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Manufacturers overlook cocoa butter savings

An important question asked by the management of many chocolate manufacturers is whether all potential savings have been realised in their recipes. It’s a question that receives even more attention when the price of cocoa butter skyrockets – as it has in recent times. In fact, many manufacturers are already experiencing an uncomfortable squeeze on profits. So the big issue is: given that cocoa butter prices likely have further to go before they peak, how can manufacturers tighten their belts even further to prepare for new highs?

Sharpen your recipe

Defining a chocolate's viscosity for a specific final application is every bit as as important as achieving the correct flavour. And knowing exactly which viscosity is needed also makes it possible to ensure that as little cocoa butter is used as absolutely necessary. In turn, achieving just the right amount of cocoa butter - and no more - enables layer thickness to be con- trolled, air bubbles to be vibrated out of the chocolate, inclusions to be covered, and more besides.

Of course, with cocoa butter prices currently above EUR 4,200/ton, there are substantial gains to be made from developing more cost effective recipes. In fact, a cocoa butter saving of just 1% will typi- cally deliver worthwhile bottom- line effects.

Yet, despite the savings offered by reducing cocoa butter use, far from all chocolate manufacturers have conducted a service check on each recipe to check whether the most precise formula has been identified for the application. Sharpening the recipe requires the manufacturer to define the correct plastic viscosity and yield value. Once these values are defined, it becomes possible to determine whether each new chocolate batch lives up to the viscosity specifi- cations for the particular type of chocolate. As many manufacturers have already discovered, a service check on long-established choco- late recipes may reveal hidden savings by reducing cocoa butter for specific applications.

Going one Step further

If a 1% cocoa butter saving doesn't seem compelling enough, then it's time to look into further wins of- fered to the industry by chocolate emulsifiers. Emulsifiers not only cut costs, but also offer the manu- facturer an extra tool for controlling viscosity during chocolate production.

More efficient eMulSifierS

Ammonium phosphatide or Emul- sifier YN (E442), sold under the trade name of Palsgaard® AMP 4448 (AMP), is an emulsifier typi- cally made from rape seed oil. With its ability to reduce the Plastic Viscosity (PV) and the Yield Value (YV), it's a highly efficient tool that outperforms lecithin in chocolate applications.

Simply by changing from soy leci- thin to AMP, manufacturers can achieve cocoa butter savings from 1.7% to as much as 3.5% in a milk chocolate. Results like these are produced by increasing the usage of AMP up to either 0.7% (max. al- lowed legal usage in the USA) or 1.0% % (max. allowed legal usage in the EU) from 0.4% soy lecithin, while still maintaining unchanged viscosity properties. It's a move plenty of manufacturers are pre- pared to make, since 3.5% less cocoa butter translates to savings of more than EUR 100,000 when producing 1,000 tons of chocolate and more than EUR 1 million at a 10,000-ton production level. Of course, the calculation takes into account current sugar prices, as sugar is needed to balance the recipe after removing cocoa butter.

Peter Poulsen,
International Sales Manager,
Palsgaard A/S

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