Hershey builds on health portfolio

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chocolate

US chocolate manufacturer Hershey is adding to its health-boosting
chocolate range with two new products designed to capitalise on
cocoa's antioxidant properties.

The new Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate and Whole Bean Chocolate items will join other products in the company's so-called 'goodness chocolate portfolio'. Hershey has been vociferous in targeting the recent health niche, legitimised by a flood of reports as to the health benefits of high cocoa content chocolate. Earlier this month, research from Harvard Medical School suggested that the flavanol Epichatechin, found in cocoa, was so beneficial to health it could almost be classed as a vitamin. Given that chocolate is gradually shedding its image as a 'bad' snack, chocolate companies such as Hershey are keen to exploit this new direction in confectionery. Hershey's goodness portfolio already consists of the Extra dark chocolate range - with a 60 per cent cacao content - and Hershey's Sticks which contain 60 calories per bar. Senior vice president Michele Buck said: "Consumers are very interested in the goodness benefits of chocolate, including the antioxidants found naturally in dark chocolate. This interest is driving explosive growth in dark chocolate."​ The newest additions to the company's health brands boast a high level of flavanols, which are naturally occurring antioxidants in cocoa. The Antioxidant chocolate contains 260mg of flavanols per 40g serving while Whole Bean gives 180mg per serving. A survey conducted by chocolate processor Barry Callebaut in January, discovered that, on average, 35.6 per cent of consumers would buy chocolate that promised health benefits. In addition, 23.2 per cent indicated they would be prepared to pay up to 10 per cent more for 'healthy' chocolate.

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