The company said the new ingredient, COBAO Pure, delivers “significantly improved” bloom-retarding effects across various applications, including milk and dark chocolate tablets, coated and filled products and dark chocolate with nuts.
Blooming, a common problem in chocolate, is a whitening that can occur over the shelf life of a product, especially if it is stored at varying temperatures – something that is difficult for chocolate manufacturers to control once the product has left their factory.
“Consumers expect products to look as good as they taste so blooming poses a risk to revenue and brand perception. As a product moves down the supply chain, storage temperatures can fluctuate, so an effective bloom retarder is a must,” Marco Oomen, AAK’s global Business Director for Chocolate & Confectionery Fats, explained.
The efficacy of the cocoa butter’s ability to delay migration and heat-related bloom depends on the recipe, processing techniques and storage conditions – but significant improvements were reported.
For example, AAK revealed the shelf life of a standard dark chocolate is usually set at around 10 to 12 months. But this can fall to as low as one to three months when storage temperatures rise by just 2–3°C. However, the addition of COBAO Pure in the recommended range of 8-12% of the total cocoa butter content retards blooming, extends shelf life and significantly reduces a product’s sensitivity to higher storage temperatures.
‘Better than milk fat’
Currently, milk fat is commonly-used as a bloom retarder. However, AAK said it presents a number of challenges that COBAO Pure helps to solve.
Unlike milk fat, for example, COBAO Pure will not change the sensory qualities of the end product or cause excessive softening, the ingredient supplier claimed.
This makes it especially suitable for dark chocolate applications.
The cocoa butter is also free from lactose and other allergens, making it a suitable option for the free-from category.
COBAO Pure is a fully deodorized 100% cocoa butter that is compatible with other cocoa butters and needs only to replace an amount of the existing cocoa butter in a recipe.
On-pack, it can simply be labelled ‘cocoa butter’, in contrast to milk fat and other anti-blooming agents like cocoa butter equivalents and emulsifiers, which require a separate declaration on the ingredients list.
This aligns COBAO Pure with growing clean label trends. According to C+R Research, 69% of consumers say reading labels has an impact on their purchase decisions.
“COBAO Pure delivers excellent bloom-retarding capabilities without the formulation and labelling drawbacks of some other ingredients. It’s an exciting new solution that is set to make a real, positive difference in the chocolate category,” Oomen concluded.