Sustainable packaging solutions for preserving the quality of oxidation-prone chocolate


Fiber-coated paper packaging for chocolate

Melted chocolate in a glass dish, cocoa powder in a wooden scoop, a large cocoa bean with shell and small cocoa beans without shell, dark broken chocolate and a stack of chocolate bars decorated with a cinnamon stick and star anise
© / beats3

Sustainable and protective chocolate packaging

Vegan and milk chocolate both contain physiologically valuable unsaturated fats. The quality of these products, particularly the color and taste, can deteriorate through chemical processes such as oxidation and the Maillard reaction. The extent to which these processes take effect, however, can be minimized with specially designed packaging. Composite film packaging with specialized barrier layers is not usually a sustainable option, as it is complex to recycle. On the other hand, bio-based recyclable or compostable packaging often does not provide the functionality or essential protection required for highly susceptible products. Fiber-based coatings with strong flavor and oxygen barriers offer a promising alternative.

Bio-based packaging for vegan and milk-based chocolate

The ChocoPack joint research project aims to develop packaging optimized for chocolate, using paper and card with specialized fiber coatings to create strong flavor and oxygen barriers. The fiber coating can be removed through recycling processes and thereby reused.

To meet packaging requirements, Fraunhofer IVV is producing vegan and milk-based chocolate samples and subjecting them to storage tests in order to assess susceptibility to oxygen, moisture, temperature and light. For this purpose, a pilot plant was created to house chocolate production facilities as well as laboratories equipped with technology to measure changes in quality in both the raw materials and the finished chocolate. The results collected will be used to set requirements for the barrier properties of fiber-based packaging to ensure optimum quality preservation.

Fiber-based barrier coatings for preserving chocolate quality

To achieve this aim, Belgian research partner Celabor has produced cost-effective fiber-based packaging and used it to package chocolate. A storage test will be conducted to assess the shelf life of the chocolate products in their new packaging.

Ensuring that the new packaging conforms to regulations also forms part of this research project: As well as evaluating the barrier properties in relation to moisture and oxygen, prevention of flavor component and mineral oil migration will also be assessed and measured.

Overall, the project sets out to map the spoilage process of vegan and milk-based chocolates, and to develop and test a sustainable packaging concept optimized to combat this.

Developing sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging will benefit all chocolate and packaging producers, and it may even be useful for other susceptible products.

Project term:

2022 to 2024

Project management / funding:

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF, via Industry Association for Food Technology and Packaging IVLV), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Actions, Cornet / IGF international

Project partners:

  • Fraunhofer IVV, DE
  • Celabor, BE
Funding logo BMWK
IGF logo
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