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British researchers say they have solved the global chocolate crisis with an ingenious replacement for cocoa butter

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Cocoa supplies are at risk 

British researchers believe they have found a potential solution to the world’s chocolate crisis by discovering wild mango butter could be used as an alternative.

Production of cocoa worldwide is on the decline because of crop failure and diseased and ageing plants, but demand for cocoa is predicted to rise 30 percent by 2020.

Cocoa pods in the Dominican Republic
Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans CREDIT: CLARA MOLDEN FOR THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 

Now scientists at Bangor University think they have the answer in the form of wild mango butter, which is similar to cocoa butter in its chemical, physical and thermal properties.

Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans, and has one of the highest prices of all tropical fats and oils. The price of cocoa butter more than doubled between 2005 and 2015, according to the International Cocoa Organisation.

Study author Sayma Akhter with wild mango fruit
Study author Sayma Akhter with wild mango fruit CREDIT: BANGOR UNIVERSITY 

Sayma Akhter, senior author of the study published in Scientific Reports, said: “Wild mango is one of the so-called ‘Cinderella’ species whose real potential is unrealised.

“The identification of real added value as we have shown in this study, could pluck it from obscurity into mainstream production.”

Mango butter even has some advantages over cocoa butter, with a higher moisture content than cocoa butter,  which could help create low fat chocolate.

Akhter, a postgraduate student at Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, added: “With the support of government and non-governmental organisations, small scale industries could be set up to create a new income source for local people.

“There are many other new products that can come from underutilised fruits which are still waiting for proper attention.”

Another of the report’s authors, Professor Morag McDonald, Head of the School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography,  added: “Going beyond the use to industry, wild fruits like the mango are an important source of food, medicine and income for rural dwellers, but are in decline due to drivers such as deforestation.

“Adding value to underutilised products through processing for products that have market value can generate a valuable incentive for the conservation of such species, and help to generate alternative income sources and reduce household poverty”.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2016 by and tagged , .

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