11N – a well-rounded cocoa powder with delicate fruity notes in a chocolate crumb cake with a yuzu curd, or in a panna cotta.
  • Miso – emerging in confectionery, this pairs with deZaan’s D21CM, with notes of chocolate, nuts and caramel, in chocolate fudge.



  • Marshmallow – on the rise in confectionery in Indonesia. This flavor pairs well with deZaan’s 254DP11 – a premium cocoa powder with an intense cocoa flavor in a nougat or in a S’mores-style breakfast cereal.
  • Black Forest – also growing in popularity in Indonesian beverages. This punchy flavor blends perfectly in a frappe-style drink with deZaan’s 350DP11 – with a rich and full-bodied chocolate taste.
  • Cookies and Cream – an emerging trend in India in confectionery, this classic sweet flavor combination is the perfect match for deZaan’s H910N, in ice cream, confectionery, and frappes.


Visit ofi’s interactive flavor map for more insights into the research and to delve into the full collection of cocoa pairings and applications.

About ofi

olam food ingredients (“ofi”) is a new operating group born out of Olam. ofi offers sustainable, natural, value-added food products and ingredients so that consumers can enjoy the healthy and indulgent products they love. It consists of industry-leading businesses of cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts, and spices. ofi has built a unique global value chain presence, including its own farming operations, farm-gate origination, and manufacturing facilities. ofi partners with customers, leveraging its complementary and differentiated portfolio of ‘on-trend’ food products, to co-create solutions that anticipate and meet changing consumer preferences as demand increases for healthier food that’s traceable and sustainable. To subscribe to the ofi newsroom and for more information on ofi please visit www.ofi.com. Follow @ofi-group


About ofi Cocoa

ofi Cocoa, part of olam food ingredients (ofi), is a supplier of cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients (cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa liquor) and ranks amongst the top three processors worldwide. As part of its sustainability ambition, Cocoa Compass it has achieved 100% traceability of its global, direct origination cocoa supply chain. ofi Cocoa sources from all major origins across Africa, Asia and South America, and has a cocoa processing, milling and refining presence in, or adjacent to, primary consumption markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Supplying to over 2,000 customers globally, ofi Cocoa is a close collaborative partner in their innovation and product development programs. Its portfolio of ingredient brands is led by deZaan, with its heritage of more than 100 years of excellence, as well as specialty cocoa brand Twenty Degrees, African origin brand Unicao, South American origin brand Joanes, the regional Macao and Huysman cocoa powder brands, BT Cocoa in Indonesia, and Britannia confectionery and specialty fats brand.

Contacts for ofi cocoa communications

Emma Blinkhorn

Global Head of Cocoa Public Relations, ofi


+44 (0)7774334735 / +442074848933

Issued on behalf of ofi by Teneo

+44 20 7260 2700