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European researchers to develop system to monitor tempering process in chocolates

FBR Staff Writer Published 05 March 2013

Researchers are set to launch a new EU-funded project, which is aimed at developing a low cost ultrasound-based system capable of controlling the tempering process during chocolate manufacture.

The two-year project was launched at IRIS project coordinator headquarters in Castelldefels, Spain. Small, medium and large enterprises of the chocolate industry, as well as research centers from eight different European countries will participate in the project.

ULTRACHOC will build on the results of past laboratory scale research that has revealed the sensitivity of cocoa butter shear crystallization process to the Ultrasound Doppler-based velocity profile (UVP) and pressure drop (PD) technique.

It will conduct further laboratory tests with the UVP-PD and Ultrasound attenuation (USA) technique, UVPPD + USA to specify the parameters required for the industrial system that can be used as a tool in chocolate manufacturing facilities.

ULTRACHOC project coordinator Adriana Delgado said that the combination of the two methods in a system that is integrated in chocolate tempering machines will represent a breakthrough for the EU chocolate industry.

ULTRACHOC consortium comprises five small and medium enterprises; two large companies and three research centers. Further, nine more other companies and research centers will also participate in the project.

Tempering involves mixing and cooling the liquid chocolate under controlled conditions to ensure that the fat phase in the chocolate, mainly of cocoa butter, crystallizes in its desirable form i.e. form V. It is critical for reducing processing failures and ensure a quality end product. Incorrect tempering makes the chocolate dull, hypersensitive to fat bloom, soft in texture as well as difficult to de-mould.

IRIS, a Barcelona-based company, offers advanced engineering and R&D solutions to optimise its industrial processes and improve product performance, quality and safety.