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Mystery biscuit giant seeks collaborators for melt-free chocolate coating

By Oliver Nieburg+

04-Jul-2013
Last updated the 03-Jul-2013 at 12:43 GMT

An anonymous Fortune 500 packaged foods company is looking for help in creating a chocolate enrobed cookie that can withstand high temperatures in warm climates.

In a request filed through innovation services provider NineSigma, the nameless company is inviting proposals for ingredients or technologies that minimize the melting and softening of chocolate coatings for cookies and wafer baked products at temperatures of 24°C-40°C. They hope the solution will also prevent fat bloom.

Cookie producers in the Fortune 500 include Mondelez, Pepsico, Nestlé, General Mills, Kellogg, Hershey and J.M. Smuckers.

Improving consumer experience in hot climates

“NineSigma’s client produces a range of baked products such as cookies and wafers that are coated with a premium quality chocolate,” reads the request proposal.

“These products are sold in many countries with ambient supply chains or with high daytime temperatures and humidity. Exposure of the products to temperatures above 32°C will result initially in softening of the chocolate coating, and at higher temperatures will cause the chocolate to melt.

“Continued exposure of the chocolate to high temperatures and temperature variations results in fat and sugar bloom. All of the above effects have a negative impact on the consumer experience.”

Compound not an option

The unidentified firm had tried compound coatings in hot regions, but ideally wants to use premium chocolate on all products.

It is looking for proof of any concepts within 6-9 months and will provide $50,000 in funding ahead of a product acquisition or license. The company hopes to scale-up to production within two years.

The firm said solutions may lie in processing techniques, ingredients, coating technologies or even in packaging including modified atmosphere packaging.

Mondelez and Nestlé methods

Last year, Mondelez International-owned Cadbury filed a patent  for temperature tolerant chocolate made by re-refining chocolate after the conching stage. Mondelez claims this process produces a more continuous sugar matrix that can tolerate 40°C heat.

Nestlé’s R&D subsidiary Nestec has also developed a solution by adding little or no sugar or polyols to the chocolate core and instead putting the humectant liquids in a “tropicalized shell” outside the product center. It claims products developed this way can handle 45°C without melting.

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