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News that would be of interest to chocolate aficionados and industry professionals from our Twitter feed as well as the latest articles focused on chocolate and health. We also list our upcoming programs and hope you will have fun contributing to our chocolate polls.

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Chocolate News

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The Chocolate Industry

From 2014-2019, the NCA forecasts that U.S. chocolate sales will grow another $4 billion, or 19%. That growth is being driven by consumers' preference for chocolate, which they see as being healthier than more traditional sugary candies, said Larry Wilson, vice president of customer relations for the NCA. "People are now saying I eat chocolate" because of the health benefits, he said.

Dark chocolate has also outpaced milk chocolate in terms of growth over the last year, although the latter still has by far the largest share of the market. Dark chocolate sales in the U.S. were up $102 million, or nine percent, in 2013 from a year ago, while milk chocolate sales rose 6%, or $409 million, according to data from market research firm IRI.

Consumers think "cocoa content equates with cardiovascular health," Mr. Wilson said, a trend the NCA expects to continue to drive consumption of dark chocolate – with its higher cocoa content – over the next five years.

According to an August 2013 report in Euromonitor International, chocolate sales growth is predicted to rise by eight percent in North America in the next five years, with an increasingly diet-conscious U.S. market set to remain the food group's biggest market, accounting for 15 percent of confectionery sales in 2018. Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst at Euromonitor International, said the results show consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for indulging in chocolate.

"[Chocolate's] value growth is being driven by a number of factors, for example health innovation, more visible branding strategies, certification, sophisticated packaging or simply a taste for indulgence," Redruello said.

According to Vreeland & Associaties, 2013 U.S. premium chocolate sales in the US increased 10% to $2.9 billion and that this segment has a 15% share of the entire chocolate market. These drivers should support continued 10% growth for 2014, nudging sales up to $3.2 billion.

Chocolate sales industrywide are expected to grow to $98.3 billion by 2016, according to a report released by the Dallas-based research firm MarketsandMarkets. The market has been witnessing a trend of shifting consumer preferences towards the dark and premium chocolate segments. The health benefits of cocoa act as a major driver for the market.

A lot of the growth will come from regions such as Asia, Brazil and the Middle East. India is the fastest growing market for chocolate in the world right now, according to Mintel Group. Sales there have doubled to $857 million in 2011, up from $418 million three years earlier. Mintel also forecasts that retail sales of chocolate in India will grow more than 20% annually through 2017.

"There is tremendous untapped market opportunity for Western premium chocolate brands in India," said Peter Ayton, global consumer analyst at Mintel. For luxury chocolate makers in America, it's a chance to break out from a crowded home market and expand into a fast-growth emerging market.

Chocolate & Health News

In case anyone needed another reason to love chocolate, a new study suggests that a natural compound found in cocoa, tea and some vegetables can reverse age-related memory loss. The findings suggest that the compound increases connectivity and, subsequently, blood flow in a region of the brain critical to memory, the researchers said. Full Story

Living to be 100 - Dr. Sanja Gupta talks about chocolate and health in an entertaining CNN video. Full Story

Dark chocolate, which has been shown in several studies to improve artery flexibility, may also help people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) walk a little better, researchers found. Full Story

Eating high levels of flavonoids including anthocyanins and other compounds (found in berries, tea and chocolate) could offer protection from Type 2 diabetes, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King's College London. Full Story

Dark chocolate, which has been shown in several studies to improve artery flexibility, may also help people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) walk a little better, researchers found. Full Story

High flavanol chocolate: Which cocoa flavanols are the best? Epicatechin is the gold standard cocoa flavanol says a medical doctor, but Barry Callebaut claims all flavanols have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Full Story

The antioxidants contained in dark chocolate might help people suffering from reduced blood flow to their legs, researchers from Italy report. In a small study, people with artery problems in their legs walked a little longer and farther right after eating a bar of dark chocolate, the researchers said. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. The researchers believe polyphenols improve blood flow to the legs by affecting biochemicals that prompt arteries to widen. Full Story

Cocoa extract could fight Alzheimer’s – mice study. A polyphenol-rich cocoa extract called Lavado may reduce nerve damage in Alzheimer’s patients before they develop symptoms, according to research in mice. Full Story

Resveratrol compound in red wine, chocolate, may not be so healthful after all. Although long considered a veritable silver bullet when it comes to preventing health problems, a new study calls into question the superpowers of the antioxidant resveratrol. But that doesn't mean the heralded benefits of chocolate or wine are all a wash. It's likely they come from other compounds that have yet to be identified instead. Fully Story

About 50% of our preference for sweet food and drinks can be attributed to genetics, about the same level of heritability as certain personality traits and asthma, according to a food sensory scientist. Full Story

An antioxidant found in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels, according to a report in Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. Scientists fed groups of mice varying diets, including high-fat and lowfat, as well as high-fat diets supplemented with different kinds of antioxidants from cocoa. Full Story

Researchers have discovered that the reason dark chocolate boosts human health is because its molecules can be broken down by bacteria in the GI tract and transformed into usable, healthy compounds. "These materials are anti-inflammatory and they serve to prevent or delay the onset of some forms of cardiovascular disease that are associated with inflammation," said researcher John Finley. Full Story

A new Dutch study has found that dark chocolate can restore flexibility in arteries and prevent the sticking of white blood cells to blood vessel walls. "The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. Full Story

Adding phytosterols to dark chocolate can produce a cholesterol-lowering product that qualifies for an FDA claim, according to a recent study. Phytosterols, found in cereals, seeds and vegetable oil, have a similar structure to cholesterol and can displace cholesterol in the intestine, which reduces cholesterol absorption. Full Story

A recent study could lead to chocolate enriched with probiotics that help digestive health. The study found that one probiotic strain had a high survival rate when it was combined with maltodextrin and lemon fiber in dark chocolate, and no change occurred in the chocolate's flavor, color or texture. Full Story

A study out of Spain found that European teens who ate a lot of chocolate had lower BMIs and slimmer waistlines regardless of whether they worked out or dieted. Full Story

In a study, participants who consumed cocoa flavanols through dark chocolate and a cocoa drink exhibited improved heart muscle. “Our hypothesis is that cocoa, as a food naturally concentrated in flavanols, may not only neutralize high oxidative stress condition, but also have specific and beneficial actions on important control system pathways in muscle tissue," said researcher Francisco Villarreal.
Full Story

The flavanols in dark chocolate appeared to be most effective in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive young people, while older subjects were less likely to exhibit the same benefit, a new study showed. Full Story

Studies indicate the antioxidants in dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower cholesterol and lower the risk of dementia. A new study by Harvard Medical School discovered improved memory when participants drank two cups of hot cocoa a day. Full Story

As researchers explore the links between cognition and the flavanols in cocoa, a study published in Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews notes brain imaging may provide important clues. "Future research has to combine functional neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI, EEG and MEG with neurocognitive and behavioral correlates," said the research team. Full Story

Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains sharp and improve their memory, U.S. researchers say. Full Story

The meteoric emergence of cocoa flavanols as the new 'super ingredient' continues, with many new scientific publications focused on the potential health effects of these special compounds. Full Story

Cocoa may fend off Diabetes. In a study, mice who were fed a high-fat diet and then given the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder showed fewer markers for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. Full Story

Research from Unilever indicates theobromine, not flavanols, are responsible for the health benefits conferred by cocoa. Healthy study participants who consumed 850 mg of theobromine saw improved cholesterol readings. Full Story

Cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate may keep you calmer and content but no link has been established with enhanced cognitive performance, according to a study funded by Barry Callebaut. Full Story

Cocoa polyphenols may trigger more neuroprotection than originally thought, according to a study published in theJournal of Cellular Biochemistry. Previous studies focused on the antioxidant properties of these compounds and less on the actions at cellular and molecular levels. Full Story

White chocolate, which does not contain the beneficial flavanols found in dark chocolate, still provides cardiovascular benefits, researchers say. Full Story

Eating dark chocolate can protect against heart disease and stroke, scientists claim, adding that men derive more health benefits from it than women. The benefits include anti-clotting effects which are activated within two hours in both sexes, and with greater impact in men. Full Story

Theobromine, a chemical derived from cocoa, relieved symptoms of acute and chronic coughs in 60% of patients, a study found. "Eating a bar of dark chocolate a day which has high levels of the compound may also be effective for people with diagnosed persistent cough, although eating chocolate on a daily basis may have other unwanted effects, including weight gain and so on," said lead author Alyn Morice. Full Story

A Neurology study finds that compared with men who reported eating little-to-no chocolate on a regular basis, those who had the highest weekly consumption of chocolate — about 63 grams per week, or just a little more than 2 ounces — reduced their likelihood of suffering a stroke by 17%. Full Story

Cocoa compounds found in dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure in the short term and could help guard against cardiovascular disease, according to The Cochrane Library study. Full Story

A new study published in Hypertension indicates the flavanols in cocoa may be beneficial in lowering the risk of dementia, based on trials conducted with 90 elderly participants. Full Story

Extracts of cocoa and green tea may have health benefits for obese adults, who showed improved markers for inflammation and oxidative stress in a study. Researchers credit the polyphenols in the cocoa and green tea. Full Story

A review of more than 100 previous studies confirms that chocolate can improve mood and brain function. "Cocoa powder and chocolate contain a large percentage of flavonoids that display several beneficial actions on the brain," wrote Astrid Nehlig in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Full Story

The European Food Safety Authority supported Barry Callebaut's claim that compounds in dark chocolate benefit blood circulation. Permission to make the claim on product labels still needs European Commission approval, with a decision expected in early 2013. Full Story

A study in the Journal of Nutrition indicates that high-flavanol cocoa protects skin from UV rays. No, not when you slather it on the skin, but when you eat it. Those who consumed the chocolate drink with higher amounts of flavanols suffered less significant burns than those who had a drink with less. Full Story

Great news for chocoholics! How eating modified treat can 'slow down the ageing process'. New technology increases body's absorption of cocoa flavanols - molecules contained in chocolate that improve skin oxygenation. Full Story

A scientific study likely to stir the souls of chocoholics has suggested that eating dark chocolate every day for 10 years could reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes in some high-risk patients. A team of researchers from Australia used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health impact of daily dark chocolate consumption. Full Story

Researchers based in Cambridge claim to have made a scientific breakthrough that transforms chocolate into an anti-ageing wonder drug. The technology increases the body's absorption of cocoa flavanols - molecules contained in chocolate that improve skin oxygenation, which is an essential factor in slowing the ageing process. Full story

Cocoa with fiber from cocoa bran can improve regularity, according to research from the Spanish National Research Council published in Nutrition & Metabolism. Full Story

Dark chocolate may lower your risk of heart disease by lowering levels of blood glucose and bad cholesterol while boosting levels of good cholesterol, a small new study suggests. Full Story

A study by the University of California, San Diego found eating chocolate five times a week, compared with not eating any, was associated with about a one-point drop in body mass index. That would amount to about seven pounds for a person 5' 10", or about five pounds for a five-footer, according to a report in MedPage Today. Full Story

Daily consumption of dark chocolate bars and a beverage containing approximately 100 milligrams of epicatechin for three months helped normalize cristae levels and increase molecular indicators of mitochondria production in type 2 diabetes and heart failure patients with damaged skeletal muscle mitochondria, according to a very small study in Clinical and Translational Science. Full Story

Eating chocolate is not only a treat for the tongue – it may also have some tangible benefits for heart health, such as lowering blood pressure slightly, according to a study involving more than a thousand people. The study, which combined the results of 42 smaller studies, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Full Story

Chocolate or cocoa powder containing higher amounts of so-called cocoa flavanols can positively influence brain performance in healthy middle-aged individuals. People who regularly consume cocoa flavanols can think just as well as others, but with less effort. This was revealed in an independent study by Professor Andrew Scholey and Con Stough from the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Australia. Full Story

Consumption of cocoa and the compounds it contains offer significant and ‘consistent’ benefits to blood flow and blood pressure, says a new meta-analysis of 42 studies. Full Story

A study by Mars examines the circulatory and cardiovascular benefits of cocoa flavanols. "The study provides a critical step toward a more complete understanding of flavanols and their benefits and, ultimately, toward the translation of this knowledge into innovative flavanol-rich food products and concrete health recommendations," according to Mars. Full Story

A review of studies on the health benefits of the flavonoid epicatechin, found in dark chocolate, concludes more research is needed. Studies link the flavonoid to health benefits including reduced heart disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, but the authors note that "well-designed, randomized, controlled long-term studies with clinically meaningful endpoints are needed to better clarify the potential benefits." Full Story

A Swedish study found that women who had the highest chocolate consumption, an average of about 2.3 ounces per week, had a 20% reduced stroke risk. Although the study failed to prove a cause-and-effect link between chocolate and stroke, cardiologist Nieca Goldberg said, "Chocolate does have antioxidants, and antioxidants are beneficial for your health." Full Story

In a study with lab rats, consumption of flavonoid compounds in cocoa lowered inflammation associated with arthritis. Researchers say additional study is needed to determine how the compounds could be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory drugs for humans. Full Story

Consumption of flavonoid-rich cocoa was associated with an average decrease in systolic blood pressure of about 1.6 mmHg, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health. Full Story

Dieters can still achieve weight-loss by consuming a daily dark chocolate or "non-chocolate snack" within the context of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.Full Story

University of Cambridge study showed the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 per cent reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels. Full Story

Consuming polyphenol-rich dark chocolate or cocoa products may reduce total and LD cholesterol levels, but has no effect on HDL levels, according to a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials. Full Story

Scientists in Canada said Monday that they plan to study whether eating dark chocolate not only satisfies sweet tooth cravings, but protects against sunburn as well. Full Story

The potential health benefits of cocoa polyphenols may be linked to their anti-inflammatory potential, suggests data from a human study from the University of Barcelona, Spain. Full Story

Auspicious new science suggests that chocolate can have a surprisingly large effect on the body’s response to exercise, although not in the ways that many of us might expect, and certainly not at the dosages most might hope for. Full Story

Consumption of low-fat chocolate milk is beneficial to muscle recovery and exercise performance, claim two recent studies. Chocolate milk drinkers had greater improvements in aerobic fitness compared to those drinking a carbohydrate beverage or water, according to recent findings from University of Texas Research. Full Story

Daily consumption of 40 grams of cocoa powder and 500 mL of skimmed milk for four weeks was associated with increases in HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and reductions in levels of oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol, scientists from the University of Barcelona report. Full Story

Eating dark chocolate, which contains high levels of cocoa flavonols, may boost eyesight and brain health by improving blood flow to the retina and brain, according to a study published in the journal in Physiology and Behavior. The findings suggest the effects may last for several hours after consumption. Full Story

A new study from researchers at the University of Reading claims that consumption of cocoa flavanols may improve aspects of eye and brain function. Full Story

Extracts from cocoa may block carbohydrate and lipid breakdown in the gut, and aid weight management, says a new study from Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition and the Pennsylvania State University. Full Story

According to a new study published in Nutrition Research Journal, chocolate and sugar consumption was not associated with body weight measures, risk factors for cardio vascular disease, or metabolic syndrome in U.S. adults. Abstract

A meta-analysis of 21 studies linked cocoa consumption to improved cholesterol levels and blood vessel health, reduced blood pressure and improvements in diabetes risk factors, such as insulin resistance. The Harvard researchers said the benefits are due to polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants in cocoa that may help curb cardiovascular disease. Full Story

The potential of polyphenol compounds in cocoa to reduce blood pressure is related to genotype, suggests a new nutrigenomic study that deepens our understanding of the cardiovascular benefits of cocoa. Full Story

The food police may find this hard to take, but chocolate has gotten a bad rap. There is in fact a growing body of credible scientific evidence that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind. Full Story

Chocolate boosts the body’s production of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) that protects against heart disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Full Story

Cocoa powder and dark chocolate has equivalent polyphenol content and greater antioxidant and flavanol content than various super fruits, claims a new study by research scientists based at the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition. Full Story

The potential heart health benefits of polyphenol-rich cocoa powder may be related to a ‘novel mechanism’ of boosting HDL (good) cholesterol, says a new study from Japan. Full Story

Giving Alzheimer’s Patients Their Way, Even With Chocolate. A very interesting article on more humane ways of treating Alzheimer' patients, including unlimited chocolate. Full Story

A study from Mars, Inc. and the University of Reading indicates flavanol compounds in cocoa can increase beneficial gut bacteria. The study suggests "subtle changes in dietary habits, such as eating dark chocolate, can benefit both host and microflora metabolism with potential long-term health benefits." Full Story

Theobromine, a chemical in cocoa, is being turned into a medicine for persistent cough, according to UK researchers. The chemical is thought to work by inhibiting the inappropriate firing of the vagus nerve, a key feature of persistent cough, reported BBC News. Full Story

Research indicates that polyphenols in chocolate can reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. In a study, participants given chocolate with high polyphenol amounts showed fewer symptoms and better Chalder Fatigue Scale scores than those given low-polyphenol chocolate. Full Story

Women age 70 and older who consumed one serving of chocolate – equivalent to one cup of hot cocoa – once a week had a 35% reduced risk of death or hospitalization from heart disease and an almost 60% lower risk of death or hospitalization from heart failure compared with infrequent chocolate eaters, a 10-year study showed. Full Story



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