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Cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients in chocolates. It is responsible for dark, milk and white chocolates’ glossy appearance, texture, and melt properties. However, cocoa butter is often the most expensive in chocolate products, and consumers are increasingly price-sensitive. Cocoa butter alternatives like Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE) can reduce costs. This article will help you understand what CBE is, its applications in chocolates, and the new CBE Choco® NE50 produced by Musim Mas Group.

What is Cocoa Butter Equivalent?

CBE is derived from palm oil and typically contains one or more exotic vegetable fats, i.e., shea, illipe, kokum, and sal butter. These fat components are carefully selected to resemble the triacylglycerol composition of cocoa butter.

What are the Applications for Cocoa Butter Equivalent?

According to the European Union Chocolate Directive 2000/36/EC, adding up to 5%wt (percentage by weight) of CBE is allowed in chocolate. Other markets differ in terms of the proportion of dry cocoa solids and cocoa butter required, so a higher proportion of CBE might be possible. In some countries, if the dry cocoa solids and a certain percentage of cocoa butter are met, local regulation permits a higher percentage of CBE. Another application is for supercoatings, where CBE fully replaces cocoa butter in recipes.

Without exotic vegetable fat, it was only possible to use a small percentage of normal-grade fractionated palm oil in chocolate because it is not fully compatible with cocoa butter. There are many technical difficulties related to working viscosity, tempering, de-moulding properties, and shelf stability of the chocolates.

Introducing CBE Choco® NE50

By adopting a multi-stage fractionation technology, we can produce new CBE without exotic vegetable fats, and use only palm oil instead, which is rich in palmitic symmetrical monounsaturated triacylglycerols (SUS) – new Musim Mas CBE Choco® NE50 is one such product, and it is compatible and miscible with cocoa butter in any proportion.

CBE Choco® NE50 can replace 5%wt of cocoa butter in chocolates or even fully replace cocoa butter in supercoatings (refer to the proposed recipe in Table 1).

Table 1. Chocolates and supercoatings recipe containing CBE Choco® NE50.

Ingredient Chocolate (%) Supercoating (%)
Sugar 39.5 39.5
Cocoa Mass 40.0 16.0
Cocoa Butter 10.0
Cocoa Powder 5.0 6.0
Skimmed Milk Powder 11.0
CBE Choco® NE50 5.0 27.0
Emulsifier: Lecithin 0.5 0.5
Vanillin / Vanilla Flavouring ++ ++
Total 100.0 100.0

CBE Choco® NE50 Can Help Retain Quality and Improve the Sensory Properties

Both chocolates and supercoatings require tempering, and it is crucial that CBE has no or minimal impact on the chocolate’s working viscosity. Good tempering is determined by using a temper meter and achieving a temper index of 4 – 6. CBE Choco® NE50 makes it easier to achieve this optimal temper index. When good tempering is achieved, good de-moulding (mould release) properties, surface gloss, snap and hardness can be expected. CBE Choco® NE50 also helps supercoatings achieve good gloss retention at room temperature (20 oC and 25 oC), and retain their quality and sensory properties due to its high palmitic symmetrical monounsaturated triacylglycerols content. Supercoatings based on CBE Choco® NE50 demonstrate good melting properties, non-waxiness, and excellent chocolate flavor release (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Sensory spidergram of supercoatings based on CBE Choco® NE50 and standard CBE

Musim Mas Enables Confectionery Innovations

In a typical chocolate formulation, it can contain 10 – 15% of added cocoa butter. Confectionery manufacturers are replacing cocoa butter with CBEs derived from fractionated palm oil and exotic vegetable fat because of price and functionality. On the other hand, there is an increased demand for exotic vegetable fats in all areas, including non-food industries. CBE Choco® NE50 is an optimal solution for a more sustainable alternative to cocoa butter.

“As the confectionery market is moving towards affordable premiumization and indulgence, palm-based CBE could be a better option, both in terms of sustainable supply and consistent quality,” said Fifiani, R&D Manager of PT Musim Mas. CBE Choco® NE50 is trans-fat-free and shows no considerable difference in taste and sensory properties than standard CBE.

Musim Mas Group is a leading sustainable palm oil producer. The integrated palm oil corporation is the first major palm oil group to be fully certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil for all its plantations with mills. Musim Mas aspires to be a responsible leader, driving a new era of sustainability in the industry with innovation. To that end, the Group is taking active steps to exceed industry-recognized sustainability standards and will continue to respond to critical industry issues to contribute to a more sustainable industry and world. To find out more about our CBE Choco ® NE50 and other specialty fat ranges, contact us at for more info.