Cargill patents new cocoa processing method
processing cocoa which allows for reduced fat content and greater
dispersibility in cocoa powder.
The process, which was awarded a patent last week, decreases the fat content in cocoa mass using a solvent and adds a dispersing agent to the reduced-fat mass - ultimately producing a more user-friendly product which will appeal to manufacturers. Traditional methods of extracting cocoa powder from the cocoa bean are complex and difficult. Common practice involves processing the bean into cocoa nibs and then cocoa liquor. The liquor is then further treated to separate the components cocoa butter from cocoa powder. This is usually done by pressing the liquor, leaving a solid mass which is cooled and milled to produce the fine powder used in confectionery and beverage applications. However, in pressing the liquor into a cake-like form, residual cocoa butter can be left in the resulting powder - rendering it lumpy and insoluble when mixed with water or milk as in chocolate-flavoured drinks. While most manufacturers add a dispersing agent such as lecithin to prevent this problem this increases production costs and raises the fat content of the final product. Cargill's solution of adding a dispersing agent to a solvent cocoa mass claims to provide more uniform mixing properties, reduce costs, offer manufacturers more flexibility in their choice of dispersing agents and lower the fat content.