News briefs: healthy and premium chocolate launches

By Linda Rano

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid

In recent years there has been an increasing trend towards healthy
and premium confectionery products, aimed at making consumers feel
better about the treats they eat and giving them a taste of luxury
and sophistication.

The following recent product launches suggest manufacturers are still keen to cash in on the trend. Omega-3 enriched chocolate ​ Two new products have come onto the market which, say the makers, are enriched with omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids have a healthy reputation that is seeping into consumer consciousness, based largely on evidence for its benefits in a number of health areas, including cognitive function, cardiovascular, eye health, and cancer risk reduction. Newtree Chocolates​ has produced Alpha which, says the company, combines dark chocolate and roasted flax seeds, which contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The company says that the chocolate is available in three varieties, Thyme, Chile Pepper and Pure 65 per cent chocolate. According to the company, through a proprietary process, it has reduced the sugar content by 30 per cent compared to average chocolate bars without compromising taste or standards. Newtree says that it uses only natural ingredients. The company launched the omega-3 chocolate range to the American market at the CandyExpo last week. It is expected to be on shelves from this autumn. Maramor Chocolates​ says its new Dark Chocolate Squares with Omega-3 product is "fortified with therapeutic does of Omega-3 fatty acids, a natural anti-inflammatory with a myrid of health benefits​." An advisor to the company, Dr Joseph Maroon MD, drew attention to the consumer appeal of chocolate as a carrier of omega-3, since it is a sweet alternative to other foods on the market and supplements. "Chocolate is a particularly good food to enrich with Omega-3 because it contains compounds that aid in its absorption," he said. "And dark chocolate is a natural source of antioxidants which help reduce cell damage​." The company says that two individually wrapped portions provide over 100 per cent of the recommended daily dose of omega-3. In its launch statement, however, it does not say whether the omega-3 is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) (both of which are usually from fish-oil), or the shorter chain ALA from plant sources. It did say, however, that the ingredient is micro-encapsulated to make it odourless and tasteless. Since omega-3 is notoriously unstable, the encapsulation process means that the omega-3 will not oxidise and loose potency, according to the company. Origin chocolate - Chocolove's Chocolatour range ​ Origin chocolates are seeing a boom. At the CandyExpo in Chicago last week there were tastings of Dove Origins with selected wines and champagne. Barry Callebaut has also been promoting its origin chocolates range by linking them with different wine varieties. Origin chocolate is made with beans harvested in one country only, which can mean the finished product has a taste that is distinctive and unique to beans produced in that place. Chocolove​, based in Boulder, Colorado, is promoting its "2007 Vintage" of Chocolatour chocolates. The company says that for its 2007 collection the "finest quality​" beans were sourced from Java, Ecuador, Tanzania, Granada and the Dominican Republic, "to make five distinct chocolate bars that are as diverse in flavour as the countries they come from​". Each flavour comes with a travelogue on the inside of the wrapper that describes the country where the beans were sourced. To heighten the sense of exclusivity the company says that the 2007 Vintage "is a limited edition, serial numbered collection​" and sold in health and gourmet retailers.

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