Global leading chocolate player Mondelez International is part of a UK government funded project to improve chocolate deposition.
Under the Process Innovation for accurate chocolate deposition (Pinnacle) project the Cadbury owner has teamed with Wymbs Engineering and The Manufacturing Technology Centre to develop a more flexible chocolate depositing system fit for the 21st century.
Chocolate deposition: ‘Non-scientific black-art’
“Currently, deposition is an uncontrolled, non-scientific black-art with little known about its influence on formulation,” said the Pinnacle project partners.
“Depositing systems are outdated and inefficient, lacking the flexibility required to adapt new global, standardized approaches to chocolate manufacturing and regional variation in formulation.”
“Pinnacle will utilize state-of-the-art simulation techniques, in-process sensing technology and advanced manufacturing processes to develop a step change in depositing technology, capable of monitoring and adapting to changes in the ingredients, providing a foundation for future optimization of chocolate formulation.”
UK government grant
The Pinnacle project is supported by a £332,786 ($543,273) grant from the Technology Strategy Board, which obtains funding from the UK government to hand to industry R&D projects.
The funding will cover the bulk of the cost for the project.
Reducing costs for manufacturers
Darren Ragheb, formulated products manager for Chemistry Innovation KTN, which helps companies to understand how the funding works, told ConfectioneryNews: “The main issue is the consistency and the impact of the downtime.”
“With chocolate and other formulated products, the end-effects, the way it tastes and the feel, is massively effected by the process. You can end up with a very different end product.”
“If you can have a more controlled process that you can adjust when you change ingredients it gives companies massive savings in efficiencies. If you’ve got a process that you can adjust in hours rather than days, it gives chocolate manufacturers flexibility.”
Technology for all?
Ragheb said that he expected the project to last around two years. He added that Mondelez was likely to have first mover rights under a collaboration agreement, but any technology created through the project would eventually be available to the industry.
The Pinnacle project partners declined our request for an interview.