Soy lecithin remains the most frequently used ingredient to lower the viscosity of liquid chocolate masses during processing. This however presents manufacturers with a number of challenges.
For a start, obtaining non-GM (genetically modified) soy lecithin with a full Identity Preserved (IP) status is a growing problem, due to limited supplies on the world market.
Palsgaard however claims that its 4201 product is non-GM, enabling manufacturers to tap current consumer concerns.
Indeed, the issue of genetically modified crops still divides opinion, nowhere more so than in Europe. The Commission has, to date, asked EU members over ten times to vote on authorising a GMO food or feed product, but in the large majority of cases, there was no agreement or simple deadlock.
In addition, European consumers are waking up to the dangers of hydrogenated fats. These are oils that have been processed through a chemical hardening method to achieve increased stiffness of the liquid oils.
The process can create trans fatty acids, which interfere with metabolic absorption efficiencies and tend to congregate at adipose tissue sites. In addition, they have effectively been linked to higher blood levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease.
Palsgaard says that another advantage of its 4201 ester is that it is free of hydrogenated fats. In fact, Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent.
Palsgaard also claims that its product has functional advantages. Dosages of lecithin higher than 0.4 per cent increase the yield value of the chocolate mass, making it necessary either to add extra cocoa butter or PGPR to the chocolate.
"Palsgaard 4201 has the unique property that it lowers both the viscosity of the chocolate mass and the yield value," said Palsgaard group manager Hans Henrik Wikman.
"This means that the chocolate industry can further reduce total fat content by using this new 'double function' emulsifier. Due to its special chemical composition, the ability of Palsgaard 4201 to lower the viscosity in chocolate systems is much improved by comparison with the standard citric acid esters otherwise found on the market."
Another interesting feature of Palsgaard 4201, claims the firm, is its ability to function as a wetting agent in instant chocolate drink powder. According to the company, trials show that the new citric acid ester has an equivalent effect to soya lecithin when tested in a milk system.
Another advantage is that Palsgaard 4201 is relatively low in viscosity, and thereby easier to spray through the nozzle system in comparison with soya lecithin, which typically needs to be heated to reduce viscosity. The observations with instant chocolate drink powders open up the possibility of using Palsgaard 4201 as an instantising agent for other powdered food preparations intended for re-hydration in water or milk.