SWEDEN – AAK has launched cocoa butter-based anti-blooming agent COBAO Pure, which delays migration and heat-related bloom in chocolates.

The new cocoa butter product increases the shelf-life of chocolates with between 50% to 400% by reducing the whitening caused by temperature variations.

Blooming is said to have a negative impact on the overall sensory quality of the chocolate and may influence the acceptability of the chocolate by the consumer.

COBAO Pure which delays migration and heat-related bloom targets in the premium chocolate segment, which is expected to grow three times faster than standard chocolate.

According to AAK, though milk fat may be used as a bloom retarder, it presents a number of challenges that cocoa butter may help to solve.

Unlike milk fat, the new anti-blooming agent will not change the sensory qualities of the end product or cause excessive softening, making it ideal for dark chocolate applications.

It is also free from lactose and other allergens, presenting a solution for the growing free-from category.

“Consumers expect products to look as good as they taste so blooming poses a risk to revenue and brand perception,” said Marco Oomen, Global Business Director for Chocolate & Confectionery Fats at AAK.

“As a product moves down the supply chain, storage temperatures can fluctuate, so an effective bloom retarder is a must.

“COBAO Pure delivers excellent bloom-retarding capabilities without the formulation and labeling drawbacks of some other ingredients.

“It’s an exciting new solution that is set to make a real, positive difference in the chocolate category.

“We see good demand from especially Europe, North America and Asia for COBAO Pure.”

AAK notes that the shelf life of standard dark chocolate is usually set at around 10 to 12 months, but tests show this can fall to as low as one to three months when storage temperatures rise by just 2-3°C.

Addition of COBAO Pure in the recommended range of 8 to 12% of the used cocoa butter retards blooming, extends shelf life and significantly reduces a product’s sensitivity to higher storage temperatures.

Earlier this month AAK launched AkoPlanet, a range of fats for chocolate and nut-based spread solutions for plant-based categories.