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Thread: Mars to market healthy chocolate

  1. #1
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    Default Mars to market healthy chocolate

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 10:36 a.m. ET Feb. 20, 2006


    ALBANY, Ga. - It’s every chocolate lover’s wish that their favorite indulgence could somehow be healthy for them. Now, chocolate makers claim they have granted that wish.

    Mars Inc., maker of Milky Way, Snickers and M&M’s candies, next month plans to launch nationwide a new line of products made with a dark chocolate the company claims has health benefits.

    Called CocoaVia, the products are made with a kind of dark chocolate high in flavanols, an antioxidant found in cocoa beans that is thought to have a blood-thinning effect similar to aspirin and may even lower blood pressure. The snacks also are enriched with vitamins and injected with cholesterol-lowering plant sterols from soy.

    But researchers are skeptical about using chocolate for its medicinal purposes and experts warn it’s no substitute for a healthy diet.

    “To suggest that chocolate is a health food is risky,” said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    Recent research has not established a link between flavanols and a reduced risk of cancer or heart disease, she said. And with obesity already a serious health problem, “the last thing we need is for Americans to think they can eat more chocolate.”

    Highlighting health benefits
    A paper published by the American Heart Association concluded that chocolate contains chemicals, including flavanols, that have the potential to reduce heart disease. But it added researchers still don’t know enough about flavanols to make dietary recommendations.

    Other major chocolate companies also have started promoting the flavanol content of their dark chocolates, such as Hershey’s Extra Dark, introduced last fall with highlights on its label touting its 60 percent cocoa content and high level of flavanol.

    Dark chocolate, which contains more flavanols than regular chocolate, is the fastest growing segment of the $10 billion-a-year chocolate market. Hershey reports that its dark-chocolate sales have grown 11.2 percent over the past four years.


    Last year, Hershey Co. acquired San Francisco-based Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Inc., known for its dark chocolate with high cocoa content and baking products, and plans to add new dark-chocolate products.

    Mars created a new division, Mars Nutrition for Health & Well-Being, to distribute CocoaVia. The company has sold the CocoaVia products online for a couple years. They are already available at retail stores in 34 states, selling for nearly $1 a bar.

    “Chocolate ... is the number one flavor ingredient in the world,” said Jimmy Cass, Mars’ vice president of marketing. “Heart health is the No. 1 concern of adults over the age of 40 in every civilized nation. Putting those two together is automatically a big idea.”

    The industry, trying to appeal to baby boomers, has been focusing on products that may provide health benefits, including gourmet chocolates, organic chocolates and “functional” chocolates such as CocoaVia.


    Expert: Don't eat too much
    Rachael Brandeis, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association in Atlanta, said dark chocolate is a good source of flavanols, but so are other foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

    “Dark chocolate can fit into a healthy diet,” she said. The fat in chocolate is a type that does not raise cholesterol levels, but it can add unwanted pounds if a person overindulges, she said.

    “I would say if you enjoy the taste of dark chocolate, enjoy it,” she said. “But you always have to be conscious of how much you’re eating.”

    Mars adamantly defends its health claims for CocoaVia.

    The company has done research studies that have shown it can improve blood flow, said Mars’ chief scientist Harold Schmitz.

    “We believe ... there can be a significant benefit around blood pressure, but we have not conclusively proven that,” he said.

    The soy extract was included in the products because it has been shown to reduce cholesterol, Cass said.

    Norman Hollenberg, a professor at the Harvard Medical School, told a recent cocoa symposium that the Cuna Indians of Panama, who drink flavanoid-rich cocoa beverages, have a 10 percent lower risk of dying of heart attacks and a 20 percent lower risk of dying of cancer than average Panamanians.

    More studies are needed to determine whether it is the cocoa consumption or other factors that make them healthier, Hollenberg said.

    “The data assigning it to one mechanism just isn’t there yet,” he said.

    Chocolate factory
    Regardless of the research, Mars’ Albany plant is filled with the fragrance of dark, warm chocolate. A seemingly endless procession of CocoaVia bars move along a conveyor belt under the scrutiny of human and electronic eyes.

    It is a sterile environment of gleaming stainless machinery and highly polished floors where workers wear white suits or smocks, hair nets, safety glasses and white helmets.

    The health bars pass through a machine that cools them, several that cut them to size and another that dribbles decorative swirls across the top and gives the underside a final coating of dark chocolate.

    The Wellness Letter, a health and fitness newsletter published by the University of California-Berkeley, evaluated CocoaVia and advised readers to enjoy the snacks on occasion for pleasure, but not as a health food.

    “CocoaVia’s benefits are still unproven,” the newsletter said. “Eat it only if you like it and are willing to pay the premium price.”

    Fruits and vegetables are still the best source of the antioxidants found in dark chocolate and they also contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant chemicals not found in chocolate, the newsletter said.

    CocoaVia was just an expensive candy bar, concluded John Swartzberg, chairman of the newsletter’s editorial board and clinical professor of health and medical science at Berkeley.

    “But it did taste good,” he said.
    Fuck healthy...just give me some chocolate.
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  2. #2
    Elite Member Barbara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    Dark chocolate has always been healthy stuff in the first place. But now Mars is going to claim they discovered it
    "Sex is not, by default, depraved and dirty. Unless it's really good."
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    Elite Member Tenaj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    You mean Mars Delights aren't healthy?!!! Nooooo!!

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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    M&M's aren't healthy? Then why are they on the RIchard Simmons diet?? LOLOL

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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    I'm off to get some chocolate. Some unhealthy but delicious milk chocolate.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    I used to work for Mars UK - every morning there would be BUCKETS of fresh chocs off the overnight production run for office staff to 'quality control'. Naturally we just scarfed them down. You have NEVER tasted anything as good as a freshly made Milky Way - or Twix - or Maltesers - or Snickers - or Mars Bar - or Bounty.........
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    I don't even want to begin to ask how big everyone got. I love me some chocolate but I can't eat it like I used to. It puts the fat on me like crazy.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    A*O
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    Nobody got fat because after a while you just didn't feel like eating it any more (clever management). I used to enjoy an occasional Twix with my morning coffee, but too much choc makes me spotty. I know the docs say this is a myth, but I KNOW it isn't.
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    ARGH!

    For fucks sake. If I want to eat plant estrogen, I'll eat some soy.

    Stop putting it in my orange juice, chocolate, cereal and everything else!

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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    I have a bit of 85% dark chocolate every day. Its the real stuff though and tastes like really well made coffee. I also get crystalized ginger coated in 85% for a treat. Most chocaholics I know cant stand it because its the sugar they're more addicted to then the cocoa.

    I can only see Mars making dark chocolate unhealthy with whatever the hell else they end up adding to it. Leave the health foods to people who know how to work with it.

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    I can bore you about how different markets prefer different recipes, and even types of cocoa. Cocoa beans are a commodity which is traded on the futures market, like coffee, copper, etc. Buyers have to predict future crops and 'gamble' on the prices because they actually buy the crops a couple of years before they are actually harvested. The Mars dept I worked for had field agents in West Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon) and South America (Brazil) who literally counted cocoa pods in plantations so the nerds at head office to try to predict the crop and give the info to the Buyers. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Anyway, the European market likes chocolate made with higher quality West African cocoa because it makes much more subtle dark chocolate (higher in cocoa butter) and Europeans like dark chocolate. The US market likes chocolate made with South American cocoa which is a less 'sophisticated' cocoa and you can add all kinds of shit to it (which the manufacturers do) to make it taste 'right' to the American palate.
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    ^^^
    i agree.

    i can't believe hershey bought scharffen berger though. it's the only american chocolate i like, they better not ruin it.
    also, why do they have to market their new chocolate as 'healthy' or containing plant sterols and flavanol and whatever??? it's chocolate. sell it as chocolate. and there would be no need to put health warnings or ads on it if people finally got it into their heads that they can't eat the whole thing but have to try a little moderation. and really who's stupid enough to think that because chocolate has flavanols it's ok to pig out on it?
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    or why dont they make chocolate bars in the actual serving size that they reccomend? brother got a chocolate bar the other day, when I read the nutritional panel they reccomend 3 servings on it, which meant the bar should be cut into thirds. Who is going to do that?

    The thing is real dark chocolate naturally has the flavnoids in it and is much the same as green tea and red wine. The fact that they have to change dairy chocolate so much and then have to put things back just makes me ill. I mean, i always knew that diary chocolate probably had to be changed to get that flavouring but to go through that much of a process is just wrong.

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    But that's the problem - 'pure' chocolate is the blackest, bitterest type. It's hard to eat more than a couple of ounces because it's so rich. Milk chocolate and the various flavours are so adulterated with sugar, preservatives, artificial flavours, it's not chocolate at all. But people want it, so the manufacturers make it, and sell it to the people who want it, and so it goes.......
    I've never liked lesbianism - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth
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    Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right.

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    Elite Member Barbara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mars to market healthy chocolate

    ^^ I have a couple of 100% cocoa "chocolate" tablets. It tastes almost nothing like the chocolate we are used to.
    Italian "Cuore Nero 100%" is the best I know http://www.cuorenero.it/. I cannot eat more than one little chunk of it at a time, like A*O said it's very rich.
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