Researchers from Brazil's São Paulo University have patented the technology for producing six chocolate-substitute products from cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), a plant native to the Amazon that belongs to the same family as the cacao tree.
According to the scientists involved in the research, cupuaçu has several advantages over cacao. It is cheaper, and it is also healthier since it contains less teobromine, a substance with stimulant effects.
"Although cacao is grown on a wide scale in Brazil, it is an expensive product because it is not a native plant. Our research shows that cupuaçu is an excellent substitute for cacao, with basically the same proprieties and a lower price," says Suzana Caetano da Silva Lannes, the head of the group of researchers who claimed the patent.