It may not make chocolate one of your five a day –- but scientists have found a way to replace up to 50% of its fat content with fruit juice.

As part of research into reducing fat in chocolate, chemistry researchers from the University of Warwick substituted much of the cocoa butter and milk fats that go into chocolate with tiny droplets of juice.

According to a statement: "We infused orange and cranberry juice into milk, dark and white chocolate using what is known as a Pickering emulsion."

fat free chocolate

Crucially, say the researchers, the clever chemistry does not take away the chocolatey ‘mouth-feel’ given by the fatty ingredients.

Dr Stefan Bon, lead author on the study, said in a statement: "Everyone loves chocolate – but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat.

“However it’s the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave – the silky smooth texture and the way it melts in the mouth but still has a ‘snap’ to it when you break it with your hand.

“We’ve found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate ‘chocolatey’ but with fruit juice instead of fat.

“We’re hoping the food industry will take our method to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars.”

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So how does it work?

The new technique maintains the substance in the crystal structure of the fat and while the final product will taste fruity, there is the option to use water and a small amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) instead of juice to maintain a chocolatey taste.

The new process also prevents the unsightly ‘sugar bloom’ which can appear on chocolate which has been stored for too long.

The study is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.