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Chemometrics - Articles and news items

NIRS of chocolate and its chemometric analysis

Issue 6 2012  •  11 January 2013  •  Jürgen Stohner, Brenno Zucchetti, Fabian Deuber and Fabian Hobi, ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ICBC Institute of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry and Bernhard Lukas and Manfred Suter, Max Felchlin AG

In today’s modern society, chocolate has been established as a premium lifestyle food product. Besides oil and coffee, cocoa is one of the most valuable commodities of global trade. About four per cent of cocoa beans traded on the world market originate from the noble criollo bean and are the basis of the so-called premium grand cru products (for more information, see www.icco.org). Due to fluctuating prices on the stock market and a current high price close to USD 2500 per tonne, chocolate manufacturers demand an efficient, reliable and speedy method for product and quality control. We report here on the analysis of cocoa with the help of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy in the wavenumber range from about 4000 to 12000 cm-1 combined with chemometrics to determine the fat, protein, sugar and water content in chocolate base.

It is not just the flavour components of chocolate that largely influence the quality of chocolate – fat, protein, sugar and water also contribute to the desired mouth-feel, melting behaviour and flavour release. The quality of chocolate is significantly influenced by the content of the four constituents, namely fat, protein, sugar and water. It is, therefore, of great importance to develop and refine precise and reliable analytical methods to determine their amount in chocolate. The concentrations of these components are currently largely determined through costly analysis by external laboratories, which also delays the production process.

 

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