ProPraline: Dealing with chocolate problems



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ProPraline: Dealing with chocolate problems
A greyish coating on the surface of the chocolate – ‘fat bloom’. Cracks that result in the filling seeping out. These are two of the concerns that affect chocolate manufacturers from time to time. It is a major problem for the European chocolate industry. As much as 143,000 tonnes of chocolate are affected either by ‘fat bloom’ or by cracking, with a cost to the European industry of 1.2 billion Euros a year.
SIK – The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, located in Gothenburg, Sweden has been working with a number of companies and universities to tackle the problem through ProPraline; a European project in the seventh framework programme.
The type of the project was a “Research for the benefit of specific groups (in particular SMEs)” project. It involved 14 different partners from 7 different European countries. Three SME associations, three SMEs, six RTDs and two larger companies (others) were participating in the project.

Chocolate is a complex material, which can be damaged by means of bloom growth or cracking. This is a significant issue for filled products such as pralines that can prevent the manufacture of products of sufficient quality. It was the aim of this project to study the phenomena of chocolate bloom and crack propagation in chocolate pralines. The mechanisms were studied and ways in which these problems can be avoided were developed.

There are about 1 800 chocolate producing companies employing about 200 000 people. 90% of these companies are SMEs. The annual turnover is closed to 50 billion Euro and the export around 4 billion Euro a year.
Economic and/or social benefit

Propraline has provided SMEs chocolate producers with solutions to reduce fat bloom and cracking in chocolate pralines.

The estimated value of the chocolate product losses in 2008 caused by fat bloom in Europe was about 1.2 billion Euros equivalent to 143 metric tons (The reader, 2010).

The amount of rework or waste during production caused by failure in tempering is estimated to be between 1-5% of the totally produced volume, however depending on the product type.



The expected increase in sales of chocolate pralines for SMEs is about 5-10% due to the improvement of quality, the extension of shelf-life by ≥ 3 to 6 weeks and the significant reduction of product recall, particularly for the more complex, filled products.
Contact: Lilia Ahrné, project koordinator, e-mail: lilia.ahrne@sik.se, tel + 46 10 516 66 23
Caption:

How can you produce chocolate that can withstand storage better? This question employs Lina Svanberg who is a PhD student at SIK – The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology.
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