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Improving the quality of European chocolate

A delicious yet complex material, chocolate can be damaged as a result of bloom growth or cracking. This poses important quality risks for manufacturers of filled products such as pralines and wafers.
Improving the quality of European chocolate
Bringing together 14 partners from seven European countries, the EU-funded 'Structure and processing for high-quality of chocolate pralines' (PROPRALINE) project addressed the issues of chocolate bloom and crack propagation. The PROPRALINE team employed advanced study methodologies and developed the means for tackling these two particular problems. To begin with, researchers described the problems associated with quality assessment (QA) of pralines, and set up a methodology for efficiently carrying out the QA.

They then studied the mechanisms of crack development and fat bloom in chocolate pralines, and developed routes for their prevention. Finally, the team quantified relations between process, structure and properties, using the knowledge gained to develop processing solutions for tailor-made cracking and bloom-resistant chocolate microstructures.

Other PROPRALINE activities included 11 demonstrations involving industry on developed technologies, and training for European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the state–of-the-art technologies available and on project-generated knowledge.

Project results were disseminated through various presentations, at conferences and in publications targeting both industry and the scientific community. In cooperation with the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe, the groundbreaking achievements have also been successfully shared across the continent.

PROPRALINE outcomes are relevant to and important for the competitiveness of EU SMEs that produce exclusive, complicated and niche-oriented filled products like chocolate pralines. The application of project-developed technical solutions thus promises improved quality and extended shelf life for their unique products — ultimately providing a boost to this particular European industry.

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