Barry Callebaut promotes cocoa's healthy side

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cocoa Barry callebaut Chocolate Nutrition

Barry Callebaut has produced a new website entirely devoted to
promoting the nutritional benefits of cocoa in an effort to
counteract the increasingly unhealthy image of chocolate products
and their unpopularity in a health-conscious market.

Website users can log onto www.acticoa.com and discover the beneficial impact cocoa can have on heart health, brain function, the immune system and antioxidant levels.

Recently chocolate manufacturers have been vociferous in pushing the health aspects of cocoa to combat consumer concerns, with confectioners such as Nestlé and Mars pouring investment into nutrition research.

Cocoa contains high levels of polyphenols and flavanols - antioxidants which can work to protect the body from cell damage - research into their effects suggests they can halt the development of cancer cells, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

As these benefits become more widely known, consumers are catching on and driving up sales of dark chocolate which, according to analysts Leatherhead International, now make up 19 per cent of global chocolate sales.

Last year, Barry Callebaut developed a new process under the trademark Acticoa which aims to preserve more of the healthy polyphenols that are often lost during cocoa bean processing.

Acticoa covers several processing stages, from harvesting through the processing of cocoa beans to the finished product, chocolate. The greatest loss in terms of natural polyphenols takes place during the fermentation of cocoa beans.

According to Barry Callebaut, Acticoa methods reduce the loss of polyphenols from 70 per cent in standard industry to 20 per cent.

The new website amasses together information gleaned from several scientific sources and is aimed at the cocoa processor's customers and consumers.

Barry Callebaut's chief innovation officer Hans Vriens said: "Acticoa is one outcome of our efforts to respond to the consumer demand for healthy and functional foods.

"Our research has been very fruitful and has led to some remarkable discoveries which we're keen to share with our customers, consumers and the public at large."

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