Since its discovery around 1900 BC, chocolate has become one of the world’s most popular foods and flavors. Today, chocolate has become a Valentine’s Day favorite, with nearly 60 million pounds of chocolate candy bought in the U.S. during Valentine’s week. While the Industrial Revolution was the catalyst to advance chocolate manufacturing to larger-scale production, transforming the seeds of the cacao tree into chocolate still requires a specialized fermenting, pasteurization, roasting and production process.
Each part of the manufacturing process requires precise temperature measurement and temperature control as the cocoa beans are roasted, de-shelled, ground to cocoa mass, liquefied, blended, conched and tempered. The wrong temperature at any step of the process will affect the taste and texture of the finished product. With $98.3 billion in worldwide chocolate sales in 2016, manufacturers know that there is a lot at stake to keep consumers’ tastebuds satisfied.
Today, chocolate manufacturers use state-of-the-art food processing systems with platinum temperature sensors from Heraeus Sensor Technology, the world leader in platinum sensors. Bob Gliniecki, Product Manager for Heraeus Sensor Technology USA, noted that platinum provides manufacturers like confectioners with a wider operating temperature range (from -200 degrees Celcius to +1000 degrees Celcius) along with the ability to precisely measure and control temperature in the different manufacturing environments that eventually turn cocoa beans into chocolate candy.
Gliniecki said, “Temperature is chocolate’s secret ingredient. Even the slightest deviation in temperature can cause big changes in chocolate texture, taste, overall quality and even appearance. That’s not the type of surprise you want on Valentine’s Day.”
While Heraeus platinum sensors keep Valentine’s Day sweet for chocolate lovers, the company uses the same platinum sensor technology to support other industries around the world, including automobiles, HVAC heating/air conditioning systems, medical research labs and even self-cleaning ovens. Gliniecki added, “My wife laughs when I tell her that the platinum temperature sensor that measures diesel exhaust fumes in cars is the same technology that keeps her heart-shaped box of Valentines chocolates tasting so sweet.”