In North Carolina, a new source of antioxidants to fortify milk chocolate with the health benefits of dark chocolate has been found in peanuts. Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that peanut skins, a waste product of peanut production, contain high levels of small phenolic type compounds that showed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a good antioxidant source for the enrichment of milk chocolate.
Chocolate is a natural source of antioxidants for dietary health and dark chocolate is known to have higher levels of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but a large number of consumers prefer the taste of milk chocolate. Phenolic compounds extracted from the peanut skins were encapsulated into maltodextrin powder, an edible carbohydrate with a slightly sweet flavor, and incorporated into the milk chocolate. A test with 80 consumers comparing milk chocolate samples with and without the peanut extract showed there was no discernable difference in taste.