Fat-free chocolate milk processed for the first time with high-pressure jet technology exhibits enhanced viscosity, stabilizing cocoa particles in the fluid and eliminating the need for adding a controversial emulsifier.
That's the conclusion of a team of Penn State researchers in the US, whose study suggests that the new technology can preclude the use of carrageenan in chocolate milk.
The widely used food additive which helps keep the liquid smooth and well-mixed even after days sitting on a store shelf is not desired by many consumers, especially in organic chocolate milk. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of carrageenan, concerns about its safety remain.
"This research is not about being against carrageenan, it's about consumers wanting clean food labels with only ingredients they recognize," said the researchers.
Because the use of high-pressure jet technology to improve the dispersion stability of cocoa provides the industry with a processing alternative to produce clean label, yet stable, low-fat chocolate milk, Penn State has applied for a provisional patent on the process and is working with a dairy food manufacturer to develop and scale it up.