The Development of Chocolate as an Industrialized Food

Before the wonderful creation of the chocolate bar, cacao in Europe was mostly consumed in the form of drink. It wasn’t until inventors and innovators began to think outside the pod and wonder what else cacao can be transformed into. Cacao over the past 200 years has undergone a major transformation and has gone through quite a process to get from bean to bar to industrialization of the bar.

Around the time of 1828, the industrializing of chocolate began. The start of this industrialization actual began with Coenraad Johannes van Houten father, Casparus, inventing the hydraulic press. He used the invention to separate the cacao nibs, which results in cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Later on, van Houten added alkaline salt so that the powder would mix more easily with water. This is known as the Dutch process. The invention of the hydraulic press relieved people from the labor-intensive process of grinding cacao. It enabled the inexpensive processing of cacao and the mass production of chocolate. From that moment on, the history of cacao changed drastically.

In 1847, English chocolate maker J.S. Fry & Sons produced the first chocolate bar. The use of the hydraulic press led to so much flexibility with chocolate. The use of cocoa powder made creating chocolate drinks much easier, but also made it possible to combine chocolate with sugar and then mix in more cocoa butter to create a solid bar.

48ec154017bf85afee2509fe24113d3brefining chocolate

Industrial machine for refining chocolate (J.S. Fry & Sons) via

As the years pass by, inventors and chemist and chocolatiers/makes were interested in way they can make chocolate better. It was common since the mid017th century that when chocolate was used as  a drink, adding milk would add flavor. By 1875, Daniel Peter from Switzerland invented milk chocolate by blending together powdered milk by Henri Nestle with the chocolate liquor.In 1879, the texture and taste of chocolate was further improved when Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching machine.The new machines that were developed made the process of making chocolate a lot faster. The machine also helped make chocolate smoother and creamier.

The process from bean to bar has not become a mechanized process. Although cacao pods are still being hand grown grown at farm, machines have made chocolate faster to produce and cheaper to buy. Farmers still tend, harvest, ferment, dry and pack the seeds by hand. Cacao farmers sell their product to chocolate-processing companies through traders at the “Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange”. Vendors include the highest producers of chocolate like Hershey, Nestle, and Cadbury.

Converting cacao seeds into chocolate has now evolved into a complex and mechanized process. A majority of factories have workers work on an assembly-line, a variety of cacao from different vendors around the world. At the factory the cacao blended, roasted, cracked, winnowed, ground, pressed, mixed, conched, refined and tempered into candy bars. A few icons of the early 1900s still survive today, like Hershey, Cadbury and Nestlé.

Goody, Jack. 2013[1982]. “Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine.” pp. 72-88

Brenner, Joel. 2000. The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars. chapters 5, 13 pp. 49-69, 179-194


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