Debbie Nicholson

Up to fifty percent fat in chocolate replaced by fruit juice

For chocolate lovers of the world who try hard to avoid that chocolaty delicious treat may not have to avoid that chocolate treat.

Scientists from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, have taken out much of the cocoa butter and milk fats that go into chocolate bars, substituting them with tiny droplets of juice measuring fewer than 30 microns in diameter.

View slideshow: Chocolate health benefits

Scientists infused orange and cranberry juice into the milk of dark and white chocolate by using what is referred to as Pickering emulsion.

Most importantly to the chocolate lovers of the world, this type of chemistry will not remove that chocolaty 'mouth-feel' given by the fatty ingredients.

The reason is because the new technique maintains prized Polymorph V content, the substance in the crystal structure of fat that gives chocolate its glossy appearance, firm and snappy texture but also allows it to melt smoothly in the mouth.

The final product will have that fruity taste however; there is an option to use water and a small amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) instead of juice in order to maintain the chocolaty taste.

Dr. Stefan Bon, PhD, associate professor in the department of chemistry at Warwick and lead author of the study said that researchers looked at the chemistry behind reducing fat in chocolate, but now it is up to the food industry to use this new technique to develop tasty ways to use it in chocolate.

Dr. Bon states “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 'chocolaty' 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."

Scientists did use food-approved ingredients to create a Pickering emulsion. This prevents the small droplets from combining with each other.

Moreover, their chocolate formulations in the molten state showed a yield stress which meant that they could prevent the droplets from sinking to the bottom.

The new process also prevents the unsightly 'sugar bloom' which can appear on chocolate which has been stored for too long.

This new study is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.