Chocolate is a range of foods derived from cocoa (cacao), mixed with fat (e.g., cocoa butter) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid confectionery. There are several types of chocolate, classified according to the proportion of cocoa used in a particular formulation.

The use of particular name designations is sometimes subject to international governmental regulation. Some governments assign chocolate solids and ranges of chocolate differently.


The cocoa bean (or other alternative) products from which chocolate is made are known under different names in different parts of the world. In the American chocolate industry:

  • chocolate liquor is the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean, containing roughly equal parts cocoa butter and solids.
  • cocoa butter is the fatty component of the bean.
  • cocoa solids is the remaining nonfat part of the cocoa bean, which is ground into a powder.[1]


Different forms and flavors of chocolate are produced by varying the quantities of the different ingredients. Other flavours can be obtained by varying the time and temperature when roasting the beans.

  • Milk chocolate is solid chocolate made with milk added in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk. In 1875, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter, in cooperation with his neighbour Henri Nestlé in Vevey, developed the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk. The bar was named "Gala Peter", combining the Greek word for "milk" and his name.[2] A German company Jordan & Timaeus in Dresden, Saxony had already invented milk chocolate in 1839;[3] hitherto it had only been available as a drink.[4] The US Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. However, an agreement was reached in 2000 that allowed what by exception from these regulations is called "milk chocolate" in the UK, Ireland, and Malta, containing only 20% cocoa solids, to be traded as "family milk chocolate" elsewhere in the European Union.[5]
    • Cadbury chocolate is the brand leader in the United Kingdom.[6] First produced by George Cadbury Junior in 1905, Cadbury Dairy Milk was made with a higher proportion of milk than previous chocolate bars, and it became the company's best selling product by 1914. It is the best selling milk chocolate bar in the UK, followed by Galaxy.[7]
    • "Hershey process" milk chocolate is popular in the US. The process was invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company. The process uses fresh milk from local farms. The logistics of purchasing and delivering fresh milk is difficult as, according to state regulations, fresh milk cannot be held for more than 72 hours after its reception. If not immediately processed into milk chocolate, the milk must be disposed of. The actual Hershey process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, and then the milk is pasteurized and stabilized. This process gives the product a particular taste, to which the US public has shown to have an affinity, to the extent that some rival manufacturers now add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.[4]
  • Dark chocolate, also known as "plain chocolate" or "black chocolate", is produced using higher percentages of cocoa, traditionally with cocoa butter instead of milk, but there are also dark milk chocolates and many degrees of hybrids. Dark chocolate can be eaten as is, or used in cooking, for which thicker, baking bars, usually with high cocoa percentages ranging from 70% to 100% are sold. Dark is synonymous with semisweet, and extra dark with bittersweet, although the ratio of cocoa butter to solids may vary.
  • White chocolate is made of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter, without the cocoa solids.
  • Cocoa powder is used for baking, and for drinking with added milk and sugar. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural cocoa (like the sort produced by the Broma process), and Dutch-process cocoa. Both are made by pulverizing partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter; Dutch-process cocoa is additionally processed with alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. Natural cocoa is light in colour and somewhat acidic with a strong chocolate flavor. Natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes that also use baking soda; as baking soda is an alkali, combining it with natural cocoa creates a leavening action that allows the batter to rise during baking. Dutch cocoa is slightly milder in taste, with a deeper and warmer colour than natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids. However, Dutch processing destroys most of the flavonoids present in cocoa.[8] In 2005 Hershey discontinued their pure Dutch-process European Style cocoa and replaced it with Special Dark, a blend of natural and Dutch-process cocoa.
  • Organic chocolate is chocolate which has been certified organic ingredients.
  • Raw chocolate is chocolate that has not been processed, heated, or mixed with other ingredients. It is sold in chocolate-growing countries, and to a much lesser extent in other countries, often promoted as healthy.[9]
  • Unsweetened chocolate, also known as bitter, baking chocolate, or cooking chocolate, is pure chocolate liquor mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance. The pure, ground, roasted cocoa beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavor. With the addition of sugar, however, it is used as the base for cakes, brownies, confections, and cookies.
  • Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (less than a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla flavouring, and sometimes lecithin has been added. It typically has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate,[10] but the two are interchangeable when baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as "couverture". Many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter). The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is.
  • Semisweet chocolate is frequently used for cooking purposes. It is a dark chocolate with (by definition in Swiss usage) half as much sugar as cocoa, beyond which it is "sweet chocolate". Semisweet chocolate does not contain milk solids.[11]
  • "Couverture" is a term used for chocolates rich in cocoa butter. Popular brands of couverture used by professional pastry chefs and often sold in gourmet and specialty food stores include: Valrhona, Felchlin, Lindt & Sprüngli, Scharffen Berger, Cacao Barry, Callebaut, Chocodate, Chocofig fuel chocolates, and Guittard. These chocolates contain a high percentage of cocoa.
Pieces of dark compound chocolate cake coating
  • "Compound chocolate" is the technical term for a confection combining cocoa with vegetable fat, usually tropical fats and/or hydrogenated fats, as a replacement for cocoa butter. It is often used for candy bar coatings. In many countries it may not legally be called "chocolate".
  • Modeling chocolate is a chocolate paste made by melting chocolate and combining it with corn syrup, glucose syrup, or golden syrup. It is primarily used by cakemakers and pâtisseries to add decoration to cakes and pastries.
  • Ruby chocolate is a new type of chocolate, created by Barry Callebaut. The variety was in development beginning in 2004. The new chocolate type is made from the Ruby cocoa bean, through a process that is said to unlock the flavor and color tone present in the Ruby bean. The chocolate's taste is described as "sweet yet sour".[12]

Flavours such as mint, vanilla, coffee, orange, or strawberry are sometimes added to chocolate in a creamy form or in very small pieces. Chocolate bars frequently contain added ingredients such as peanuts, nuts, fruit, caramel, and crisped rice. Pieces of chocolate, in various flavours, are sometimes added to cereals and ice cream.

By country/region

United States

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the naming and ingredients of cocoa products:[13][14]

Product Chocolate Liquor Milk Solids Sugar Cocoa Fat Milk Fat
Milk Chocolate ≥ 10% ≥ 12%
Sweet Chocolate ≥ 15% < 12%
Semisweet or Bittersweet (Dark) Chocolate ≥ 35% < 12%
White Chocolate ≥ 14% ≤ 55% ≥ 20% ≥ 3.5%

In March 2007, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, whose members include Hershey's, Nestlé, and Archer Daniels Midland, began lobbying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the legal definition of chocolate to allow the substitution of "safe and suitable vegetable fats and oils" (including partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) for cocoa butter in addition to using "any sweetening agent" (including artificial sweeteners) and milk substitutes.[15] Currently, the FDA does not allow a product to be referred to as "chocolate" if the product contains any of these ingredients.[16] To work around this restriction, products with cocoa substitutes are often branded or labeled as "chocolatey" or as in the case of Hershey's Mr. Goodbar containing vegetable oils, "made with chocolate".


The legislation for cocoa and chocolate products in Canada is found in Division 4 of the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR), under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA). The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the FDR and FDA (as it relates to food).[17]

Product Cocoa Butter Milk Solids Milk Fat Fat-Free Cocoa Solids Cocoa Solids
Milk Chocolate ≥ 15% ≥ 12% ≥ 3.39% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 25%
Sweet Chocolate ≥ 18% < 12% ≥ 12% ≥ 31%
Chocolate, Bittersweet Chocolate, Semi-sweet Chocolate or Dark Chocolate ≥ 18% < 5% ≥ 14% ≥ 35%
White Chocolate ≥ 20% ≤ 14% ≥ 3.5%

The use of cocoa butter substitutes in Canada is not permitted. Chocolate sold in Canada cannot contain vegetable fats or oils.[18]

The only sweetening agents permitted in chocolate in Canada are listed in Division 18 of the Food and Drug Regulations.[19] Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol, etc.) are not permitted.

Products manufactured or imported into Canada that contain non-permitted ingredients (vegetable fats or oils, artificial sweeteners) cannot legally be called "chocolate" when sold in Canada. A non-standardized name such as "candy" must be used.[18]

European Union

Products labelled as "Family Milk Chocolate" elsewhere in the European Union are permitted to be labelled as simply "Milk Chocolate" in Malta, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland.[20]

Product Total Dry Cocoa Solids Cocoa Butter Non-Fat Cocoa Solids Total Fat Milk Fat Milk Solids Flour/starch
Chocolate ≥ 35% ≥ 18% ≥ 14%
Couverture Chocolate ≥ 35% ≥ 31% ≥ 2.5%
Chocolate Vermicelli or Flakes ≥ 32% ≥ 12% ≥ 14%
Milk Chocolate ≥ 25% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 25% ≥ 3.5% ≥ 14%
Couverture Milk Chocolate ≥ 25% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 31% ≥ 3.5% ≥ 14%
Milk Chocolate Vermicelli or Flakes ≥ 20% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 12% ≥ 3.5% ≥ 12%
Family Milk Chocolate ≥ 20% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 25% ≥ 5% ≥ 20%
Cream Chocolate ≥ 25% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 25% ≥ 5.5% ≥ 14%
Skimmed Milk Chocolate ≥ 25% ≥ 2.5% ≥ 25% ≤ 1% ≥ 14%
White Chocolate ≥ 20% ≥ 14%
Chocolate a la taza ≥ 35% ≥ 18% ≥ 14% ≤ 8%
Chocolate familiar a la taza ≥ 30% ≥ 18% ≥ 12% ≤ 18%
  • Note 1: "Total Fat" refers to the combined cocoa butter and milk fat content.
  • Note 2: "Total Dry Cocoa Solids" as defined in this and all world regulations refers to combined cocoa powder and butter.


In Japan, 'chocolate products' are classified on a complex scale (q.v. ja:チョコレート#チョコレートの規格).

Chocolate materials (チョコレート生地, chokorēto kiji):

  • Pure chocolate material (純チョコレート生地, jun-chokorēto kiji)
Cocoa content ≥35%, cocoa butter ≥18%, sucrose ≤55%, lecithin ≤0.5%, no additives other than lecithin and vanilla flavouring, no fats other than cocoa butter and milk fats, water ≤3%
  • Pure milk chocolate material (純ミルクチョコレート生地, jun-miruku chokorēto kiji)
Cocoa content ≥21%, cocoa butter ≥18%, milk solids ≥14%, milk fats ≥3.5%, sucrose ≤55%, lecithin ≤0.5%, no additives other than lecithin and vanilla flavouring, no fats other than cocoa butter and milk fats, water ≤3%
  • Chocolate material (チョコレート生地, chokorēto kiji)
Cocoa content ≥35%, cocoa butter ≥18%, water ≤3%. It is also permitted to substitute milk solids for cocoa content as follows: cocoa content ≥21%, cocoa butter ≥18%, combined milk solids & cocoa content ≥35%, milk fats ≥3%, water ≤3%.
  • Milk chocolate material (ミルクチョコレート生地, miruku chokorēto kiji)
Cocoa content ≥21%, cocoa butter ≥18%, milk solids ≥14%, milk fats ≥3%, water ≤3%
  • Quasi chocolate material (準チョコレート生地, jun-chokorēto kiji) a
Cocoa content ≥15%, cocoa butter ≥3%, fats ≥18%, water ≤3%
  • Quasi milk chocolate material (準ミルクチョコレート生地, jun-miruku chokorēto kiji)
Cocoa content ≥7%, cocoa butter ≥3%, fats ≥18%, milk solids ≥12.5%, milk fats ≥2%, water ≤3%

Chocolate products (チョコレート製品, chokorēto seihin):

Products using milk chocolate or quasi milk chocolate as described above are handled in the same way as chocolate / quasi chocolate.

  • Chocolate (チョコレート, chokorēto)
Processed chocolate products made from chocolate material itself or containing at least 60% chocolate material. Processed chocolate products must contain at least 40% chocolate material by weight. Amongst processed chocolate products, those containing at least 10% by weight of cream and no more than 10% of water can be called raw chocolate (生チョコレート, nama chokorēto)
  • Chocolate sweet (チョコレート菓子, chokorēto kashi)
Processed chocolate products containing less than 60% chocolate material
  • Quasi chocolate (準チョコレート, jun-chokorēto)
The Quasi symbol should officially be circled. Processed quasi chocolate products made from quasi chocolate material itself or containing at least 60% quasi chocolate material.
  • Quasi chocolate sweet (準チョコレート菓子, jun-chokorēto kashi)
Processed quasi chocolate products containing less than 60% quasi chocolate material


Chocolate is a product based on cocoa solid or cocoa fat or both. The amount and types of cocoa solids and fat that the term implies is a matter of controversy. Manufacturers have an incentive to use the term for variations that are cheaper to produce, containing less cocoa and more cocoa substitutes.

There has been disagreement in the EU about the definition of chocolate; this dispute covers several ingredients, including the types of fat used and the quantity of cocoa. In 1999, however, the EU resolved the fat issue by allowing up to 5% of chocolate's content to be one of 5 alternatives to cocoa butter: illipe oil, palm oil, sal, shea butter, kokum gurgi, or mango kernel oil.[21]

A recent workaround has been to reduce the amount of cocoa butter in candy bars without using vegetable fats by adding polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), which is an artificial castor oil-derived emulsifier that simulates the mouthfeel of fat. Up to 0.3% PGPR may be added to chocolate for this purpose.[22]


Cacao beans can be tested for their quality as a certain variety using DNA tests, especially by testing single-nucleotide polymorphisms that act as markers.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Making Sense of % Cacao". CMA – Chocolate Manufacturers Association. 2 January 2008. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  2. ^ The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets (p. 524)
  3. ^ "Wer hat's erfunden?" [Who invented it?]. mitteldeutschland.com. 9 December 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Moskin, Julia (13 February 2008). "Dark may be king, but milk chocolate makes a move". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Directive 2000/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 June 2000 relating to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Ascribed to Cadbury plc. (19 January 2010). "A history of Cadbury's sweet success". Times Online. London. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Top 10 selling chocolate bars in the UK". Wales Online. Retrieved 29 December 2014
  8. ^ "Chocolate as a Health Food?". Retrieved 3 March 2006. 
  9. ^ Cahalane, Claudia (30 March 2007). "A raw deal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Mushet, C.; Sur La Table; Caruso, M. (2008). The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-7407-7334-1. 
  11. ^ "Semisweet chocolate". Joy of Baking. iFood Media LLC. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  12. ^ https://en.rocketnews24.com/2018/01/20/we-try-the-worlds-first-ruby-chocolate-inside-a-japanese-kit-kat【taste-test】/
  13. ^ "Title 21 – Food and Drugs, Chapter I, Sub chapter B – Food for Human Consumption, Part 163 – Cocoa Products". Title 21 – Food and Drugs. Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  14. ^ "Types of Chocolate Products". Hershey.com. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  15. ^ "To Our Stake older" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  16. ^ (2007P-0085, Copy of 2007P-0085 Appendix C – search for cacao)
  17. ^ "Responsibilities of the Agency: 11. (3) (a)". Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act. Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved 16 February 2012. The [Canadian Food Inspection] Agency is responsible for the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act as it relates to food, as defined in section 2 of that Act 
  18. ^ a b "Division 4: Cocoa and Chocolate Products". Food and Drug Regulations. Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "Division 18: Sweetening Agents". Food and Drug Regulations. Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "Guidance on the Cocoa and Chocolate Products Regulations 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  21. ^ "EU Agrees on Chocolate Definition Upsetting Major Cocoa Producers". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "Let the chocolate flow". Foodnavigator.com. 11 April 2001. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  23. ^ Nuwer, Rachel (16 January 2014). "A New Way to Find Out If Your Chocolate Is Legit". Smithsonian. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 

External links