NEW YORK — Blue Stripes Urban Cacao, a Hershey-backed developer of cacao-based food and beverage products, is launching more than a dozen items at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide, marking its first significant retail expansion since its direct-to-consumer debut less than two years ago.
A self-described “Columbus of cacao,” Israel native-turned-New Yorker Oded Brenner has spent the past few years discovering new applications for the oft-underutilized fruit, much of which typically is discarded in cocoa production. Product development explores the potential of the three components of the fruit: the shell or husk, the fruity white pulp and the beans. The brand is recognized by the Upcycled Food Association for its efforts in minimizing waste.
Products set to appear on Whole Foods shelves include cacao fruit smoothies, dried cacao fruit, whole cacao trail mix and whole cacao granola in dark chocolate, maple pecan and peanut butter banana flavors. The granola and trail mix products incorporate the shell, fruit and beans of the cacao pod. Launching in July, line of cacao water, an antioxidant-rich, plant-based beverage formulated with cacao fruit pulp, will include two exclusive varieties, mango and vanilla, alongside existing flavors chili lime and cardamom and just cacao, plus a new passion fruit offering.“We are thrilled to have a partner like Whole Foods that supports our meaningful mission to change the cacao and chocolate industry for generations to come and bring consumers,” Mr. Brenner said. “Upcycling ingredients is not just a way of bringing delicious products to consumers but is also our duty to Mother Nature.”