New chocolate manufacturing technology - thoughts?

grhuit
@grhuit
06/02/17 09:07:57AM
3 posts

A professor at Temple University recently discovered a technology that helps reduce the viscosity of chocolate by applying an electric-field to the suspension. It can be thought of as running chocolate through an electric sieve. I work at a technology development and commercialization company that has full license to develop and use this device.

I was conducting some market research to see if this technology would be of interest to chocolate makers and why/why not. I would be extremely grateful if some of you could share your thoughts with me on this matter.

Thanks.

Also you can read Professor Tao's paper here: 
www.researchgate.net/publication/228987085_Reducing_the_Viscosity_of_Crude_Oil_by_Pulsed_Electric_or_Magnetic_Field

Or a more condensed version here: 
www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/06/25/482538542/with-a-zap-scientists-create-low-fat-chocolate

andre_rangel
@andre-rangel
06/04/17 07:35:59PM
3 posts

By reduce the viscosity do you mean to make a more fluid chocolate?

Peter3
@peter3
06/04/17 08:36:54PM
86 posts

grhuit:

A professor at Temple University recently discovered a technology that helps reduce the viscosity of chocolate by applying an electric-field to the suspension. It can be thought of as running chocolate through an electric sieve. I work at a technology development and commercialization company that has full license to develop and use this device.

I was conducting some market research to see if this technology would be of interest to chocolate makers and why/why not. I would be extremely grateful if some of you could share your thoughts with me on this matter.

Thanks.

Also you can read Professor Tao's paper here: 
www.researchgate.net/publication/228987085_Reducing_the_Viscosity_of_Crude_Oil_by_Pulsed_Electric_or_Magnetic_Field

Or a more condensed version here: 
www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/06/25/482538542/with-a-zap-scientists-create-low-fat-chocolate

If I understand correctly the research viscosity reduction is achieved by "aggregating" solid particles to improve "packing rate".

In chocolate manufacturing in some situations* it may be beneficial to be able to produce and use chocolate with lower fat content and suitable viscosity.

* Reducing cocoa butter content can reduce the cost of raw materials used to make chocolate. This reduction will not always reduce total cost of manufacturing and for people making fine chocolates this may be a wrong idea in general.

The main issue I see with using this technology in chocolate manufacturing is that "correct viscosity" is required at use stage where we pour tempered chocolate into moulds, use it to enrobe or coat products. At this stage chocolate contains not only cocoa, sugar and milk solids but also a certain amount of cocoa butter crystals which need to be uniformly dispersed in the mass and not "aggregated" in any way.

Unlike pumping crude oil the cost of pumping chocolate is almost negligible part of the whole manufacturing process.

I would guess that this technology may be more suitable for low cost compound manufacturing where reduction of fat content can help with cost reduction and some compounds are used without tempering.  

LUV Ice Cream
@luv-ice-cream
06/04/17 11:37:11PM
12 posts

I read this article when it was first published.

It provides a false argument of fat being bad and completely ignores the impact of sugar on health. In other words, the old & failed war on obesity narrative.

I am not sorry that this sounds overly harsh, but the key driver for the authors (I believe the "research" was sponsored by M&M Mars, afair) was to use less cocoa butter which would allow for higher filler loading. Filler in this context is all the cheaper ingredients from sugar to milk. 

To me this study reads like an argument to use filtered cigarettes over cigars because it allows for a cheaper and more plentiful smoke.  It completely misses the point.

grhuit
@grhuit
06/06/17 10:57:48AM
3 posts

LUV Ice Cream:

I read this article when it was first published.

It provides a false argument of fat being bad and completely ignores the impact of sugar on health. In other words, the old & failed war on obesity narrative.

I am not sorry that this sounds overly harsh, but the key driver for the authors (I believe the "research" was sponsored by M&M Mars, afair) was to use less cocoa butter which would allow for higher filler loading. Filler in this context is all the cheaper ingredients from sugar to milk. 

To me this study reads like an argument to use filtered cigarettes over cigars because it allows for a cheaper and more plentiful smoke.  It completely misses the point.

Hi @luv-ice-cream, thanks for sharing your honest opinion. It was what we were looking for! 

However, I believe you are arguing on the contents of the study, not the technology. Reducing fat-content is of secondary interest to most chocolate producers. But many expressed interest in the machine's ability to reduce cocoa butter usage, this is what we wanted your opinion on. Assuming it tastes the same and is cost-efficient, do you believe this technology is something you would want to use? Why? Why not? 

LUV Ice Cream
@luv-ice-cream
06/06/17 11:32:27AM
12 posts

Hi @luv-ice-cream, thanks for sharing your honest opinion. It was what we were looking for! 

However, I believe you are arguing on the contents of the study, not the technology. Reducing fat-content is of secondary interest to most chocolate producers. But many expressed interest in the machine's ability to reduce cocoa butter usage, this is what we wanted your opinion on. Assuming it tastes the same and is cost-efficient, do you believe this technology is something you would want to use? Why? Why not? 

[/quote]

Good morning or some other time of day!

I do apologize for a few shortcuts in my response.

While you are correct to say that I am arguing the contents (& really the motivation) of the study & not the tech, I do believe the two are inexorably linked.  

The chocolate industry, I find as a somewhat an outsider, is rather set in its ways.  It is fairly set in its ways and practices and is slower to change than, say, coffee industry.  These are very general statements based on my admittedly limited observations & communications, but that is mho, as in "imho".  The likelihood of a chocolate producer embracing new tech is related to cost benefits first and foremost. 

The interest in reducing fat content aka cocoa butter content is a FINANCIAL one for the producers, not a health one. Cocoa butter is the single most expensive ingredient in the mix for the producers, unless they use stevia like we do.  So, cutting down cocoa butter content reduces the cost.  If the gizmometry required to accomplish this makes financial sense from the cost/benefit analysis, then it might have an inroad. 

Here is my proviso, however.  I come to chocolate from a science R&D background with over 30 years in the latter.  I know the path of a technology/invention looking for a problem to solve.  We call that pushing a rope. 

Using high voltage to orient molecular dipoles is now a classic technique. It was applied in liquid crystals, then in non-linear optics (second harmonic generation in polymers/organics) to pole the molecules then, apparently to lower effective viscosity in fluid dynamics of...be it oil/gas or molten chocolate mass.  And, I bet, this is not a complete list.  

I am not sure how much other industries have embraced poling technology to reduce viscosity thus far.  I know of surfactants, fluorinated additives & coatings making significant inroads into oil/gas.  Those approaches are  chemically intrusive & not applicable to foodstuff. Still, my fear is that in chocolate processing this is a solution in search of a problem.  

My sincere hope is that Clay or some of the other heavy weights of the site will chime in with their thoughts because their experience is broader than mine when it comes to chocolates.   

grhuit
@grhuit
06/06/17 02:07:57PM
3 posts

andre_rangel:

By reduce the viscosity do you mean to make a more fluid chocolate?

Yes

Clay Gordon
@clay
06/10/17 11:04:26AM
1,680 posts

Having no first-hand experience with the technology, the NPR article raises more questions than it answers

Most of my thoughts echo @peter3 - this is something that will appeal to larger chocolate makers and candy companies as they are the ones that pump chocolate around. In large plants where there are long runs I can see how this might help but as @peter3 also points out, pumping costs are negligible.

I can see the application in compound in candy factories and in enrobing in general. Because compound is reconstituted and not made directly from cocoa liquor the recipe can be optimized for the tech from the outset.

It's also not clear what applying this tech to tempered chocolate will do the temper and there are a lot of applications where that will turn out to be important.

The fat reduction aspect has two components - cost reduction (as a replacement for lecithin?), and fat reduction. I am with @luv-ice-cream when I say that fat has been demonized by the sugar lobby for far too long. So I personally don't find that argument either compelling or interesting.

If it can reduce manufacturing costs and be cost-effective, the tech will be adopted. In large volume applications where chocolate and compound are already being pumped around. I don't see it being useful for smaller makers as a stand-alone tech. If the sieve can also be made to out filter out particles above a certain size (or installed in existing filters), and filter out metal then I can see how it might be a part of a HAACP/FSMA regimen for smaller makers. If the price were right.




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

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