A team of OSU Food Science students recently won the Product Development Competition at the 2010 meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists for their creation of Coccobello, a gluten-free mini-cannoli.
Coccobello is a crunchy mini-cannoli coated in rich dark chocolate, dashed with toasted coconut and filled with a light, smooth lime mousse. Coccobello’s unique texture, flavor and look will address a need for gluten-free treats. Coccobello is distinct from other gluten-free snacks as it delivers a unique look, a texture contrast (crunchy on the outside, soft and mousse-like in the inside) and flavor contrast (chocolate on the outside, lime in the inside). Coccobello also delivers nutrients that are usually deficient in gluten-free diets (fiber, B vitamins). Coccobello, including the filling, is shelf-stable, not requiring refrigeration. The final formulation for Coccobello was optimized by the OSU Food Science team over the course of over seven months.
A serving size of Coccobello (3 mini-cannolis) contains 118 calories, 9.6 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 g sugars, and 36 mg sodium.
Dark chocolate (55% cocoa: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, natural vanilla flavor. Emulsifier: soy lecithin), white sugar, roasted coconut, light corn syrup, brown rice flour, whole egg, brown rice fiber, cocoa butter, egg white, coconut oil, potato starch, egg white powder, lime juice powder (corn sugar, lime juice, citric acid), lime oil, citric acid, vanilla extract, salt, cream of tartar, xanthan gum.
Specific formulation of the gluten-free shell, outer coating, and filling are available upon request.
Sensory testing was performed to optimize the lime flavor and acceptability of chocolate coating.
Several storage studies were performed to determine the physical and microbial stability of Coccobello upon storage at room temperature. Coccobello was found to maintain the desired crunchiness during storage. Water activity and microbial load of Coccobello were monitored during a 25-day storage period. There was no change in water activity over the course of the storage period for the finished product or any of the components. Microbial counts remained below the detection limit over the course of the study.
A cost analysis of Coccobello production indicates that it will become profitable for the manufacturer in Year 2 and that a retail price of $3.50 will be able to provide a mark-up of 56% and 35%, to the processor and retailer, respectively.
Additional nutritional information, sensory testing data, cost analyses, packaging, storage, and processing information are available upon request.
Coccobello’s primary target market is the 12% of the US population currently seeking gluten-free products, and their family members and friends (Baking Business 2009). From 2004 to 2008, the gluten-free market grew at an annual rate of 28% to $1.6 billion and is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2012 (Foodnavigator-usa 2009). This growth is driven by three key factors: better diagnosis of celiac disease, increased demand for gluten-free products, and entire families frequently adopting gluten-free diets after a family member is diagnosed with celiac disease.
Key unmet needs in the gluten-free market include textural contrasts and indulgent flavors (Foodnavigator-usa 2009). These issues are driven by ingredient constraints in a gluten-free products and an absence of innovative products. Typical gluten-free cookies are simply gluten-free versions of cookies consumers are already familiar with. Coccobello offers texture contrast, specifically crunchiness in the shell, and gourmet, indulgent-looking product that stands out from standard gluten-free cookies.
These characteristics place Coccobello in direct competition with the higher-end gluten-free products. The primary competitors in this segment are Glutino and Schar. Glutino offers a line of gluten-free cookies and candy bars, which are priced at $3.99 per 4.6 oz. package ($0.87/oz.). Schar chocolate hazelnut bars, sell at $1.19/oz., and represents the most comparable gluten-free cookie to Coccobello. Cococobello will stand apart from these offerings due to its innovative shape, flavor combination, and texture contrast. Pricing of Coccobello at $3.50 per 3.76 oz. package ($0.93/oz.) would be in line with competitors price points.