"We have established the chemistry that is a starting point for healthier chocolate confectionary," said Bon. "This approach maintains the things that make chocolate 'chocolatey', but with fruit juice instead of fat."
He added: "Now we're hoping the food industry will take the next steps and use the technology to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars and other candy."
Bonn presented the work, announced April 7, at the American Chemical Society's meeting in New Orleans.
To create the chocolate, the fruit juice is added in the form of micro-bubbles, which keep the texture firm but allow the chocolate to maintain its melt-in-your-mouth feel. The technology works with dark, milk and white chocolate and also prevents "sugar bloom," the unappealing white film that coats the surface of chocolate when it's left on the shelf too long.
Traditional chocolate's high fat and sugar level is a big downside, compared to its high levels of healthy plant-based antioxidants or flavonoids.
A 20 oz. serving, for example, could contain 13 grams of fat -- 20% of the daily fat recommended for a person who eats 2,000 calories per day.