A new market beyond chocolate for cocoa flavanols and their healthy properties

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cocoa-powderEFSA issues positive Scientific Opinion on Barry Callebaut’s application for extending its health claim on cocoa flavanols: A new market beyond chocolate for cocoa flavanols and their healthy properties

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, received today a positive Scientific Opinion issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the background data to extend their existing health claim to cocoa extract products. This positive evaluation was officially published on May 5, 2014 and bodes very well for Barry Callebaut as EFSA’s expertise is usually the basis for approval by the EU Commission.

In September 2013, the EU Commission granted Barry Callebaut the right to use within the EU market the health claim that “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow”. This claim was to be used for cocoa beverages (with cocoa powder) and dark chocolate products providing a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols. Barry Callebaut has now applied to the EFSA to extend this claim to cocoa extract products, that is to say products more concentrated in flavanols, such as supplements. If the application is granted, Barry Callebaut will have the proprietary right to use this extended health claim within EU countries during 5 years, effective from the day of EU approval.

New market potential outside the chocolate market for cocoa flavanols
The content of the health claim remains unchanged, but its field of application would be extended to other formats, including non-chocolate products. The application of the health claim on cocoa extract products opens new opportunities, for example in the pharmacy, nutraceutical and supplement industries. The cardiovascular properties of flavanols could, for instance, be offered in the form of pills and distributed in pharmacies.

Innovation: an essential part of Barry Callebaut’s activities
Barry Callebaut is recognized as a reference for innovation in the chocolate industry. Their research and development projects are crucial. Peter Boone, upon publication of EFSA’s decision, said: “A positive Scientific Opinion is not easily provided by EFSA. Their decision is based on a profound scientific assessment of data. Barry Callebaut has now been given not one, but two ultimate rewards for its research efforts. This positive outcome proves that research projects at Barry Callebaut are very efficient, and we are very happy that our customers will soon be able to make the most of our discovery.”

Since 2005, the company has carried out more than 20 human clinical studies examining various impacts of cocoa flavanols on human body functions. For these studies, Barry Callebaut used products made through its proprietary ACTICOA® process. This process is the outcome of years of research into ways of preserving cocoa flavanols, which support healthy blood circulation. The cocoa flavanols claim opens new market potential, and this extended health claim proves that flavanols still offer a lot of possibilities for the future.