Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

Read more breaking news


EFSA health claim

Callebaut’s cocoa health claim win ‘encouraging’ for chocolate industry

By Oliver Nieburg+

Last updated on 19-Jul-2012 at 13:26 GMT2012-07-19T13:26:48Z

EFSA decision represents the first positive opinion for a health claim related to cocoa flavanols
EFSA decision represents the first positive opinion for a health claim related to cocoa flavanols

Barry Callebaut has received a positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for a health claim linking cocoa to improved blood flow in news that has been welcomed by the broader confectionery industry.

EFSA issued its scientific opinion  on Callebaut’s claim on Tuesday and the European Commission will now decide whether to approve the claim, amend it, or reject it.

The claim made under Article 13.5 of the European Union nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) is the first cocoa flavanols submission to obtain a positive EFSA opinion.  It reads:


Cocoa flavanols help maintain endothelium-dependent vasodilation which contributes to normal blood flow.


EFSA said that the claimed effect could only be obtained through 200mg of cocoa flavonals daily, which is equivalent to 2.5 high flavonal cocoa powder or 10g of high flavonal dark chocolate, about one fifth of a regular sized chocolate bar.

‘Encouraging’ for industry

The Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries (CAOBISCO) welcomed the news.

Sabine Nafziger, CAOBISCO secretary general, told that this was a "clear and science-based opinion" that was "very encouraging for our industry”.

[It] rewards the outcome of many years of research and clinical studies into ways of preserving cocoa flavanols and establishing their health benefits.”

“This opinion will not open up the floodgates but will encourage our industry to pursue its innovation efforts and researches,” she said.

Barry Callebaut says the claim can be used on products processed through its flavanol-preserving Acticoa method

Building its case

Barry Callebaut obtained the EFSA nod based upon five published and one unpublished randomised controlled trials.

The EFSA panel considered one study from Davison et al. from 2008 involving 65 participants that found that cocoa flavanols consumed over 12 weeks could increase endothelium-dependent vasodilation significantly, which could help to regulate blood flow.

Barry Callebaut, which has the right to the claim for five years, hopes the EFSA opnion will open up new market potential for chocolate products produced through its Acticoa process. The company claims the Acticoa process can preserve 80% of cocoa flavanols usually destroyed in the chocolate-making process.

If the Commission approves the claim, Callebaut customers using its high-flavanol cocoa products will be able to apply the claim on their products and packaging.

Nutritional profile challenge

“However, if nutrient profiles are agreed, several products might not be allowed to wear this allegation,” warned Nafziger.

Nigel Baldwin, director of scientific and regulatory consulting Europe for Intertek Cantox, told this site that the chocolate industry had struggled with  nutritional profiles in the past.

“In order to be ‘chocolate' you have to have fat and so on, so in the earlier days and with the resurgence of the discussion on nutrient profiles, claims on chocolate per se have been a potential non-starter,” he said.

Nafziger added that the wording of the claim may be changed by the Commission to be better understood be consumers.

Likelihood of Commission approval

Inga Koehler, head of nutritional business consulting at analyze&realize, gave this publication her thoughts on the likelihood of the claim’s passage through the European Commission.

“It will be interesting to see how the different member states will judge the claim,” she said.

“It cannot be excluded that the cocoa choc-claim will suffer the same fate like the caffeine claims related to cognition or physical performance.  In the past, we have witnessed how a (positive) scientific opinion by EFSA was turned into a political decision by the EC.”

She said that allowing a claim on chocolate could lead to higher consumption and thus increased intakes of sugar and fat, which could give member states cause for concern.

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars

Promotional Features