Gourmet chocolate specialist House of Brussels Chocolates (HBSL) has teamed up with functional foods developer Culinova to create a new line of nutritional supplement chocolate bars aimed at perimenopausal women.
Perimenopause is the period prior to menopause, averaging four years, where changes in hormone levels interfere with ovulation and can cause significant discomfort, flashes, mood changes and difficulty with sleeping.
Each bar of chocolate has been fortified with a blend of folic acid, calcium and soy isoflavones, supplied by leading premix manufacturer Fortitech.
Folic acid, calcium and to a slightly lesser extent soy isoflavones, are already backed by a strong amount of evidence showing benefits for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Manny Stern, managing director of New York-based Culinova, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that as a result no clinical trials had been performed by the company to test the efficacy of the supplements as it felt that existing scientific evidence of the benefits of the nutrients was already sufficient.
House of Brussels has previously launched a 'no-sugar-added' chocolate for which it was obliged to develop a technique for overcoming texture problems resulting from adding extra substances. "A tempering chocolate matrix tends to break down when 'foreign' substances are added causing the chocolate to lose the texture and sheen expected from a gourmet-level product," explained HBSL.
"Based on our success with 'no-sugar-added' chocolate, we were contacted by Culinova to develop and manufacture a new line of chocolates containing a proprietary supplement group aimed at treating perimenopause," added HBSL.
For this project the company said it used the same technique as with its no-sugar-added products, and successfully delivered a line of chocolates containing a 'cocktail' of supplements.
"Given Brussels' ability to marry great taste and texture with nutritional supplements they were the obvious manufacturer of choice for our new bars," said Stern. "Great taste is critical to our target audience which is primarily health conscious and sophisticated women aged 45-60."
Commenting on the development, William F. Donovan, the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) chairman, stated: "The MAB wants to explore a variety of medical opportunities using chocolate as a delivery vehicle for all types of supplements and nutritional additives. The ability of Brussels to temper a chocolate matrix without losing taste is very special."
Donovan added: "The MAB has approached leading doctors, chiropractors, scientists, nutritionists and specialists in the Consumer Health and Nutritional Industry for new opportunities since it is generally assumed that by using special chocolate products, doctors can treat a variety of patients with better compliance."
The bars are to be available through mail order only.