The company, based in the Croatian city of Zagreb, has also launched probiotic chocolates for heart health and mood improvement, which join its existing products for gut health and energy.
Iva Martić, head of product development at Milsing, told us the Chocowise Prenatal was likely to appeal to women for its content of DuPont probiotic strain L. rhamnosus as well as the dose of 15 different vitamins and minerals including folic acid and iron.
Yet it would also likely to tap into pregnant women’s search for foods to satisfy pregnancy cravings.
One paper in the US estimated that 50–90% of women experience food cravings at some point during pregnancy.
Chocolate is one of the top craved foods, with some nutritionists considering this a sign that the body needs more magnesium.
Martić said this was something that would be used in the branding of its prenatal probiotic chocolate, which is also available in a sugar-free version.
There has been increasing industry movement on probiotics for maternal health in recent years.
Pregnancy probiotic interest mounting
Since June last year Nestlé has filed two patents for probiotic strains for pregnant and lactating women and women looking to get pregnancy.
Meanwhile this year Spanish supplier Biosearch Life filed for an EU health claim linking its probiotic strain with the reduced risk of mastitis, which is the painful inflammation of the breast during breastfeeding.
Asked if Milsing had noticed growth in the market for pregnancy and maternal probiotics, Martić said: “I don’t know if it’s growing but I think it’s something that’s always needed and I think every pregnant woman takes some form of supplement so if you’re taking it then why not take it in a form that is also very tasty and healthy.”
And in the supplement aisle is exactly where Milsing sees its bite-sized dark chocolate bars.
Not a functional food
Speaking with us at the pharmaceutical event CPhI in Barcelona last week where the company exhibited for the first time, Martić said the company wanted to hone in on medical marketing and position the chocolate as a food supplement not a functional food.
“We are not sure that’s good way for us because generally functional food is perceived as something which is maybe on a lower level in terms dose. I think generally the doses of active ingredients of functional foods is lower [than supplements].”
She said if the products were placed on supermarket shelves consumers would perceive them “more as chocolate with probiotics” as opposed to “a probiotic in the form of chocolate”.
The price comparison to a normal chocolate bar would also be “unfavourable”, she said, while it would stand up well next to other food supplement products.