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Physiochemical Parameters

Cocoa Solids (% by mass)

An important factor in determining the intensity of a chocolate’s taste is the cocoa content, including the cocoa mass and the cocoa butter. Cocoa solids are a mixture of many substances remaining after the cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans. Cocoa solids can range from a light brown to a deep reddish-brown colour.

  • Cocoa solids were found in the range of 50.42 per cent –74.02 per cent by mass, meeting the products’ claims.
  • Ritter Sport had the highest percentage of cocoa solids among the ‘dark bitter’ chocolates; Amul had the most in the ‘dark’ category.

Total Fat

As per Indian Standards and FSS Regulations, the total fat – that is, the sum of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats – in this category of chocolate should not be less than 25 per cent by mass. .

  • All the brands complied with the minimum requirement for total fat.
  • Ritter Sport was found to contain the highest percentage of total fat, followed by Delaviuda. Amul had the least percentage of total fat.

Sugar (Sucrose)

Sugar (sucrose) gives a natural sweet taste and uniform texture to the product. As per Indian Standards, sugar should not be more than 60 per cent by mass. No limit for sugar content has been specified in FSS Regulations. Less sugar is considered to be better.

  • All the brands were found within the limit specified for sugar content.
  • Ritter Sport contained the minimum amount of sugar and hence was rated higher. Cadbury Bournville has the most amount of sugar among the tested brands.

Moisture Content

Moisture content is defined as the percentage of water in a product. Moisture is found in almost every food product in some quantity, but its higher presence can affect the shelf life of the product. There is no specific requirement for moisture in the national standards for chocolate.

  • All the brands contained less than one per cent moisture content. It ranged between 0.42 per cent and 0.70 per cent. Highest moisture content was found in Moser Roth and the lowest was in Delaviuda.

Ash-Insoluble Ash

As per Indian Standards and FSS Regulations, it should not more than 0.2 per cent by mass.

  • All the brands were found within the permissible limit for acid-insoluble ash.
  • Lindt followed by Ritter Sport were found with the lowest percentage of acid-insoluble ash and hence scored higher.

Vegetable Fat

As per the national standards, chocolate shall not contain any vegetable fat other than cocoa butter.

  • Vegetable fat was not found in any of the brands, indicating they were free from adulteration

Heavy Metal – Lead

It was not detected in any of the tested brands.

Neutralisation Agent

Neutralising agents are food additives used to change or otherwise control the acidity or alkalinity of foods.

  • Neutralising agent was not detected in any of the tested brands.

Rancidity

The chocolate shall be free from rancidity or other off odour.

  • No rancidity was detected in any of the tested brands.

Synthetic Food Colour

It was not detected in any of the tested brands.


Microbiological Activity

Microbiological contamination is a very serious issue for all food products. We conducted this test for presence of yeast and mould, E. coli, S. aureus, Shigella, and Salmonella. These microorganisms are responsible for many food-borne diseases. Due to improper or poor hygienic condition during the manufacturing process, microorganisms may occur in the finished product. The Indian Standards have specified limits for microbiological activity. It is advisable that after opening the packet either you consume the complete chocolate or you store it in proper conditions to reduce the risk of microbiological contamination.

Microbiological contamination

Microbiological contamination is a very serious issue for all food products. We conducted this test for presence of yeast and mould, E. coli, S. aureus, Shigella, and Salmonella. These microorganisms are responsible for many food-borne diseases. Due to improper or poor hygienic condition during the manufacturing process, microorganisms may occur in the finished product. The Indian Standards have specified limits for microbiological activity. It is advisable that after opening the packet either you consume the complete chocolate or you store it in proper conditions to reduce the risk of microbiological contamination.

  • All the brands were found safe to consume. The microbes tested were well below the maximum permissible limits specified in Indian Standards.


Sensory Attributes

Sensory (organoleptic) panel tests were conducted to judge the chocolates on these attributes: appearance, texture, taste, flavour, odour, and after-taste feeling. Ratings were given on a scale of 5 – 5 for ‘most liked’ and 1 for ‘least liked’. The ratings were then converted into scores.

Sensory (organoleptic) panel tests

  • Moser Roth and Lindt topped in the overall sensory scores in their respective categories.
  • Amul and Delaviuda were less liked in their respective categories.


General Qualities

Packaging

The chocolate should be wrapped in aluminium foil, printed or otherwise, and may be lined with glassine or greaseproof paper of food grade. It may be over-wrapped. Lindt, Amul, Moser Roth, and Delaviuda were wrapped in aluminium foil and packed in hard paper. Cadbury Bournville and Ritter Sport were wrapped in aluminium foil and packed in polyethene.

Marking and Labelling

As per the requirement, the chocolate shall be clearly and indelibly marked with information on: name and type of material, manufacturer’s address, batch or code number, net quantity, list of ingredients in descending order of composition, month and year of manufacture, red/green dot, declaration of minimum cocoa content/milk solid contents, and ‘best before’ date.

  • Except for Lindt and Moser Roth, which did not mark green /red dot indicating vegetarian/non-vegetarian status, all the other brands marked the required information on their packaging. It is mandatory to mark green/red dot on a food product.
  • Ritter Sport added traces of egg and carried the red dot on its label.
  • All the brands mentioned the percentage of cocoa solids added.

Product Net Weight

The chocolate was weighed without packaging material and compared with the declared value.

  • All the brands were found to be above the declared weight.