The Big Difference between consuming Fine Cacao Chocolate and Substitute Chocolate

Do we know what the label of the chocolate we are buying it’s telling us? On the following article we explain the difference between chocolate, and what is commonly known as substitute chocolate.

Chocolate, according to the Codex Alimentarius, it’s the one that is obtained through an adequate fabrication process with cacao ingredients that can be combined with dairy products, sugar and / or sweeteners, giving as a result 3 different types of chocolate: black, with milk and white. These 3 types of chocolate have in their composition a minimum percentage of cocoa butter that allows us to call them chocolate. The use of animal fats, which defer from dairy fats, is excluded, and the addition of vegetable fats, different from cacao butter, can not exceed a 5% in the composition of the final product.

In the case of black chocolate, it must contain a minimum of 35% of the total dry extract from the cacao, on its composition between cacao solids and cacao butter. Cacao butter determines the textural qualities of the chocolate through its properties, making it thus a pure chocolate.

Now, with this premise, let’s understand what a substitute chocolate is. A substitute chocolate it’s composed primarily by vegetable fats like palm oil, soy and their derivatives, artificial flavors and a minimum quantity of cocoa powder, ingredients that do not complete the minimum percentage established for it to be defined as chocolate. What is more, its sensory characteristics are very limited, on many cases the cacao taste can’t be found, or it is perceived in a very low amount, differing from a fine cacao aroma chocolate, which has very extensive sensory profiles, thanks to this you’ll immediately find its characteristic taste of pure cacao.For this reason, on these types of products you won’t find the information of how much pure cacao they contain on its labels, because they actually don’t have this ingredient. Another big difference can be found at the moment of tasting the chocolate, a substitute chocolate will take more time to melt inside your mouth, due to the high presence of vegetable fats it contains, which make its fusion point higher.

The fine cacao aroma chocolate has benefits that you won’t find in a substitute chocolate. Thanks to its high percentage of pure cacao, which consumed on a regular basis, will give is beneficial effects for our health like: an improvement of the brain functions, it is a high source of antioxidants, it develops the blood flow, and it lowers arterial pressure. Also, it contributes to low the risk of heart diseases, regulating the levels of cholesterol and fomenting the production of serotonin, hormone that is linked with feeling happiness.

Now, the next time you buy a chocolate, what would you choose?


Carla Estévez, Investigation and Development Manager at República del Cacao