If you have eaten enough chocolate (seems impossible), then you have probably seen the word “emulsifier” or “emulsifying agent” on the packaging at some point. Many people are uncertain about what this means, and what purpose emulsifiers have.
So, why are emulsifiers used in chocolate? Emulsifiers are used in chocolate to make liquid chocolate thinner. This makes the chocolate easier to work with when making bars and candy. Emulsifiers also keep chocolate ingredients together. This reduces the need for cocoa butter, which is expensive.
Let’s take a closer look at why emulsifiers are used in chocolate. Then, we’ll talk about some common emulsifiers and find out where they come from.
Why Are Emulsifiers Used In Chocolate?
Emulsifiers are used in chocolate to make liquid chocolate thinner. In scientific language, liquid chocolate with an added emulsifier has lower viscosity (viscosity describes a liquid’s thickness and ability to flow).
When emulsifiers are used to make liquid chocolate thinner, it becomes easier to work with the chocolate when:
- tempering the chocolate
- shaping the chocolate into bars, chips, or other shapes
- using the chocolate as a coating for candy, truffles, pastries, etc.
- mixing the chocolate with other ingredients
Emulsifiers also help to hold the ingredients in chocolate together. An emulsifier does this by reducing the friction between cocoa butter and other chocolate ingredients such as sugar, cocoa solids, or powdered milk.
Of course, additional cocoa butter added to chocolate would serve the same purpose of helping the ingredients to stay together. However, cocoa butter is much more expensive than emulsifiers, so they are used as a way to control costs.
What Are Emulsifiers?
According to The Hershey Company website, “An emulsifier is an ingredient that is typically used to keep fat and water from separating in the product…They also facilitate the moulding of chocolates into various shapes.”
An emulsifier has properties of both water and fats, acting as a sort of “glue” that holds water and oil (fat) together. An emulsifier can prevent a little bit of water (due to condensation) from causing chocolate to seize. Seized chocolate h would be bad for a chocolate maker and disastrous for a large chocolate manufacturing operation!
As mentioned above, emulsifiers are often added to chocolate to make it thinner for easier processing by Hershey’s and other chocolate makers. Emulsifiers also help to control costs by replacing cocoa butter, making chocolate more affordable for all.
Examples of Emulsifiers Used in Chocolate
There are a few different emulsifiers that you might see used in chocolate, including lecithin, PGPR, and AMP. Let’s take a closer look at these three and where they are derived from.
According to Wikipedia, lecithin is a fatty substance, found in animal or plant tissues, that attracts both water and fatty substances.
Lecithin is found in egg whites, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and rapeseeds. Lecithin is often derived from all of these sources, but soy lecithin (derived from soybeans) is by far the most common.
Soy lecithin is inexpensive, since it is a waste product of processing soybeans for other purposes (such as producing soybean oil, commonly used in other food products).
One common complaint about the use of lecithin is that it can give chocolate a “waxy” texture and interfere somewhat with flavor.
PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate)
According to Wikipedia, PGPR is an emulsifier, usually made from castor beans (sometimes soybeans or sunflower seeds). PGPR is often used together with lecithin to make chocolate thinner.
PGPR is often used to make chocolate coating a more efficient process. For example, many candy bars need to be coated with a layer of chocolate.
Thinner chocolate makes this step of the process easier, and PGPR with lecithin makes the chocolate thinner.
According to The Hershey Company, “it is used to improve the consistency of chocolate. It improves the flow of chocolate to aid in moulding it into bars.”
AMP (ammonium phosphatide)
AMP, or ammonium phosphatide, is another emulsifier that is sometimes used in chocolate.
Chocolate without Soy Lecithin
If you are looking for chocolate without certain emulsifiers, such as soy lecithin, there are some options for you to consider. Of course, you can generally expect to pay more for specialty foods that are free from allergens or ingredients such as emulsifiers.
Lindt EXCELLENCE Bars (85%, 90%, 95%, 99%)
There are four Lindt chocolate bars that contain no soy lecithin:
- You can find the Lindt EXCELLENCE 85% chocolate bar here.
- You can find the Lindt EXCELLENCE 90% chocolate bar here.
- You can find the Lindt EXCELLENCE 95% chocolate bar here.
- You can find the Lindt EXCELLENCE 99% chocolate bar here.
These four bars are the only Lindt chocolate products that do not contain soy lecithin.
Unfortunately, when it comes to their other products, you’re out of luck. According to the Lindt website, “Soy lecithin can be found in our regular dark chocolate products, as well as milk and white chocolate.”
They also state that although soy lecithin is not added to these four bars, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. This means that the facility for making these four bars is not a dedicated soy-free facility.
Green and Blacks 85% Cacao Bar
The 85% Cacao Bar from Green and Black’s does not contain soy lecithin. You can find Green and Black’s 85% Cacao Bar here.
There are some other dark chocolate bars from Green and Black’s that do not contain soy lecithin, including:
- You can find Green and Black’s Pure Dark chocolate 70% cacao here.
- You can find Green and Black’s Pure Dark chocolate Pure Dark chocolate with Sea Salt here.
- You can find Green and Black’s Pure Dark chocolate Pure Dark chocolate with Salted Caramel here.
- You can find Green and Black’s Pure Dark chocolate Pure Dark chocolate with Almonds here.
- You can find Green and Black’s Pure Dark chocolate Pure Dark chocolate with Raspberry & Hazelnut here.
Unfortunately, when it comes to their other products, you’re out of luck. According to the Green and Black’s website, “Soy lecithin can be found in our Organic products except 85% Cacao Bar and in our Pure Milk chocolate products.”
Enjoy Life Foods
Enjoy Life foods produces chocolate that is free from common allergens, including soy and eggs. This means that they are not using lecithin (derived from soybeans, eggs, or other sources) in their chocolate.
For instance, this rice milk chocolate bar from Enjoy Life Foods is made from unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, and crisped rice.
Peppermint No-Nos from No Whey Foods
Peppermint No-Nos are free from the top 8 allergens, including eggs and soy. However, they do contain sunflower lecithin.
You can check out Peppermint No-Nos on Amazon.
Mint Dark Chocolate Honey Patties from Lovely
These peppermint patties are completely free from all emulsifiers, including lecithin and PGPR. In fact, there are only three ingredients: raw Wisconsin honey, natural peppermint extract, and 99% dark chocolate liquor.
You can check out Lovely Mint Dark Chocolate Honey Patties on Amazon.
HU Vegan Chocolate Bars
These chocolate bars are completely free from emulsifiers, including lecithin and PGPR. They also contain no dairy, palm oil, or gluten.
You can check out HU Vegan Chocolate bars on Amazon.
Equal Exchange Organic Milk Chocolate with Caramelized Sugar
These chocolate bars are completely free from emulsifiers, including lecithin and PGPR. They contain no soy, palm oil, or gluten. However, they do contain milk and hazelnuts.
You can check out Equal Exchange Organic Milk Chocolate with Caramelized Sugar on Amazon.
Artisan Kettle Organic White Chocolate Chips
These white chocolate chips contain milk, but they are free from the other big 8 allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, and gluten. However, these chips do contain sunflower lecithin.
You can check out Artisan Kettle Organic White Chocolate Chips on Amazon.
Chocolate Sea Salt RX Bars
These protein bars have real chocolate in them, but they are not true chocolate bars per se. However, if you are a chocolate lover who is looking for some quick protein after a workout, this could be just the thing.
They are sweetened by dates, held together by eggs, and have some nuts (almonds and cashews) along with chocolate and sea salt for a nice flavor and consistency. You can check out Chocolate Sea Salt RX bars here.
Note that these bars do contain egg whites, which have naturally occurring lecithin. However, there is no soy lecithin or PGPR added to these chocolate protein bars.
How to Make Your Own Chocolate without Soy Lecithin
Of course, if you want to try your hand as a chocolatier (chocolate maker), then you can try to make your own chocolate without soy lecithin. If you get good at it, you might even start making lecithin-free chocolate for family and friends!
For more information, check out this article on chocolate without soy lecithin from Santa Barbara Chocolate.
By now, you have a good idea of why emulsifiers are used in chocolate. You are also familiar with some of the more common emulsifiers. In addition, you know where to find chocolate that does not contain any emulsifiers, if you wish to buy some.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information. If you have any questions about emulsifiers in chocolate, please leave a comment below.