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Heart healthy chocolate tempts consumers to go dark

By Catherine Boal , 08-Sep-2006

Europeans are more clued up than their American counterparts when it comes to the benefits of dark chocolate, according to a US company educating the market through their range of functional health-boosting cocoa products.

MXI Corp is set to build on its line of antioxidant-rich Xoçai dark chocolates next month with a bar containing omega 3 and omega 6 oils - seducing the US market by promoting the health angle.

This year functional chocolate has proven to be an ever-expanding market with dozens of new products being introduced globally to tempt consumers dissatisfied with 'ordinary' treats or needing more of an incentive to replace milk chocolate with the bitter taste of dark.

 

The new orange chocolate bar product joins MXI Corp's existing Xoçai range released last year which is currently in the initial stages of trials with the cardiovascular genetics laboratory of the University of Utah to establish its effects on heart health.

 

Xoçai chocolate is the first in the US to display its antioxidant value on the front of the pack. The US Department of Agriculture recommends a daily antioxidant intake of between 3,000 and 5,000 Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) per day and one ounce of Xoçai provides 3,097 ORAC.

 

The chocolate contains unprocessed cocoa powder, which is high in flavanols, and antioxidant-rich açai berries. In a 12g portion there are 70 calories, 5g of fat and 3g of sugar.

 

Dr Steve Warren, founder of the Foundation for Flavonoid Research and medical advisor for the product told confectionerynews.com: "Americans are not very good at trying dark chocolate but we are trying to educate them, we want to teach them that bitter is better."

 

The company plans to release the products into the European market soon and also aims to branch out into the dietary supplement sector next year with a diet plan based around unprocessed cocoa.

 

Dr Warren explained: "Unprocessed cocoa is a natural appetite suppressant while boosting energy levels, we found that a lot of people were losing weight on our products so we're going to make a whole dietary range out of them."

 

Also in the pipeline is the 'Love' bar, so-called because it contains maca - said to be a natural aphrodisiac. It is planned for release in time for the Christmas season.

 

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