It says it “surprisingly” discovered that incorporating an enzyme preparation with cellulase activity allowed the resulting chocolate to be heat resistant to temperatures as high as 40°C.
The mouthfeel of the product was unaffected and it also retained its shape and did not stick to wrappers, it said.
Another advantage is that the invention used water and dietary fibres, said Nestlé.
This made is suitable for use in regular chocolate, as these natural ingredients are permitted under food regulations.
The patent application, published in March, states that inventor, Christopher Hughes, added during manufacture an enzyme preparation having cellulase activity to a tropicalising agent comprising a liquid fat component and many discrete particles of insoluble water-absorbing food ingredient material loaded with water and/or a humectant liquid dispersed in the liquid fat component.
He found that a progressive release of water and/or humectant into the chocolate or chocolate analogue made using non-cocoa butter, was achieved.
The discovery is described in the application as “surprising” and “particularly unexpected as the enzyme system is capable of displaying its activity in a fat based environment, while it would normally be meant to be used in an aqueous system.”
Nestlé said cocoa butter typically starts to soften at about 28°C, with consequent loss of the mechanical strength of the chocolate.
This means that at the high ambient temperatures frequently encountered in tropical countries, chocolate becomes sticky or even runny. It tends to stick to the wrapper and fall apart when the wrapper is removed, leaving a semi-liquid mass.
Enrobed chocolate products typically lose integrity under these conditions, with their contents often leaking and individual units tending to stick together in the packaging.
Chocolate also loses the “snap” that is an important textural characteristic of chocolate stored and eaten under cooler conditions, Nestle says.
There have been numerous attempts to produce a chocolate that is resistant to heat from the big manufacturers.
The approaches most widely used can be divided two main groups. Firstly, incorporation of high-melting point fats; and secondly creation of a network of sugar crystals or protein particles that will act as a sponge and hold the fat - thus maintaining the structure of the product even on melting of the fat.
But food regulations in many countries restrict the use of substitutes for cocoa butter in chocolate.
As well as that, the high-melting point fats in chocolate-like products give an unpleasant waxy mouthfeel.
Mondelēz recently filed a patent for heat resistant chocolate made in a special temperature-managed conch, and most major manufacturers are developing methods to increase chocolate's temperature resistance.
Source: WIPO Patents
Patent Owner: Nestec S.A.
Date filed: 1 Sept 2014