Cargill overcomes colour challenge in cocoa with enhanced ‘reddish’ pigment

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty/Nino Mascardi
©Getty/Nino Mascardi

Related tags: Cargill, Cocoa, Patent

Food giant Cargill has filed a patent for a method to “naturally adjust” the colour of chocolate products with an increased reddish hue.

According to Cargill’s submission, which was published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation​ (WIPO) last week, the invention responds to a major challenge in food formulation.

“In the food industry, and in particular in applications such as confectionery, bakery, frozen desserts and beverages, colour is very important, with consumers associating certain colours with a certain taste and/or product quality of the product,”​ writes Cargill.

However, using the traditional cocoa alkalization process – which has been known for “many decades” ​– to control colour development in chocolate, is limited.

“It remains a challenge to provide food ingredients with unique colour properties, especially an increased reddish colour,” ​the firm continued, adding that attaining a yellow pigment in formulation can be also prove difficult for manufacturers.

Cargill has therefore developed a way to give cocoa powder a distinct red or yellow colour, through an alkalization process performed under mild processing conditions. The process is more environmentally friendly and cost efficient than the traditional cocoa alkalization process, the firm claims.

The technology is designed for application in any food composition in which colour is considered an important characteristic.

“For example, it may be a chocolate product (such as a chocolate bar, chocolate coating, praline, chocolate inclusion, chocolate filling, chocolate spread, or chocolate drink), a bakery product (such as a cake, patisserie, or biscuit),or a dairy product (such as a yogurt, mousse, flan, pudding, or ice-cream),” ​writes Cargill.

In addition, the firm said consumer satisfaction will be increased since the desired colour can be achieved using fewer chemicals.

Cargill did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

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