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Sweet solutions: Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS) – The potential game changer in chocolate making

Posted: Jul 07, 2024 5 minute read GAR 14 Likes

A bar of chocolate is a universal symbol of indulgence. But behind the sweetness lies a not-so-sweet reality – volatile cocoa butter prices and the impact of climate change on cocoa production threaten the future of everyone’s favourite treat.

Enters Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS), a palm-derived innovation that could revolutionise chocolate making. Explore with our R&D expert the potential of this ingredient to impact the future of chocolates.

Why look for alternatives? The bittersweet truth about cocoa butter

The story behind this sweet treat isn’t as simple as it seems. Cocoa butter, a fat extracted from cocoa bean, plays a crucial role in creating the luxurious texture and delightful melt-in-your-mouth sensation we associate with chocolates. However, cocoa butter presents a number of challenges for chocolate makers.
Cocoa Butter Substitute - GAR Stories

One major concern is the price. Cocoa butter is a precious and expensive fat, susceptible to wild price swings. The root of this volatility lies in the climatic challenges faced by plantations in Africa, which supply the vast majority of the world’s cocoa. From unpredictable weather patterns to disease and pests, these factors can significantly disrupt cocoa bean yields and the supply chain. Chocolate producers must adapt and innovate to navigate these uncertainties in order to secure a stable supply and continue production to fulfill market demand.

Beyond the price, cocoa butter’s unique properties require a specific tempering process to achieve the desired texture and in chocolates. This process, especially in a larger production scale, can be time-consuming and limit production flexibility for some manufacturers. Alternatives like CBS can offer a more efficient and adaptable approach to chocolate making.

Beyond the substitute: What our R&D says about CBS

CBS has emerged as a potential game-changer for the chocolate industry.

We spoke to our Fat-Based Product Senior Technologist, Mochammad Hirza, at GAR’s Marunda R&D facility to explore more about this ingredient and its exciting possibilities.

Hirza (right) and his team experiment with chocolate to see how they perform under different conditions and find the most efficient and consistent production processes

Palm-derived CBS shares physical similarities with cocoa butter and can be used to replace 100 percent cocoa butter in chocolate production. Thanks to palm oil characteristic as a perennial crop, CBS also offers steady, year-round production, with stability of supply and cost-effectiveness compared to other cocoa butter alternatives, such as coconut oil.

“CBS isn’t just a cost-effective alternative – it offers a unique set of advantages that can improve chocolate production,” Hirza said. Here’s what he highlighted:


Stability and Resistance

Unlike cocoa butter, CBS offers good oxidative stability, heat resistance, and a longer shelf life. This makes it suitable for tropical climates and makes it easier to produce consistent results, batch after batch, translating to improved production efficiency.


Tempering Flexibility

Compared to cocoa butter, CBS requires no tempering due to its ability to solidify quickly. This allows for time and cost effectiveness, leading higher capacity output in the production line.


Broad Applications and Potentials

CBS’s excellent melting properties and quick crystallisation make it great for moulding and coating products. It unlocks new possibilities for chocolate and confectionery applications. CBS can also be used as dairy alternatives, such as non-dairy creamer and non-dairy whipped cream.

Can CBS replicate the “real deal”?

This is a major concern for both chocolate producers and consumers alike. After all, chocolate is a sensory experience – the rich taste, the satisfying snap, the smooth melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The good news is: yes, in most aspects.

“Through the process of fractionation and hydrogenation, CBS comes surprisingly close to cocoa butter.

Fractionation separates palm kernel oil into various components that allow scientists to isolate the desired fat molecules. Hydrogenation then modifies these molecules to achieve a similar hardness, mouthfeel, and glossy appearance as cocoa butter,” Hirza explained.

But does it taste the same?

Hirza further added that CBS can mimic the fat profile of cocoa butter, releasing flavour profile in a similar way. However, some with discerning palates might detect subtle differences in depth of flavour.

“CBS offers an alternative trans-fat free solution for chocolate makers, opening doors for creativity, control, and potentially, a more sustainable future for chocolate production.”

CBS isn’t an exact replica of cocoa butter, but it offers a compelling alternative especially for those who want to maintain a similar texture, mouthfeel, and appearance. Ultimately, the choice depends on the desired final product and the specific priorities of the chocolate maker.

Unlocking CBS innovations at our R&D centre

Hirza showcasing a tray of expertly crafted chocolate made from innovative CBS solutions

At GAR, we are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of chocolate creation. That’s why we’ve invested in a state-of-the-art R&D facility in Marunda, Indonesia. Staffed by a team of passionate experts, we specialise in developing innovative CBS solutions.Here’s what sets our R&D efforts apart:

  • Advanced testing and analysis

We conduct application tests to ensure our CBS meets diverse chocolate production needs. “We experiment with temperature, pressure, reaction time, and ingredient mixes to find the most efficient process, then test repeatedly to ensure consistent, high-quality results,” Hirza explained.

  • Tailored solutions

We understand each manufacturer has unique needs, so we develop customised CBS formulations to improve bloom resistance, heat stability, or specific melting profiles. Hirza stated, “Our speciality fat database details various fats’ properties, helping us quickly identify and create precise fat solutions for our customers.”

  • Continuous improvement

Innovation is at the heart of what we do. By staying ahead of industry trends and regulatory standards, we continuously refine our CBS formulations to offer healthier, more sustainable alternatives without compromising on quality or taste.

With a keen focus on excellence, our R&D team makes sure that CBS solutions meet the highest standards.

With expert leadership like Mochammad Hirza and a dedicated team, we offer cutting-edge CBS solutions that improve your product offerings and streamline your production process.

As we celebrate World Chocolate Day on 7 Jul, there’s no better time to reflect on the future of chocolates. Incorporating CBS into your production can be one way to build a sustainable and delicious future for chocolate lovers everywhere. Embrace this innovative solution and lead the way in delivering high-quality, healthier chocolate products.

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Ready to explore the potential of CBS in your chocolate products? Visit our Products & Services page to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you stay ahead in the chocolate industry.

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