Chocolate products adapting to trends

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st May 2008

Chocolate has rarely been considered as a sound choice for those looking for healthy snack options. However, with a growing body of research highlighting the health benefits of cocoa, chocolate manufacturers are starting to update their products to capitalise on the positive publicity.

The sugar and milk content, among other ingredients, in normal processed chocolate has restricted the potential of the cocoa bean but now, with increased awareness of the benefits of antioxidants in cocoa, manufacturers are trying to enhance their offerings and dark chocolate options are increasing.

A US company has just released a dark chocolate bar which combines dark chocolate with antioxidants – Vitamins C & E, and the mineral Selenium – that reportedly help support the immune system. The new ZonePerfect Dark Chocolate Nutrition Bars “seek to enrich the nutritional benefit of traditional dark chocolate”. According to Abbott Nutrition, the producer’s of the chocolate, 50 per cent of daily Vitamin C needs are provided by the bar as well as, 90 per cent daily value of Vitamin E and 25 per cent daily value of Selenium. They also supply 12g of protein while using real cocoa to help provide more vitamins and minerals.

Dr. Rosemary Riley, Nutrition Scientist for Abbott Nutrition, is very complementary about the product. “As Americans continue to trend toward a more flexible approach to eating, we are relying more and more on snacking and eating on the go to meet our nutritional needs. But eating on the go should not mean eating high-fat, low-nutrition snacks,” she said. “You now don’t have to choose between what you enjoy and what is good for you,” she claimed.

The chocolate bars are available in the US and, with the global trend toward health foods, expect them to be popular. The yoghurt and smoothie industries have already witnessed the benefits of providing healthier alternatives to traditional products, with the addition of antioxidants and probiotics to many items proving to be a success.