Following the patent, the company will now produce milk chocolate with only 25% of fat by weight, versus 36% fat in a comparable chocolate.
Below 25% fat the product would no longer be classified as chocolate in the EU.
Calorie reduction is a big challenge in chocolate as both fat and sugar needs to be reduced, but reducing the fat content has bigger impact on calories than reducing sugar, said the company.
Programme manager authenticity and permissibility at the company, Marijke De Brouwer explained that the caloric reduction will depend on whether sugar, sweeteners, fibres or proteins are used to fill the content gap created by reducing fat. “Sugar as filler will have a caloric reduction of 5-10% while sweeteners and/or dietary fibres as filler will have a reduction of 15-30%,” she said.
Patent EP 2 152 091 was awarded by the European Patent Office and adds to the company’s portfolio of over 30 international patents. “It will broaden the company's innovation-based offering of reformulated products. It will offer customers new solutions for products with a better energy balance and improved composition,” said the company.
Recipe for fat reduction
According to the patent, the process will involve a means to refine fat-coated particles before the traditional conching step. It is a new technique that the company can apply to enrobed products, like bars and biscuits, and moulded products, like tablets and pralines.
The process includes using a 15% by weight fat powder and 40% by weight other ingredients with the fat partly coating a proportion of the other ingredients. This powder is then mixed with other ingredients to form a mixture comprising from 20% to 90% by weight of the powder. The mixture is then refined before the final conching process takes place.
De Brouwer said in the patent that processes for producing the reduced fat chocolate have not yet achieved any degree of commercial success chiefly because “the taste of the product must remain good”.
She added that their reduced fat method has however been found to have “good taste and texture”.