The European Union's new chocolate law sets in stone that up to 5 per cent of the cocoa butter in chocolate may be replaced by vegetable fats and still qualify as chocolate.
The move opened up the market for CBE, (Cocoa Butter Equivalents), with ingredients companies such as Scandinavian firms Karlshamns and Aarhus pushing forward strategies to encourage new product development and chocolate formulations.
But this week Cargill-owned Cerestar demonstrated that it too is keen to get in on the act, with the launch of C*SprayDex, a new glucose syrup for chocolate manufacturers to cut the calories as well as costs.
Under the Directive (EU directive 2000/36/EC) for the first time chocolate manufacturers can replace sugar with other sweeteners and the end product can still be labelled as chocolate.
The Directive specifies that chocolate, milk chocolate, plain chocolate andwhite chocolate may contain 'other edible substances' such as glucose syrup,up to 40 per cent of the total weight of the finished product.
'C*SprayDex is obtained by enzymatic conversion of starch. Depending on the formulation and the type of chocolate (either dark or milk), C*SprayDex can replace up to 40 per cent of the sugar without any influence on taste or productquality,' said Mark Wastijn, marketing director of Cerestar Food & Pharma Specialties Europe.
In C*SprayDex we have produced a substitute for sugar which displays excellent functionality and application benefits as well as a considerable reduction in cost for manufacturers, he added.
Cost was in fact a key theme in the campaign for the EU directive. Vegetable fat is much cheaper than pure cocoa butter, providing manufacturers with a less costly alternative for chocolate formulations.
The impact of the new rules on the world's cocoa suppliers, notably the world's largest supplier the Ivory Coast that provides 40 per cent of the world's cocoa supply, is yet to be known.