No joke, chocolate maker Barry Callebaut is getting into the nutritional supplements market.

The move has been made possible by a recent decision from the European Commission allowing the company to extend its existing health claims on its Acticoa products beyond cocoa flavanols to cocoa extracts.

The commission’s decisions follows the 2013 European Commission's approval of Barry Callebaut's existing health claim on Acticoa cocoa powder and dark chocolate.

The European Commission has also now granted Barry Callebaut the right to use the health claim that “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow” for applications in capsules and tablets containing high-flavanol cocoa extract for a period of five years.

WIth this new ruling, Barry Callebaut plans to source cocoa beans high in flavanols to third-party manufacturers of supplements. Those companies will  then be allowed to apply the health claim to their products and promote it on the packaging of the end consumer products.

In the end, Barry Callebaut hopes it will be easy for consumers to take the required daily amount of cocoa flavanols through one simple pill.

Herwig Bernaert, head of discovery programs and global projects at the Barry Callebaut Group, says the cocoa flavanols supplements market has great potential for companies in the  pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and supplement industries. 

“The extension of the health claim is another milestone in our research efforts on cocoa flavanols we have been carrying out since 2005 including more than 20 human clinical studies,” he explains. “The added benefit for consumers will be that the supplements derive their effect from a fully natural, trusted, and one could say even beloved source, the cocoa bean.”

Barry Callebaut’s initial health claim in 2013 was the first in the cocoa and chocolate industry.

The company was able to provide evidence that a daily intake of 200 mg. of cocoa flavanols (provided by 2.5 grams Barry Callebaut Acticoa cocoa powder or 10 grams Acticoa dark chocolate) contributes to normal blood circulation by helping to maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels.

The Barry Callebaut Group was allowed to use this claim for cocoa beverages (with cocoa powder) or for dark chocolate.