AAK has launched COBAO Pure, a new cocoa butter with improved bloom-retarding effects.

COBAO Pure delays migration and heat-related bloom, extending the shelf life between 50 and 400 percent depending on recipe, processing techniques and storage conditions.

Blooming is a whitening that can occur over the shelf life of a product, especially if it is stored at varying temperatures – something that is difficult for chocolate manufacturers to control once the product has left their factory. While it is not dangerous, blooming is unsightly and may be unappetizing for consumers. It also has a negative impact on the overall sensory quality of the chocolate.

Milk fat is commonly used as a bloom retarder but presents a number of challenges that COBAO Pure helps to solve. Unlike milk fat, for example, COBAO Pure will not change the sensory qualities of the end product or cause excessive softening. This means it is especially suitable for dark chocolate applications. It is also free from lactose and other allergens, providing an excellent option for the growing free-from category. 

COBAO Pure is a fully deodorized 100 percent cocoa butter that is compatible with other cocoa butters and needs only to replace an amount of the existing cocoa butter in a recipe. On-pack, it can be labelled “cocoa butter,” in contrast to milk fat and other anti-blooming agents like cocoa butter equivalents and emulsifiers, which require a separate declaration on the ingredients list. 

The shelf life of a standard dark chocolate is usually 10 to 12 months, but tests show this can fall to as low as one to three months when storage temperatures rise by just 2–3°C. However, the addition of COBAO Pure in the recommended range of 8 to 12 percent of the used cocoa butter retards blooming, extends shelf life and significantly reduces a product’s sensitivity to higher storage temperatures.

“Consumers expect products to look as good as they taste so blooming poses a risk to revenue and brand perception,” says Marco Oomen, AAK’s global business director for chocolate and confectionery fats. “As a product moves down the supply chain, storage temperatures can fluctuate, so an effective bloom retarder is a must. COBAO Pure delivers excellent bloom-retarding capabilities without the formulation and labelling drawbacks of some other ingredients. It’s an exciting new solution that is set to make a real, positive difference in the chocolate category.”