Partnership anchors chocolate research & development in Belgium

(18-05-2021) Sparkalis, the corporate venture arm of the Puratos Group, partners with Ghent University spin-off Cacaolab to create an International Open Innovation Center for cocoa- and chocolate-related research & development.

With Sparkalis’ focus on sustainability and Cacaolab being at the forefront of cocoa and chocolate related research, together they want to accelerate science and technology developments in the chocolate field, resulting in a more sustainable cocoa processing, as well as a redefined standard for chocolate taste. Cacaolab will host this International Open Innovation Center (the OIC) where all stakeholders can meet and co-create. Chocolade.PNG

The OIC acts as an innovative ecosystem that facilitates the development of novel procedures and products for sustainable cocoa and chocolate processing, as well as inspires the next generation of talent. With external and internal resources the center wants to explore new technologies and innovations, develop innovative ideas co-creation and set up partnerships (from ingredient suppliers, equipment suppliers, chocolate producers, startups, SME’s and inventors to universities, research institutes and students). As an open institute with a broad network, the OIC wants to create synergies between people with different skills, knowledge and expertise.

The OIC will extend its pilot-scale installations, training facilities and build on its analytical equipment, a sensory lab, etc. in order to enable physical testing, co-creation, as well as delivering services with technical support. In addition, data mining and artificial intelligence are being explored. The training offer is extended with MOOC’s (massive open online courses) and online conferences. Online challenges (e.g. idea generation/hackathon/crowd ideation & solutions) will be facilitated by a virtual platform.

“Cacaolab will continue to offer its R&D services on a bilateral and confidential basis to many clients all over the globe helping them to innovate their products and production processes. Because we are also strong believers in open innovation and co-creation, we are very happy to have found in Sparkalis a partner to make this Open Innovation Center happen." Koen Dewettinck, Senior Full Professor at Ghent University, Founder and CEO at Ghent University’s spin-off Cacaolab
“Cacaolab is already at the forefront of cacao and chocolate related research. It has an international reputation on the quality of its research, as well as the educational projects that prepare young scientist to innovate. We want to help them grow and create critical mass on science and technology in the cocoa and chocolate fields." Filip Arnaut, Managing Partner of Sparkalis and R&D Director at Puratos Cacaolab.jpg

About Cacaolab

The Food Structure & Function Research Group of Ghent University, led by Professor Koen Dewettinck, has become internationally recognized in the area of chocolate science and technology. This resulted in the creation of a UGent science-based spin-off company Cacaolab in 2012. Cacaolab focusses on ‘Innovation and training from bean to praline’ by translating fundamental science into practical solutions and applications for its customers in the chocolate manufacturing and processing industry, B2B ingredient manufacturers as well as processing equipment manufacturers.

Cacaolab contact

Relevant information can be found on Cacaolab’s website:
Email: (General Manager)

About Sparkalis

Sparkalis is a corporate venture arm of the Puratos Group, the global leader in the B2B bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors. Sparkalis' mission is to work with start-up founders, innovative and business-driven entrepreneurs to transform exciting ideas into successful business reality. Sparkalis is committed to investing in innovative technologies to create, with future partners, a healthier and better ‘food print’ for today’s and tomorrow’s generations around the world.

Sparkalis contact
All interested innovators can find all relevant information on Sparkalis’ website:

About Puratos

Puratos is an international group, which offers a full range of innovative ingredients and services for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate industry. It serve artisans, industrials, retailers and food service companies in over 100 countries around the world. Puratos’ headquarter is located in Belgium, where the company was founded in 1919. Above all, Puratos aims to be ‘a reliable partner in innovation’ across the globe to help their customers deliver nutritious, tasty food to their local communities, today and tomorrow.

Press Contact - Puratos Group
+32 2 737 95 33
Puratos NV/SA Industrialaan 25, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium