Soy in my chocolate! Is it the Choc-pocalypse?
I was in a shop the other day drooling over their selection of gourmet chocolate (I really should take a bib with me). Looking at the ingredient lists on the backs of the packages I noticed that many, including some of the supposedly high-grade, expensive stuff have “soya lecithin” listed as an ingredient. OMGWTF, I thought – surely it signals the end of the world (The Chocpocalypse!) when even the supposedly top class chocolate makers are debasing their product with the same kind of stuff you find in a Twinky!
So I went on a mini quest to get to the bottom of this (possible) outrage against humanity. Here’s what I found out:
- soy lecithin extracted from the oil of the soy bean
- it’s a natural emulsifier – emulsifier is like a thinner, makes a thick flow more freely
- they use it in chocolate to help prevent the cocoa-solids separating from the cocoa butter
- using lecithin allows the manufacturer to get by with less cocoa butter
- soy lecithin is used as a nutritional supplement because it contains choline, which is good for the heart and aids brain development
- some (but not all) people with soy protein allergies also have reactions to soy lecithin
Conclusion: Sounds like corner-cutting to me. I’d prefer not to have this in my chocolate, but since I’m not allergic to soy it won’t stop me from eating it as long as the chocolate still tastes good. But if you have a soy allergy, you might want to look at the ingredients before buying and stick to the lecithin-free varieties.