Article: MarketWatch -- April 2010
The winter months traditionally bring a flurry of product introductions marketed around comfort and warmth. For its latest cocoa introduction, however, Nestle opted to add a degree of healthfulness to the mix, also.
The company added four new flavors to its line of hot cocoa mixes: dark chocolate, chocolate caramel, chocolate mint and Women’s Wellness, all featuring less sugar than many of their competitors. The four join the Nestle Hot Cocoa line that already boasts calcium fortification and claims to be a natural source of antioxidants.
The new dark chocolate variety promises 25% less sugar than the leading brand, while the chocolate mint variety (a blend of peppermint with chocolate) boasts 27% less. Chocolate caramel assures it has 29% less in its pairing of caramel and rich chocolate. However, Women’s Wellness adds the most healthful benefits; its chocolate flavor features added vitamins, to make it an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and E, calcium and iron.
The film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the Roald Dahl book prompted the formation of the Willy Wonka Candy Company brand, which Nestle acquired in the late-1980s.
Wonka is unveiling a collection of chocolate and fruit-flavored premium confections. The first in the Wonka Exceptionals line, the Wonka Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar is made with toffee, cookies and peanuts, all wrapped in milk chocolate, while the Wonka Chocolate Waterfall Bar blends white and milk chocolate together, and the Wonka Domed Dark Chocolate Bar features dark chocolate topped with milk chocolate drops.
Joining the chocolates in the Wonka Exceptionals line are Wonka Fruit Jellies and Wonka Fruit Marvels, fruity morsels made with natural ingredients, no artificial colors and 25% real fruit juice. The soft, square former are in such flavors as grapefruit, red apple and goji berry, while the hard-shelled, but soft-centered, latter boast Clementine orange, white grape and pomegranate flavors.
Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut AG have signed a cross-licensing and cooperation agreement intended to increase the availability and uniformity of flavanol-rich chocolate products.
Cocoa flavanols can positively impact circulatory health and related conditions; Mars recently launched CirkuHealth, a cocoa extract-based dietary supplement that promises just such benefits. However, manufacturers have experienced challenges in consistency, reliable measurement methods and communication of the benefits and content of flavanols in foods.
“While flavanols are naturally abundant in cocoa, unless you are specifically measuring and carefully handling a product throughout the manufacturing process, there is just no guarantee the product contains meaningful levels of the flavanols,” explained Mary Wagner, general manager at Mars Botanical, a scientific unit of Mars Inc.
Like Water for Chocolate
While companies strive to improve the flavanol content of chocolate and add beneficial elements, researchers at the U.K.’s University of Birmingham have taken a different approach to making chocolate healthy.
These researchers have replaced the fat. This “healthy” chocolate, they note, is formulated almost two thirds with water. Furthermore, they claim the bar has an identical taste to regular chocolate and believe the development could “pave the way for a new generation of ‘healthy’ foods.”
The “water chocolate” connects water particles with cocoa butter crystals, resulting in the same taste, smell and mouthfeel as regular chocolate, they claim. What is more, the implications for the development are wide-ranging. “It is possible that small, stable, air bubbles designed to resemble oil droplets in terms of their size and physical properties could be used to produce a new generation of low-fat foods,” notes Dr. Philip Cox, leader of the research.
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* Imperial Sugar Company and PureCircle Limited launched Natural Sweet Ventures, a joint venture that will combine the natural benefits of both sugar and stevia to develop reduced-calorie, naturally sweet product solutions for the beverage and food industries.
* Nikken Foods USA Inc. announced the promotion of Koichi Sato to president.
* Cognis relaunched its online media center, while also opening an affiliate in Selangor, Malaysia. Cognis Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cognis Group.
* Registration is now open for the World Tea Expo, to be held June 11-13, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more details, visit www.worldteaexpo.com.
* Biothera hired Darryl Mircheff as vice president of sales and marketing for its healthcare ingredient business.
* Burcon NutraScience released a three-minute long informational video explaining its new Clarisoy soy protein isolate and its applications in foods and beverages, available at www.burcon.ca.
* P.L. Thomas added Trent Armitstead as senior account manager focusing on dietary supplements in the Rocky Mountain region, Texas and several adjacent states.
* Huber Engineered Materials named Scott Marsi director of commercial development for its Health & Nutrition business.
* DVA International opened a new U.S. subsidiary, DVA America Corp., to distribute ingredients for the food, beverage and nutrition industries.
* Tetley will obtain Rainforest Alliance certification for the Tetley brand globally. The tea firm will purchase all of the tea for its branded teabag and loose tea products from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.pf