Future Of Chocolate Market

Future Of Chocolate Market

Consumer demand for healthier foods with improved taste and convenience has urged the food industry to develop functional foods added with bioactive ingredients that can supplement basic nutrition (food supplement) or exert a pharmacological effect (nutraceuticals).

Chocolate could be used as an ideal carrier to deliver bioactive ingredients, mainly due to its high acceptability by consumers. However, a drawback of using chocolate as functional food is its high sugar content, which impedes its commercialization with the diabetic population.

Therefore, there is need to develop sugar-free chocolate formulations added with bioactive ingredients. Nevertheless, sugar replacement and bioactive ingredients addition is a major technological challenge that affects texture, rheology, and sensory properties of chocolate. This review is designed as a practical guide for researchers and food industries to develop the next generation of functional chocolates. Different functional chocolate formulations, including sugar-free, are reviewed as potential carriers for the delivery of bioactive compounds.

The physicochemical properties and sensory acceptability of the functional chocolates presented are also highlighted. Finally, future perspectives, such as the use of nanotechnology to improve the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of active ingredients, as well as the need for clinical trials to validate the pharmacological effect of functional chocolates, are also discussed.

Keywords: functional chocolate, nutraceuticals, food supplement, carrier of nutraceuticals, delivery system, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, bioactive ingredients, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Introduction Over time, the population’s diet has been adapting due to socio-economic and demographic changes, leading to the development of novel foods with improved taste, nutrition, and convenience. In this context, the food industry has focused on developing foods that can supplement basic nutrition (food supplements) or foods with pharmacological effect (nutraceuticals) that can aid on the prevention and treatment of chronic and degenerative diseases. These products are known as functional foods and can be obtained by adding bioactive compounds as ingredients to food formulations [2,3]. The basic principle to design functional foods is inspired by the phrase stated by Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher and father of medicine: “Allow your food to be your medicine and your medicine to be your food”. In this context, to develop functional foods, it is of major relevance to identify bioactive ingredients that ensure health benefits either by complementing basic nutrition or by inducing proven health beneficial effects. Examples of these bioactive ingredients include amino acids, proteins, polyphenols, prebiotics, probiotics, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs), carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts, among others.

Furthermore, sensory evaluation is also a key element to evaluate the elaboration process of chocolate and ensure high-quality products that reach consumer’s preferences. Crucial sensory descriptors that determine the acceptability of a chocolate (drivers of liking), include sweetness, melting rate, and sweet aroma; whereas adherence, sandiness, bitterness, and bitter aftertaste are the major drivers of disliking. In general, ingredient composition and processing techniques are essential factors that affect chocolate quality parameters, such as physicochemical properties, rheological behavior, and sensory perception.

Chocolate as Carrier for the Delivery of Bioactive Ingredients As earlier described, consumers’ demand has led to the development of new products with good taste, health benefits, and conveniences. Thus, confectionary products must adapt to these new challenges through reformulation by adding bioactive components. Chocolate is a suitable matrix, because of its organoleptic characteristics and the protective effect that exerts on bioactive compounds during digestion. One of the benefits of using chocolate as carrier for the delivery of bioactive compounds is that it can mask unpleasant flavors. Therefore, bioactive ingredient such as ω-3 PUFAs, probiotics, phenolic extracts, vitamins, and minerals have been successfully added to chocolate formulations [9,11,12,13,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41]. Likewise, chocolate is also used as an ingredient for different food formulations, thus functional chocolates could also be used to fortify different foods. Furthermore, bioactive ingredients present in functional chocolates could also function as preservative to enhance the shelf-life stability of food. Results from previous scientific reports on the development of functional chocolate formulations are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1 Effect of bioactive ingredients addition on the physicochemical and sensory properties of chocolate formulations.

Bioactive Ingredient Chocolate Type Concentration of Bioactive Ingredient Added to the Formulation Main Findings Reference Phenolic compounds White and dark Phenolic extract from cherry fruit was added as powder at 0, 3, 6 or 9% (w/w). Total phenol content and DPPH radical scavenging activity increased as the concentration of the phenolic extract increased. Color, hardness, smell, taste, texture, and overall acceptability was significatively higher when the phenolic extract from peach was added at 3% in the chocolate formulation.

Phenolic extract from mulberry pomace powder was added as powder at 0, 0.5, 1.5 or 2.5% (w/w). Mulberry addition at 1.5% showed the higher score in sensory acceptability. The higher the % of mulberry powder, the higher was the chocolate’s hardness, phenolic and flavonoid content. Phenolic extract addition resulted on a formulation with higher antioxidant activity. Phenolic extract from peach (Fantasia cultivar) was added as powder at 0, 5, 10 or 15% (w/w). Phenolic extract addition (15%) showed a significant increase in flavonoid content and reducing power. Sensory test did not show favorable results (score < 6), because of the bitterness of the peach cultivar.

Black mulberry extract (BME) spray-dried powder (0.05% w/v) encapsulated in chitosan-coated liposomes, was added to natural (pH 4.5) and alkalized cocoa liquors (pH 6 and 7.5) during the last hour of conching at temperatures of 40, 60, and 80 °C, respectively. Chitosan-coated liposomal powders provided better protection of anthocyanins than spray-dried extract and enhanced in vitro bioaccessability.

Phenolic extract from coffee waste was added as powder at 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4% (w/w). Total flavonoid content and radical scavenging activity increased as the coffee powder ratio increased in chocolate formulation. Optimal sensory acceptability was observed in chocolate added with coffee extract at 2%.

Why is chocolate good for your heart?

Can chocolate help your heart?

Chocolate is full of antioxidants that help keep your heart healthy One of the best known health benefits of chocolate is its ability to protect heart health. For example, this study showed that regular consumption of chocolate with a high cocoa content has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in young and healthy adults, “ improving vascular function by reducing central brachial artery pressures and promoting vascular relaxation, and thus enhancing the matching of the arterial system with the left ventricle”. The compounds found in chocolate help protect and promote heart health in two main ways:

3. Chocolate helps lower blood pressure According to this meta analysis, which includes 15 studies, there is “a small but significant effect on the reduction of blood pressure with cocoa products rich in flavanol compared to the control {placebo}”. Dark chocolate flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide in the endothelium (the tissue inside of blood vessels). Nitric oxide, BTW, helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. The result: blood pressure decreases. Other studies suggest that there is a link between a high intake of cocoa or chocolate (about 6 grams per day or 1-2 small squares) and a reduction in the risk of heart disease and mortality. This is possibly due in part to the decrease in blood pressure and inflammation. Try this Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Recipe when you’re craving something warm and cozy

And it can improve blood cholesterol levels There is evidence that dark chocolate and cocoa can help significantly reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) levels and total blood cholesterol. It is believed that cocoa flavan-3-ols inhibit cholesterol absorption and expression of LDL cholesterol receptors. In addition, although this particular study was small, it found that chocolate with a high polyphenol content was effective in improving cholesterol levels that are associated with clogged arteries in patients with diabetes. Apparently, it was able to increase HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) without affecting weight, inflammation markers, insulin resistance or blood glucose control.

Finally, it is also suggested that platelet aggregation, a risk factor for blood clot formation, can be reduced by a mechanism that is probably due to the theobromine in dark chocolate. Theobromine is a caffeine-like cocoa substance, which also acts as a central nervous system stimulant, in addition to providing benefits to the circulatory system. Fun fact: The term theobromine is derived from Theobroma, which in Greek means “food of the gods.” Very appropriate, since chocolate is simply divine!

Is chocolate good for your brain?

Does chocolate improve memory? You bet! The health benefits of chocolate also extend to the brain. For example, it helps improve cognitive function and release nerve growth factors in the body. The flavonoids it contains are absorbed, penetrate and accumulate in the regions of the brain involved with learning and memory, especially in the hippocampus. In this research paper, it was demonstrated that “cocoa rich in flavanol can increase cerebral blood flow to gray matter, suggesting the potential of cocoa flavanols for the treatment of vascular insufficiency, including dementia and stroke… “

Another of the main ways in which dark chocolate affects the brain is due to its tryptophan content. Tryptophan is an amino acid necessary for the formation of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that participates in positive moods and feelings. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that create feelings of pleasure.

Why does chocolate make you happy?

So how does chocolate improve mood? Chocolate is also a food source of compounds that resemble anandamide, a messenger molecule that is involved in pain, depression and memory (also known as the “bliss molecule”). It is believed that these chocolate compounds, upon reaching the brain, can induce a mild, natural and temporary “high.” Another compound found in dark chocolate is theobromine, which as we just saw, is very similar to caffeine. Both the theobromine and caffeine content in chocolate can contribute to the feeling of alertness, and tends to improve mood, concentration and memory.

Chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, as we saw above. Magnesium is a mineral that can help reduce stress by suppressing the release of its hormone: cortisol. Now we can understand why we reach for “something chocolate-