Special Edition: Cutting calories in confectionery

Significant changes required for ‘light in calories’ chocolate

By Anna Bonar

- Last updated on GMT

'Light in calories' chocolate requires drastic changes to the formulation
'Light in calories' chocolate requires drastic changes to the formulation

Related tags Cocoa butter Cocoa solids Chocolate Adm cocoa

Chocolate makers must completely replace sugar and reduce fat content to a legal minimum to be able to make a ‘light in calories’ claim in the EU, according to Barry Callebaut.

The market for better-for-you chocolate is rising. According to Euromonitor International, the global reduced fat chocolate market has grown 15% since 2009 to $357m in retail value sales for 2014.

“But if you really want to make a claim about calories you have to make significant changes,”​ Barry Callebaut innovation manager Marijke De Brouwer told ConfectioneryNews.

“Apart from removing the sugar you also have to play with the fats and reduce them as low as possible within the legal framework”

Completely replace sugar

She said a 30% reduction in sugar content would only lead to a calorie reduction of 5-8%, while a complete sugar replacement could only achieve a 10-15% reduction in calories - below the 30% threshold to make a ‘light in calories’ claim in the EU.

Complete sugar replacement is achievable with alternative sweeteners. R&D specialists have previously identified steviol glycosides​ and maltitol as the most viable alternatives.

But manufacturers can expect to pay more for these sugar alternatives. Felix Verdegem, CEO of stevia chocolate firm Cavalier, previously said​ that stevia was cheaper than sugar but the fibers needed to give chocolate its structure and volume made overall costs three times higher.

Then turn to fat

Also replacing the sugar alone will not be enough for a ‘light in calories’ claim -  fat also needs to be reduced.

Rinus Heemskerk, global innovation director at ADM Cocoa, said: “The most calorie dense ingredients in chocolate are the fats: cocoa butter and milk fat. The scope to reduce these is limited both from an application as well as from a sensorial point of view.”

A 40g chocolate tablet (dark, milk or white) has an average of 220 kcal. Sugar accounts for about 30-40% of the calories, and fat about 40-50%.

Low fat cocoa powder

“Cocoa fat free solids are very interesting as a calorie reducing ingredient,” ​said Heemskerk. “They contain roughly 1/3 total dietary fiber, which means low contribution to calories.”

ADM recently launched a virtually fat-free cocoa powder under its deZaan range called D-00-ZR to seize on demand among manufacturers to cut calories.

Heemskerk said that the current market was more interested in sugar reduction rather than complete removal. To achieve this, cocoa solids can be increased at the expense of sugar, but manufacturers need to carefully balance between the sweetness from sugar and bitterness from cocoa, he said.

Regulation barriers

De Brouwer said that regulations on what constitutes ‘chocolate’ limited how far manufacturers could cut calories with fat reduction.

“I think the biggest challenge for chocolate is that if you really want to go into fat reduction, you have to look what is legally the minimum and for chocolate it’s 25% [cocoa butter], but it’s also a technical minimum. For a chocolate to be smooth it needs to be refined and technically to refine it you need a certain fat percentage. And the minimum is also 25%.”

For chocolate to be considered chocolate under CODEX​ standards, it must contain 35% total cocoa solids, of which no less than 18% must be cocoa butter. If you don’t meet these standards, your product may carry a ‘chocolate flavor’ label.

Similarly in the EU​, ‘chocolate’ must contain over 43 % total dry cocoa solids, including no less than  26% cocoa butter.

[Additional reporting by Oliver Nieburg]

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Heraeus Carbon Infra-Red Heating System Help Chocolate Manufacturer to Maintain Quality and Improve Production Reliability

Posted by Ray Baird,

A 9kW carbon infra-red heating system from Heraeus Noblelight is helping to ensure consistent chocolate quality while reducing production line down-times at OP Chocolate’s Dowlais, South Wales, factory. The system is used to pre-heat chocolate moulds prior to filling and replaces a long-established ceramic infra-red system.
OP Chocolate was originally founded in Cardiff in 1938 and production was transferred to the purpose-built site in Dowlais in 1963. The company is now a member of the French Groupe Cemoi. Its state-of-the-art, 16000 m² factory focuses on wafer and chocolate tablet manufacture, supplying all major food retailers and enjoying a thriving export trade.
The production of moulded chocolate involves depositing liquid chocolate into polycarbonate moulds. However, it is important that the moulds are pre-heated to a specific temperature before the chocolate is poured. If the moulds are too warm, the chocolate can change its characteristics and detemper. If they are too cold, the poured chocolate will lose shape and possibly crack.
Previously, OP Chocolate had used infra-red, ceramic eaters to pre-heat the moulds. A shuttering system could be placed between the heaters and the moulds in the event of line stoppage, to prevent spoiling of the chocolate in the moulds during the time it took for the heaters to cool down after switch-off. However, the ceramic system was proving unreliable in operation and the action of changing over the shuttering was proving increasingly difficult.
Having successfully installed a similar Heraeus carbon fibre infra-red mould heating system on another chocolate tablet production line five years ago, the project engineers at OP Chocolate decided replace the ceramic system with a carbon medium wave system. This proved to be one third the size of the old system. It features three, 3kW emitters and can be either manually or automatically controlled. With manual control the emitter outputs can be adjusted by the operator to achieve a mould temperature of 30ºC as measured by a pyrometer. With automatic control, the emitters are regulated automatically according to the pyrometer setting.
As Peter Smith, project manager at Dowlais, explains, “The infra-red system, which was retrofitted without any problems into the available space, provides precisely controllable heating for the moulds and their very fast response ensures that line stoppages are now more easily managed and quality improved.”

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