Fruit Juice Cuts Down Fat in Chocolate

Chocolate could become even more salubrious if manufacturers embraced new technology for making “fruit-juice-infused chocolate,” according to research presented at the American Chemical Society’s recent national meeting.

Stefan A. F. Bon, PhD, who led the research with his team at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, explained that the technology would allow the manufacturing of chocolate with fruit juice, vitamin C water, or diet cola, replacing up to 50% of the fat. The juice is in the form of microbubbles that help chocolate retain its mouthfeel. The process also prevents “sugar bloom,” the unappetizing white film that coats the surface of chocolate that has been on the shelf for a while.

“We have established the chemistry that’s a starting point for healthier chocolate confectionary,” Bon said. “This approach maintains the things that make chocolate ‘chocolatey’ but with fruit juice instead of fat.”

Chocolate’s high fat and sugar content is a downside compared with its high levels of healthful antioxidants or flavonoids, Bon explained. A 2-oz serving of premium dark chocolate may contain 13 g of fat—20% of the total daily fat recommended for a person who eats 2,000 kcal/day. Substituting fruit juice or diet cola also can reduce the overall sugar content in chocolate.

The technology works with dark, milk, and white chocolate. Bon’s team used fruit juices and other food-approved ingredients to form a Pickering emulsion, named for British chemist Percival Spencer Umfreville Pickering, who discovered a new way to stabilize emulsions. Chocolate is an emulsion of cocoa butter and water or milk combined with cocoa powder. Pickering’s method used solid particles rather than an emulsifier, and Bon’s team embraced that century-old approach in their work.

So far, Bon’s team has made chocolate infused with apple, orange, and cranberry juice.

“Fruit-juice-infused candy tastes like an exciting hybrid between traditional chocolate and a chocolate-juice confectionary,” Bon said. “Since the juice is spread out in the chocolate, it doesn’t overpower the taste of the chocolate. We believe that the technology adds an interesting twist to the range of chocolate confectionary products available. The opportunity to replace part of the fat matrix with water-based juice droplets allows for greater flexibility and tailoring of both the overall fat and sugar content.”

Source: American Chemical Society