Barry Callebaut eyes food supplements after EU opens cocoa flavanol health claim doors


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Barry Callebaut: “We will supply the beans and claims and our co-manufacturer can take care of the extraction and global distribution."
Barry Callebaut: “We will supply the beans and claims and our co-manufacturer can take care of the extraction and global distribution."

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The EC has handed Barry Callebaut cocoa extract blood circulation marketing tools in new sectors – including food supplements for the first time.

The firm told us it is seeking a single multinational ingredients partner to execute the move into the supplements sector and new territories.

“We are in negotiations,” ​relayed Barry Callebaut global R&D manager Leen Allegaert. “We will supply the beans and claims and our co-manufacturer can take care of the extraction and global distribution. There are many possibilities.”

“There are great opportunities for supplement manufacturers,”​ she said noting there were other flavanol sources but that few of them possessed EU-backed claims.

The European Commission backed the Swiss choc giant’s request to extend its cocoa flavanol-based blood circulation claim​ into “capsules, tablets or... ‘other foods, including beverages’.”

Discussions were abeing held with pharma and dairy players. A Barry Callebaut spokesperson talked up the potential of dairy milk applications​ last year with our sister site DairyReporter at Vitafoods Europe.


Previously the EU-approved cocoa flavanol claim was only usable in dark chocolate and cocoa-based beverages but Barry Callebaut said building data for extracts fed its article 13.5 EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) submission. Article 13.5 protects proprietary data and so the data has not been published in peer reviewed journals as yet. The company wins five years exclusivity to the claim under the terms of the NHCR.

The claim, granted in 2013, states 200 mg of cocoa flavanols daily ‘help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow’.


This amount of flavanols is available in 2.5 g of its Acticoa-branded cocoa powder or 10 g of dark chocolate.

Niches, indulgence

Allegaert denied the company was motivated to seek the extension because of lacklustre response among dark chocolate and cocoa-based beverage players.

“It is still very much a niche market,” ​Allegaert said, noting indulgence products and health were not mutually exclusive. “It takes time to position it and make it big but this extension can help. It is still so innovative and new but we believe in it. It’s indulgence plus something more – it’s 2in-1. Consumers are becoming more health aware. It’s a slow but positive evolution.”

She said Acticoa – which first launched in the US in 2006 – was available in “100 or more products globally” ​although a scan of European shelves shows there are few on-market here.

The company said there were more than 20 studies backing cocoa flavanols.

Switzerland – outside the EU28 – has its own set of health claim laws but Barry Callebaut is yet to apply for a claim there.

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