Nestlé builds science to support cocoa polyphenol claims

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claims, Chocolate, Nutrition, Antioxidant

The polyphenol content of many chocolates varies greatly around the
world, scientists from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) report in
an article that adds to the company's ability to validate potential
nutritional and health claims for it cocoa-based products.

The impending introduction of nutrition and health claims regulations in the EU, published in the EU official journal in January, will be applicable from July. Industry has started to prepare for the full implementation Fundamentally, the new European regulation aims to increase consumer protection with regards to nutrition and health claims made on food. It is envisaged to harmonise health claims that can be made on food products throughout the EU. "The present study on cocoa polyphenols is a good example of the work carried out to provide the solid scientific foundation for Nestlé to support product claims and to communicate the health and wellness benefits of Nestlé products,"​ said NRC in a statement. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants, and contains more polyphenols per gram than green tea or red wine. Other studies have claimed promising results against a wide range of conditions including blood pressure, diarrhoea, breast cancer prevention, and decreasing the effects of aging on the brain. The chocolate industry has profited from the wave of positive health effect of cocoa, with some producers stressing polyphenol content on their labels. The new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​, used a new, fast chromatographic method to separate and quantify in three minutes six of the major polyphenols - catechins, epicatechin, B2, B5, C1, and tetramer D. Sixty-eight commercially available finished products were tested, covering most of the big confectionary companies worldwide. The researchers, led by Gary Williamson, report a strong correlation between epicatechin concentration and the other polyphenols, a result they said was "unexpected considering the diverse sources and types of chocolate in the sample set.""Epicatechin appears to be an excellent indicator for total polyphenol quality and quantity, with (-)-catechin being the main form of polyphenol that varies with cocoa origin and manufacturing conditions."This innovation adds a new dimension to the methods used to ensure the consistent high quality and quantity of cocoa polyphenols in Nestléchocolate,"​ said NRC Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​ Published on-line ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf063277c "Rapid reversed phase ultra-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the major cocoa polyphenols and inter-relationships of their concentrations in chocolate" ​Authors: K.A. Cooper, E. Campos-Gimenez, D. Jimenez Alvarez, K. Nagy, J.L. Donovan, G. Williamson

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