German chocolate producer Herza Schokolade has introduced micro-size chocolate pieces to its product portfolio.

The firm said that, in Germany and across Europe, the per capita consumption of chocolate is 8-9kg a year. The firm is now offering its specialities in micro-sizes, which sales director Carsten Braumann said can help keep costs down, as well as meeting current demand from manufacturers.

"Industrial manufacturers are showing tremendous interest in micro-size pieces, because they are always on the look-out for ideas for new products that will entice consumers to buy. A further factor is the cost: chocolate is very expensive at the moment. The micro-size pieces enable manufacturers to offer products containing chocolate without unduly increasing the production costs," he explained.

Herza said that as the tiny pieces are widely dispersed, it gives the end-product a chocolatey appearance although less raw material has been used. The firm has invested in special cutting equipment to produce the little square micro-slivers and micro-drops, which come in white, milk or dark chocolate varieties. There is a coated version, which enables the slivers to be used as taste carriers by adding special flavouring components, such as coffee or fruit, to the coating.

The chocolate pieces are bake-stable, abrasion-resistant and capable of deep-freezing.