Leading chocolate companies are introducing unique flavor options and new products that cater to specific dietary needs.

Valrhona is expanding its Inspiration range by introducing a new flavor, yuzu, to the North America market. Yuzu gets its highly concentrated, vibrant natural flavor and color from yuzu juice. It is natural and preservative free, in addition to being naturally dairy and gluten free.

Per Se, Jean Georges, Dominique Ansel and Craftsman and Wolves are just a few names of establishments that have used Valrhona Inspiration to offer innovative creations to customers, according to Valrhona.

Yuzu is a unique fruit with a naturally sweet, tangy flavor and a hint of bitterness that blends perfectly with other ingredients, such as dark chocolate, coconut and aromatic herbs.

Bensdorp, the premium cocoa brand of Barry Callebaut, introduces Natural Dark, a 100% natural and flavorful dark cocoa powder with a superior taste experience. It enables food manufacturers to deliver a rich and chocolaty flavor in all major applications, while offering a clean label.

The taste palate is a mix of roasted cocoa, spices and a hint of dried fruits, giving way to warm notes that blend well with toasted aromas, such as coffee or pecan nuts. Bursting with a rich, chocolaty flavor and premium dark brown color, Natural Dark can be used in a much wider range of applications than other natural cocoa powders, according to Barry Callebaut.

Bensdorp Natural Dark cocoa powder is being launched at a time when health-focused consumers are increasingly seeking out premium products that are tasty and have a short, recognizable ingredient list. Bensdorp Natural Dark cocoa powder’s alkali-free processing hits all the right notes on rich flavor and the deep, dark color consumers prefer, while retaining its 100% natural credentials.

“We are delighted to introduce Natural Dark after years of development and continuous improvements,” says Steven Retzlaff, president, Global Cocoa at Barry Callebaut Group. “Our biggest challenge was to create a cocoa powder that not only delivers a natural dark brown color but brings a rich, chocolaty flavor that our customers can confidently use across all major applications.”

Guittard Chocolate, a family company in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1868, recently announced that its manufacturing facility is now tree nut free. Guittard’s tree nut free certification joins the company’s existing Cultivate Better commitments including non-GMO, peanut free, gluten free, sunflower lecithin and Fair Trade Certified. The tree nut free claim applies to Guittard Chocolate products produced after July 31, 2018.

“At Guittard, we’re constantly striving to produce the best quality chocolate. This touches every level of what we do — from partnering with cacao farmers at origin to pushing innovation at our manufacturing facility to celebrating our chef and retail customers,” says Gary Guittard. “Being tree nut free represents our ongoing commitment to improving our product by making it as allergen-friendly as possible.”