Monday, June 1, 2009
ANAHEIM, California (June, 2009) – As the food industry strives to create the next “new” ingredient, Mars Botanical is turning to nature and an “old” staple – cocoa, nature’s unexpected super fruit. After nearly two decades of research, the company is unveiling Cirku™ – a natural cocoa extract containing flavanols, which help maintain healthy circulation.*
While some of the oldest civilizations of the Americas were likely the first cocoa lovers, only recently have we truly begun to understand the power of this unique plant. Most are surprised to learn that cocoa is actually a fruit. In fact, it’s a “super fruit,” packed with unique active plant compounds called flavanols, linked to healthy circulation. And, healthy circulation gives your body the oxygen and nutrients where it needs them, when it needs them, so that you feel your best.
In fact, top nutrition experts will gather at this year’s Institute of Food Technology (IFT) annual meeting and food expo to discuss the latest science, clinical implications and applications of flavanols in product development at a session on “Plant Flavanols and Health: Learning from Cocoa Flavanols.” “The body of research is impressive,” said Mary Wagner, PhD, General Manager and Chief Technical Officer at Mars Botanical. “In the world of science, it’s rare to find a food or ingredient with such widespread health potential. From clinical studies to population research, we’ve begun to understand the future impact of these powerful compounds.”
In addition to a substantial body of research on the health potential of natural cocoa compounds (including more than 100 scientific publications published or supported by Mars, Incorporated), trend experts suggest flavanols and its umbrella group, flavonoids, are a fast emerging mass market, offering a prime opportunity for mainstream health conscious shoppers.
“We know consumers are seeking natural solutions to their health and wellness,” said Wagner. “They already know and love cocoa but the health potential of this fruit is essentially untapped. We’re helping unlock the nutritional power of an American favorite.”
Mars Patented Technology – Cocoapro™
“There’s lots of talk about compounds and natural phytonutrients, but unless you are specifically measuring and carefully handling the active ingredient, there is just no guarantee the product contains meaningful levels of the important compounds,” said Wagner. “It takes time and effort to fully characterize and understand a natural ingredient and Mars is a pioneer in cocoa flavanol analysis. We’ve developed the process to accurately measure these active compounds and have been studying our cocoa for nearly two decades – making it truly an ingredient like no other.”
And this is extremely important when it comes to flavanols. Cocoa flavanols can be easily destroyed during normal chocolate processing. Building off of years of manufacturing experience, Mars, Incorporated scientists have perfected a process to reduce the cocoa bean’s exposure to high temperatures, helping protect the flavanols inside. The proprietary, patented Mars, Incorporated Cocoapro process ensures delivery of a cocoa extract ingredient guaranteed to have consistently high levels of cocoa flavanols
Mars Botanical Cocoa Commitment
The Mars Botanical team behind Cirku is made up of experts in the field of cocoa research – from plant biologists to product developers – and as a family-owned business, Mars Botanical’s approach has always been hands-on and holistic. The company works closely with native cocoa farmers, pursuing the best ways to plant, cultivate and harvest their fruit – ultimately increasing the profitability and improving the quality of life for local communities.
Through involvement in programs like the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership (CSP) in southeast Asia, Mars is helping deliver a cocoa revitalization program that not only educates and supports cocoa farmers, but is also planting millions of cocoa trees over the next few years in cocoa growing regions…enabling these communities to thrive. This is all part of the Mars, Incorporated global commitment to ensure their entire cocoa supply is certified as sustainably sourced by 2020.
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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About Mars Botanical
Mars Botanical, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, was established as a scientific division of Mars, Incorporated in 2007 to focus on research and product development involving flavanols found in cocoa, tea, wine and certain fruits and vegetables. Its mission is to further develop leading edge science and technologies with the goal of creating plant-derived products aimed at improving human health. Mars Botanical will continue to build on the nearly 20-year heritage of Mars, Incorporated to continue its global scientific leadership aimed at investigating the health and biomedical potential of flavanols while establishing a sustainable, certified source of cocoa traceable from pod to product. For more information, visit www.MarsBotanical.com