Potential for flavanol health benefits in cocoa could be game-changing
Barry Callebaut has been in celebratory mood this week with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) industry body’s latest ruling into health claims for cocoa powder in terms of potentially positively reducing risks of cardiovascular disease owing to the presence of flavanols in the key sector ingredient.
From speaking to the business this week, it seems there’s a genuine sense of hope that this represents a genuine milestone on the road to future development of a greater array of health and wellbeing products that hold much-coveted health claims.
However, as the FDA noted, the context of its not raising objection to health assertions for cocoa powders was in relation to ranges considered very much already within the healthier options category, with the organisation stating that in its view, there was in fact limited scientific evidence for such claims – which the business remains confident is the case through clinical and wider sector studies that it has engaged with over the past few years.
The Swiss-headquartered firm is far from being alone in looking at the potential for flavanols -with Mars also placing notable investment into proving a link between flavanols and cardiovascular benefits, with research still ongoing into the topic.
As Barry Callebaut noted, the most instant area of potential benefit is to the sports beverage and products within the protein market, which tap into the still-rising health and wellbeing sector, which it believes holds significant potential.
This was very much in evidence at last year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, where the company had a strong focus on its plant-based confectionery and snacks ranges, which gained strong approval from visitors to the event.
So, it will indeed be intriguing to see if the flavanol claims are fully extended into chocolate confectionery, though it is most likely that this may be through dark chocolate (which has higher cocoa content) that this is eventually achieved, though clearly, a greater depth of clinical trials will be required to attain such results.
Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production
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