Extend The Chocolate Shelf Life By Overcoming The Heat-Stable Challenge In Hot-Climate Markets

Monday, May 9th, 2022

The increased chocolate consumption in hot climate markets in regions such as Latin America, Southern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are creating growth opportunities for chocolate producers. However, these big markets also hold big challenges, as the properties of chocolate change in hot climates.

By Nikesh Hindocha, Asia Chocolate & Confectionery Segment Lead, AAK

When exposed to temperatures above 30°C, chocolate starts to melt, creating an undesirable appearance and messy eating experience. Having a good shelf-stable with resistance to heat is one of the most important considerations for chocolate producers for succeeding in these markets.

Maximize shelf life, minimize risk

In these markets, there is often a lack of sufficient capacities to keep the chocolate cool during transportation from production to the supermarket, and all the way home to the consumer. Chocolate producers and retailers have tried to find the perfect path using packaging, cooling shelves, cold chains, and other heat-stabilizing solutions, but this often comes at a high cost and with trade-offs.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many consumers are shifting towards online shopping which has accelerated digital transformation. However, this also poses additional challenges for the manufacturers as courier service provider has become one of the popular transporters transporting chocolate products to consumers as opposed to traditional distribution channels via cold chain truck to supermarkets. The visual and eating experience can result in expensive quality complaints and a compromised brand experience for the consumer, so it is extremely crucial to minimize this risk.


Heat stability in chocolate products

Cocoa butter has a unique composition and physical properties. Together with cocoa liquor, cocoa butter provides chocolate with its very characteristic flavour and eating qualities such as melt-down and flavour release. Designed for warm climates the ILLEXAO™ HS products raise the melting point of the chocolate, enabling it to withstand elevated temperatures. In warm climates the problem of softening and blooming on chocolate is well-known; however, with the ILLEXAO™ HS range it is possible to raise the hardness of chocolate at higher storage temperatures without tampering with the melting properties of the chocolate. At the same time, the bloom stability will increase at an elevated temperature and/or a cycling temperature.

Make compound coatings easy and efficient

Throughout the confectionery and baking industries, there is a never-ending quest to develop products that mimic the flavour, texture and appearance of chocolate. Where real chocolate is not an option due to either cost or technical limitations, compound coatings become the alternative of choice.

Did you know?

Cocoa Butter Substitutes (CBS) and Cocoa Butter Replacers (CBR) are mainly used for making compound which is easier to process and more cost-efficient as these fats do not need to be tempered compared to cocoa butter. The high number of different cocoa butter alternatives opens limitless opportunities to tailor heat stability, gloss, bloom stability and crystallization time according to the manufacturers’ needs and, ultimately, the consumer.

When determining the melting point and hardness of compounds, CBS and CBR secure ultimate flexibility essential for obtaining good heat stability and accommodating the needs of various applications. However, with the extreme fluctuation of temperature in supply chain channel amidst e-commerce delivery in hot climate markets, solution using simple hydrogenated palm kernel oil (HPKO) or hydrogenated palm kernel stearin (HPKS) do not suffice.

Longer shelf life by overcoming the heat-stable challenge amidst booming e-commerce trends


AAK has developed a range of heat-stable solutions for compound application, especially for hot climate regions like Southeast Asia. Many compound producers face-melting challenges especially during transportation when daytime temperature can be as high as 40 o  C. One of the AAK heat-stable solutions – SILKO™ NH 51 is designed to have supreme heat resistance where it can withstand up to 42 o  C.

With good heat stability, it means the product will remain intact instead of melting and sticking onto the wrapper. This is crucial because the quality and eating experience of a sweet treat must deliver not only a good unique sensory but visually appealing with good shape retention. HPKS can be partially replaced by SILKO™ NH 51 to provide better heat stable compound product without significant change in sensory comparing to using 100% HPKS.


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