There is no denying that chocolate is an ingredient that brings a perception of decadence to consumers, in whatever form it takes.
 
A spoonful of sugar or less

Adding nutrients to compound coatings or taking advantage of the cocoa bean’s natural nutrition is a way to gain a health-and-wellness boost. However, chocolate isn’t without its downside, nutritionally. Sugar and fat are still major components to this indulgent ingredient.

“When talking about chocolate or coatings, moderation becomes more important because of the fat and sugar,” Dr. Jonnalagadda said. To curb the sugar rush, bakers and snack producers can pursue reduced-sugar types.

Despite the trendiness of antioxidants and protein, reduced sugar is a request Mr. Augustine often fields from customers and a point of innovation that Barry Callebaut continues to pursue.

Blommer Chocolate also works diligently on reduced- and no-sugar chocolate and coatings. “We have products that can be considered natural and products that are free from sugar alcohols,” Ms. Derhammer said.

In its innovation efforts, CQC takes into account how sugar is being addressed by the Food and Drug Administration. “We’re definitely looking at strategies to reduce total sugars and use alternatives to sugars, with ‘added sugars’ now mandatory for declaration on the Nutrition Facts Panel,” Mr. Lechter said.

Researchers have only begun to scratch the surface of the health benefits chocolate can deliver and the ways it can act as a vehicle for other nutrients. Research points to cholesterol improvements, better glucose management and a better understanding of the benefits chocolate could contribute to heart health.

“Chocolate is no longer just a pretty face,” Ms. Blondeel said. “It actually brings added benefits to the table.” As more research is done and benefits better understood, bakers can take advantage of chocolate’s place at the intersection of healthy and indulgent.