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A tight control along the production steps is critical for valuable ingredients like cocoa as well as the final chocolate products. FT-NIR provides accurate analysis results within seconds for fast decisions to maintain highest quality.



The chemical composition of cocoa beans as well as  cocoa products is complex and will change depending on the processing. The seeds are fermented which causes many chemical changes helping the chocolate flavour to develop and the seeds to change colour. The dried seeds are the raw material for the production of cocoa mass, cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

The qualitative heterogeneity and increasing value and consumption of cocoa products require fast and efficient methods for quality assessment of fermented cocoa beans and cocoa powders. Besides the fat and moisture control, more specific parameters like theobromine, organic acids and phenols are nowadays analyzed by NIR for fermentation quality to decide fast what cocoa batch is useful at a certain time and where to use it.


Chocolate contains valuable ingredients like cocoa powder, cocoa butter, lecithin, milk powders and sugars. The art of chocolate making is the careful mixing of these ingredients to achieve an constant product at optimized cost. A tight quality control along the production steps is therefore critical. FT-NIR provides accurate analysis results of multiple components within seconds.

One example is the determination of fat content in chocolate. The standard reference lab method is Soxhlet extraction which takes at least 2 hours - too slow to react on deviations in the production process. Here, NIR spectroscopy is the preferred method. All ingredients can be analyzed  in less than a minute with MPA II or TANGO spectrometers. Alternatively, fiber optic probes can be used in conjunction  with the on-line spectrometer MATRIX-F. An ideal position for sampling is e.g. at the Conche, before the chocolate is brought into its final form.

Moreover the chocolate can be analyzed as liquor or as the final product. The sample measurement is carried out in seconds using easy to fill disposable polystyrene or glass Petri dishes.

Bakers’ confectionery

Many kinds of sweet baked products are made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, oils, butter; ideal for the analysis with FT-NIR. Moreover, the finished products can be tested for nutritional values. Examples are sweet pastry products, cakes, cookies or biscuits with many different recipes. A challenge can be the sample preparation and presentation which are often not as homogeneous as a plain cookie or biscuit. Pastries for example can be quite heterogeneous with chocolate coatings, fruits and added nuts, confectionery often have cream fillings. Here the sample must be homogenized to derive reliable average values e.g. for checking of labeling claims.

In addition ingredients such as honey, nuts, caramel and  marzipan can be analyzed with the same instrument to secure the requested quality and adjust recipes if required.

Measuring chocolate with the MPA II