Low-fat chocolate options on the way?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 7th September 2009

New research from the UK has suggested that emulsions containing up to 60 per cent water could see the introduction of low-fat chocolate formulations.

University of Birmingham researchers were able to produce stable cocoa butter water-in-oil emulsions containing up to 60 per cent water, which did not cream on storage, according to a FoodNavigator report.

The research, to be published in the upcoming November issue of the Journal of Food Engineering, discovered that the cocoa butter in the emulsions was in the “attractive” range for consumers – with melting point at between 32 and 34° Celsius.

The researchers contend that the results show low-fat chocolate formulations could be “feasible” using such emulsions.

“We have just patented an extension to the preliminary work and are in discussion with companies,” Dr Phil Cox stated in an email to FoodNavigator.

The market for low-fat chocolate could be expected to be large given the push toward healthier indulgences. Already this push has seen dark chocolate sales soar in recent years on the back of research showing the health benefits of cocoa.