Low-Fat Chocolate Breakthrough Could Replace Fat With Water.

Innovative emulsions containing up to 60 per cent water may reduce the fat content of chocolate and offer low-fat formulations, suggests new research from the UK.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham produced stable cocoa butter water-in-oil emulsions containing up to 60 per cent water by mass, which did not cream on storage. Additionally, the cocoa butter in the emulsions was found to be in the form that “consumers find the most attractive, as it melts between 32 and 34 °C”, according to findings to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Food Engineering.

The issue of health is no longer a marginal topic for the food industry but wholly mainstream, and it finds confectioners, biscuit and cake makers seeking to juxtapose today’s consumer desire for indulgence with their desire for foods with a healthy profile. According to a recent study from the US, only 5 per cent of American children between 6 and 11 were overweight before 1980, but 25 years later this number had risen to 19 per cent. Similar increases have been reported in Europe, with the International Association for the Study of Obesity estimating in 2006 that the number of obese school age children in Europe increased by almost 50 per cents since the late 1990s.

“As chocolate is notoriously high in calories (a gram of fat contains approximately nine calories), it may be detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight,” explained the researchers. “There may thus be a gap in the market as low-fat chocolates with desirable taste and texture are currently not readily available.”


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