The Hamburg-based company said the testing it has conducted over the past four months has shown that it has the capability of integrating ingredients such as green tea or aloe vera powder, as well as biotin and bamboo extract for strengthening skin and hair and nails, into chocolate for use in a variety of functional foods and drinks.
Herza applications technologist Bodil Reimers told Nutraingredients.com that it tailors its R&D projects according to the requirements of its customer base with the most recent research work focused on combining a fibre based natural sugar replacer with chocolate.
“We found that natural dietary fibres such as plum powder or dried rice syrup serve to increase the fibre content of cocoa paste while acting as a replacer for isolated inulin.
Integrated into chocolate pieces, these natural fibres can provide health promoting substances in muesli and biscuits,” she said.
According to Reimers, the company collaborates with ingredients suppliers on the quantity of the substance required to generate a particular health benefit.
“We also collaborate with our sister companies SternVitamin and SternLife on determining the mix of vitamins necessary when developing chocolate pieces for customers seeking a combination of vitamins such as B, C and E for their cereals bars.
It is more cost effective for our customers to have a ready to mix ingredient that is already fortified with vitamins.”
Herza, she continued, sends out its probiotic chocolate to an external facility to determine its bacterial cell levels post-processing and to ensure storage and temperature control in its processes are accurate to preserve the functional effect of the fortified product.
“We also run tests in our in house pilot laboratory where we measure a maximum 100kg of our prebiotic chocolate to check if it meets minimum requirements regarding probiotic levels,” explained Reimers.
She said its R&D team has been fine tuning its mixing technology to ensure a smooth blend of functional ingredient with the confectionery product and she added that chocolate acts as a good protector of health promoting substances due to its high fat and low moisture content.
Reimers claims that while the theobromine naturally present in the cocoa is already an aid to concentration, the Herza researchers found that by adding lecithin granulate it is possible to improve memory as well.
And the addition of caffeine or guarana boosts performance in the office or in sports, she added.
Reimers maintains that in the form of drops in muesli bars or small slivers in power drinks, the fortified chocolate pieces are a valuable source of energy.
Polyphenols in chocolate and other such topics will be considered in more detail at the upcoming NutraIngredients Antioxidants 2010 Conference.
For more information and to register, please click here. http://www.ni-antioxidants.com/page/home.html