Edible ink formulation to enable personalised confectionary

Supporting the R&D of edible inks for printing on personalised confectionary

Choc​.ly is a business based in the North East of England that has developed a printing technique to print multiple high precision layers of edible ink onto chocolate. The company produces inkjet inks derived from natural pigments that can be printed onto chocolate for personalised confectionary. 

Choc​.ly partnered with CPI with a primary research focus to develop their ink formulation using natural pigments and to improve the ink’s resistance to bacterial growth. Choc​.ly worked with CPI to develop suitable ink formulations and test their colour stability and bacterial growth over time. 

This work was carried out as part of CPI’s Project IMPACT (Innovative Materials via Precision Additive Coating Technologies), which was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“ The state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled teams we had the opportunity to work with through CPI have provided the technical insight needed to advance our natural edible ink formulations. CPI also helped us to secure key funding for the project, and we’re now much closer to commercialisation. ”
Ged Hastie, Technical Director – Choc​.ly



An input is a unique capability, service or method of support that was provided, such as equipment or expertise.

  • ERDF funding via Project IMPACT 
  • Expertise in the formulation of printable inks and additive manufacturing 
  • State-of-the-art facilities 


An output is the result of the work, such as an experimental finding, an actual product or a pilot demonstrator.

  • Formulation of different coloured, natural pigment inks 
  • Tests conducted on the colour stability and bacterial growth over time of the ink formulations 
  • Report produced detailing findings and recommendations for further research 


An outcome arises from implementing the outputs, for example, a profit, an investment, providing jobs or delivering societal benefits. Outcomes continue once an innovation has been implemented and deliver benefit every year.

  • Suitable alternative formulations for colour stable inks with bacterial growth inhibition developed 
  • Greater understanding of the effects of pH changes in inhibiting bacterial growth in’s inks 
  • Further research goals identified 
  • Discussions underway with global confectionary manufacturers to advance commercialisation 

The challenge

The ink formulation process currently relies on the conventional preservative potassium sorbate to prevent bacterial growth. The challenge is to develop an alternative method to prohibit bacterial growth without utilising preservatives.

Technical input was required to help create’s new ink formulations, along with experimental testing and analysis to monitor colour stability and bacterial growth over time. Choc​.ly approached CPI to access funding and expertise to investigate alternative methods of inhibiting bacterial growth, specifically by changing pH to prevent the survival of bacteria.

How CPI helped

Working with CPI, Choc​.ly secured funding for the technical research work through Project IMPACT, which is delivered on behalf of the ERDF

CPI carried out the development of the ink formulations and experimental research, followed by conducting tests to monitor colour stability and bacterial growth rate at various pH levels. A detailed report was produced highlighting the findings of the work and future research directions, allowing Choc​.ly to progress their innovation.

Choc​.ly are in advanced stages of negotiation with global confectionary manufacturers to commercialise and take their printable, edible inks forward.




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