Fat content in chocolate can be cut in half and fat bloom avoided by using fruit juice, without any impact on mouthfeel, according to researchers.
Scientists from the University of Warwick in the UK today published a study in the Journal of Materials Chemistry that claims that cocoa butter and milk fats that go into chocolate bars can be substituted with tiny droplets of juice thus reducing fat content by 50%
The researchers also claim that the method can prevent white specks found on the surface of chocolate known as sugar and fat bloom.
Kraft/Cadbury-owned research firm Reading Scientific Services Limited (RSSL) funded the study.
Tiny orange and cranberry juice droplets
The method, dreamed up by Warwick University scientists, infuses orange and cranberry juice into milk, dark and white chocolate using Pickering emulsion.
The study said that that fruit juice incorporation would have no impact on the mouthfeel of the chocolate as it preserves Polymorph V content, the substance in the crystal structure of the fat which gives chocolate its texture, glossy appearance and melt-in-the mouth feel.
A wide variety of fruit juices can be used for all forms of chocolate: dark, milk and white, said the researchers.
According to the scientists, the final product will taste fruity - but the chocolatey taste can be maintained by using water and a small amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) instead of juice.
"Fruit juice has a distinctive taste and is acidic. The acidity is key for the system to work. We can replace fruit juice with water. The water is acidified with ascorbic acid," lead author Stefan Bon told ConfectioneryNews.com.
The findings followed an earlier study by Norton et al. from 2009, which found that small water droplets could be used to reduce fat by 20%.
Maintains chocolatey taste
Bon said: “Everyone loves chocolate – but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat.”
“However it’s the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave – the silky smooth texture and the way it melts in the mouth but still has a ‘snap’ to it when you break it with your hand.”
“We’ve found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate ‘chocolatey’ but with fruit juice instead of fat.”
“Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate – we’ve established the chemistry behind this new technique but now we’re hoping the food industry will take our method to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars.”
Available to the industry
The study said that current methods used to reduce fat in chocolate, such as aeration, could negatively impact the structure of chocolate and may be poorly received by consumers.
Bon appealed to the industry to use the newly developed method to introduce new forms of reduced fat chocolate.
He told ConfectioneryNews.com that the method will be available to the industry as a whole and no patents have been filed.
He added that the method was easy and could be scaled up for industrial production.
J. Mater. Chem., 2012,
‘Quiescent Water-in-Oil Pickering Emulsions as a Route toward Healthier Fruit Juice Infused Chocolate Confectionary’
Authors: Thomas S. Skelhon , Nadia Grossiord , Adam R. Morgan and Stefan A. F. Bon