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Indulge in Healthy Chocolate

Posted: October 30, 2007

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Green tea remains a popular flavor, especially in Asian markets. Known to be beneficial to the body because of its high antioxidant content, green tea has recently become a popular flavor across various food categories. In Japan, Meiji Seika Kaisha recently released Japanese Nuts: Green Tea & Macadamia. The crushed macadamia nuts are coated in green tea-flavored chocolate for a taste that combines the familiar—chocolate and nuts—with the exotic—green tea.

Other herb-based chocolate formulas have been recently introduced around the globe. Beyond mint, always a popular combination with chocolate, Mintel GNPD has seen products flavored with lemongrass, pandan (a leaf often used in South Asian cooking), lavender and hemp. In Germany, J.G. Niederegger’s Marzipan Harmonie chocolates feature three nature-inspired flavors: apple-lemongrass, ginger-buckthorn and peach-green tea.

Functional: Taking it up a notch, some new product launches go beyond healthy, natural flavors to include ingredients known for their functional benefits. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is recognized as a good source of antioxidants that help prevent various diseases by fighting off dangerous free radicals in the body. Several new dark chocolate products highlight this fact by emphasizing the cocoa content. In Singapore, the Hershey Company doesn’t do so, but it does describe its Nuggets Truffles as a natural source of flavanol antioxidants. Made from special dark mildly sweet chocolate with chocolate truffle filling, Hershey’s Nuggets are simultaneously indulgent and beneficial to the body.

The goji berry, a super food quickly becoming famous for its high antioxidant content, has even entered the chocolate realm as manufacturers look for ways to increase the health profiles of their products. Canadian brand Himalania now features Yogurt Covered and Chocolate Covered Goji Berries, designed to indulge a taste for sweets while providing healthy antioxidant qualities.

No longer is the chocolate flavor market limited to caramel, almond and peanut. Forward-thinking manufacturers are determined to give health-minded consumers the chocolate products they need for acceptable, yet luscious, chocolate indulgences. With nature-inspired flavors and functionally nutritious ingredients, these new chocolate products should do well amid rapidly growing health trends.