Moisture and Fat Analysis in Chocolate

The chocolate market is definitely one of the largest snack food market and one of the most varied. Chocolate manufacturing companies face increased pressure to fulfil customer expectations and appropriate yields of moisture and fat. Each step in cocoa bean processing has to be regulated for fat, moisture or both in order to ensure proper grinding, grading and pressing. Added ingredients, changes in bean source, roasting and a number of other variables can result in changes in the final product that needs to be consistent for consumers and suppliers.

Liquor producers need to maintain the right moisture or risk a product with flavour defects or high viscosity and pressing needs to be carefully controlled to create the precise fat level in cocoa powder or cake. There are several steps in the manufacturing process, which can benefit from a precise test of moisture and fat; however, most products cannot handle the range of product and changes encountered in this industry.

CEM’s FAST Trac can analyze both powder and low moisture level products for moisture while determining measuring fat from 0-100%.

With FAST Trac from CEM, fat and moisture can be precisely and rapidly tested at different production levels and on any material.

TD-NMR capabilities are not just the most precise method available, but also can test fat and moisture in liquor, powder or finished form. By studying the complete sample on a molecular level not just the surface, real time results are ensured. Furthermore, NMR never needs calibration eliminating the possibility of drifting of results and saving time over the instrument life when compared to a typical NIR system.


The FAST Trac is an advanced NMR system developed by CEM that can study fat and moisture simultaneously, precisely testing products throughout the cocoa manufacturing process. The FAST Trac is the only system commercially available to use an NMR magnet for simultaneous fat and moisture analysis of powder ingredients, raw beans, liquor, and finished cocoa powders.

The FAST Trac uses official AOAC techniques for dairy products and is more accurate than FTIR, NIR, and FT- NIR systems in independent studies. Its accuracy is as good as longer reference methods, FAST Trac gives results in below 2mins, rapid enough to make real-time production adjustments, improving yield or developing an enhanced formulation.

There is also no need for dangerous solvents or glassware needed by reference technology. There are also no expensive calibrations needed to maintain accuracy. Once method creation is done, a process takes only three samples and one hour, changes to color, source, granularity, additives or texture has no impact on results and there is no change in results over time.

Key Features

The key features of the FAST Trac are:

  • 2-minute analyses using new QuikPrep™ Technology (patent-pending) for rapid sample conditioning
  • IFM™ Technology (Interference-Free Moisture) for reliable moisture determinations regardless of fat concentration
  • Accuracy that can be compared to standard methods
  • More precise and robust when compared to NIR
  • Calibrations are simple to create and are insensitive to additives, sample color, and granularity Intuitive software and easy-to-use touch screen interface

Results Analysis

The results are shown in Table 1.

Raw Cocoa Bean

Sample # Moisture Reference Moisture Results Moisture Error Fat Reference Fat Results Fat Error
1 7.22 7.24 0.02 44.97 45.10 0.13
2 7.17 0.05 44.68 0.29
3 7.30 0.08 45.42 0.45
4 7.26 0.04 45.19 0.22
5 7.18 0.06 44.72 0.25
Average 7.23 0.01 45.02 0.05

Cocoa Powder

Sample # Moisture Reference Moisture Results Moisture Error Fat Reference Fat Results Fat Error
1 5.94 5.90 0.04 11.25 11.35 0.10
2 5.92 0.02 11.31 0.06
3 5.94 0.00 11.24 0.01
4 5.93 0.01 11.34 0.09
5 5.91 0.03 11.26 0.01
Average 5.92 0.02 11.30 0.05

Cocoa Liquor

Sample # Moisture Reference Moisture Results Moisture Error Fat Reference Fat Results Fat Error
1 2.65 2.58 0.07 53.39 53.47 0.08
2 2.59 0.08 53.52 0.13
3 2.56 0.09 53.39 0.00
4 2.64 0.01 53.42 0.03
5 2.63 0.02 53.51 0.12
Average 2.60 0.05 53.46 0.07

Method Development

The FAST Trac is dependent on reference chemistry to initially develop a method, so every method correlates to the reference values themselves. Between three and eight samples, representing different fat and moisture levels, are analyzed in triplicate on the FAST Trac, building a linear correlation curve against the reference values. Once the most representative points are designated, the method is complete and ready for real-time analysis.

The samples below were collected from CEM Customers and the methods were created in CEM’s laboratory. For fat and moisture results, Soxhlet extraction and forced air oven drying was utilized, respectively. Each sample was tested in triplicate to ensure accuracy.


The FAST Trac precisely and accurately determines moisture and fat content in raw beans, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and liquor. The ability of the system to yield accurate results without concern for color or composition changes make FAST Trac the right choice for all phases of chocolate production.

About CEM Corporation

CEM is a company based on innovation that touches many different industries and scientific disciplines. It helped pioneer the field of microwave chemistry and has long been recognized for its expertise on the subject through publications and awards.

For more than 35 years, CEM has been designing and developing laboratory instruments and scientific methods (both microwave-based and non- microwave technologies) that are used by major companies, prestigious research institutes, and universities around the world.

CEM is the largest provider of microwave laboratory systems worldwide and has sold over 35,000 systems. The company also has the largest portfolio of microwave technology patents worldwide with over 300 patents. It has subsidiaries in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan and distributors in over 50 countries.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CEM Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit CEM Corporation.


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