The key health claim – ‘Cocoa flavanols contribute to normal blood circulation in human body by helping to maintain elasticity of blood vessels’ – was announced by the manufacturer today (September 4).
The approval opened up big new market potential for Barry Callebaut's Acticoa cocoa powder and dark chocolate products.
Representing a first for a product in the cocoa and chocolate industry, the health claim followed the positive scientific opinion issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in July 2012.
The firm now has the proprietary right to use the cocoa flavanols claim within EU countries. It has permission to use the claim for cocoa beverages (with cocoa powder) or for dark chocolate providing at least a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols.
The company said it planned to use the claim for its Acticoa cocoa and chocolate products which retain most of the cocoa flavanols naturally present in the cocoa bean.
Other applications for the approval include: chocolate drinks, products using dark chocolate and the pharmaceutical industry.
Peter Boone, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut, said: “Receiving the right to use a health claim on cocoa flavanols by the EU Commission is most valuable for us as it is a great reward for long years of extensive research. The health claim is opening up new market potential. Since we received the positive opinion from EFSA on our submitted health claim, we saw a lot of interest among our customers.”
‘Marks a milestone’
Herwig Bernaert, head of discovery programmes and global projects at Barry Callebaut, said: “The EU Commission's approval marks a milestone in our research efforts in the healthy ingredients of the cocoa bean. We are very happy to be able to offer our Acticoa products with a health claim now, a real competitive differentiator for our customers.”
Barry Callebaut was the first EU company to win a positive scientific opinion on a health claim on cocoa flavanols.
The firm had carried out more than 20 human clinical studies examining various impacts of cocoa flavanols on the human body functions during the past eight years.
Barry Callebaut claimed the Acticoa process succeeded in preserving up to 80% of the cocoa flavanols which would otherwise be destroyed during the traditional chocolate-making process.