SWEDEN — AAK, a Swedish-Dansih company that is a leading provider of value-adding vegetable oils and fats, has developed Illexao, a new super compound for the chocolate industry.

Illexao is a blend of shea butter and palm oil with the main fat phase of the “super compound” comprising of vegetable fats with a similar composition to cocoa butter.

This means it is fully compatible with cocoa butter, allowing chocolate manufacturers to use it in their products to reduce costs while adding cocoa mass to their formulations.

According to AAK, Illexao can replace up to 100 percent of the free cocoa butter in a chocolate recipe, enabling chocolate manufacturers reduce formulation costs by up to 40 percent with no decline in quality or product stability.

Traditionally, cocoa butter was the only vegetable fat used in chocolate. Still, a combination of increased demand, rising prices, varying quality levels and inconsistent supplies has led chocolate companies to seek alternatives.

Standard compounds are more affordable, but the fat has a different composition – and is not compatible with cocoa butter – leading to sensory differences in the chocolate due to a lower cocoa mass content.

AAK however says that its new super compound delivers equivalent taste, texture and meltdown properties and a similar nutritional profile.

The company further notes that alternative exotic fats can be incorporated in line with the chocolate manufacturer’s preferences.

Apart from making cocoa butter replacement possible, AAK says that its new  “super compound’s” has additional benefits which include increased scope for customization and improved shelf stability, bloom resistance, and shape retention.

Marco Oomen, AAK’s global business director for Chocolate & Confectionery Fats said that the company’s recently concluded research showed that the taste of chocolate is by far the most important factor for consumers.

He further noted that growth of internet shopping has highlighted the need for manufacturers to ensure product quality remains stable during transportation to consumers.

AAK’s research according Oomen makes it important for manufacturers not to cut costs at the expense of taste by using ingredients that are cheaper than cocoa butter but inferior in terms of performance.

Oomen however noted that, by using the right vegetable fat, such as AAK’s Illexao range, to replace some or all of the cocoa butter in the chocolate recipe, it is possible for manufacturers to indulgent chocolate with excellent sensory properties and clean label credentials while saving 10 to 40 percent of ingredient costs.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE