Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New methods for better chocolate

A prototype device for making chocolate is set to improve the industry by providing better control over the chocolate tempering process.
New methods for better chocolate
Several processes determine chocolate quality during manufacture, including tempering and solid fat content (SFC). Controlling the tempering process is hard to do, and determining SFC requires laborious and time-consuming sampling and analysis.

Without these controls in place, the quality of the chocolate suffers. That's why the EU-funded ULTRACHOC (Ultrasound-based tailoring and control by real-time monitoring of the tempering process during chocolate manufacture) initiative was interested in building a device that can cheaply and quickly measure and control tempering and SFC during manufacture.

ULTRACHOC started by surveying the needs of chocolate producers and manufacturers of chocolate-making equipment. They supplemented this with research into the chocolate-making market and associated socioeconomic factors.

To improve SFC, researchers used high-power ultrasound (HPU) to control cocoa butter crystallisation, the primary factor determining SFC and chocolate quality. The team developed a rig to test and validate their concept, showing that HPU could control formation of stable fat crystals in the melt.

Another aspect of the research worked on an online monitoring system for the tempering process, using a low-powered ultrasound technique. Through extensive validation, researchers showed that this was an effective way to track the tempering process.

Lastly, ULTRACHOC combined these two processes into a pre-industrial prototype system, accompanied by control and calibration software allowing users to tune the tempering process. Installed in situ in a chocolate factory, this device performed well and improved the quality of chocolate produced.

Once developed into a commercial product, the ULTRACHOC device will add value to European chocolate manufacturers and increase their competitiveness worldwide.

Related information


Chocolate, tempering, solid fat content, ULTRACHOC, ultrasound
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