A significant body of scientific evidence has shown that flavanols, a naturally-occurring compound particularly abundant in cocoa, can help support healthy circulation and cardiovascular health. Mars has been pursuing research in the field of cocoa flavanols for over two decades and cross-sector collaborations have long been central to our approach.
On 24 January, Mars and partners convened over 50 leading experts in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss recent breakthroughs in the field of cocoa flavanol research and the key findings of FLAVIOLA – a three-year EU-funded research project dedicated to state-of-the-art research into flavanols, their health benefits and potential applications.
Members of the FLAVIOLA consortium were joined by a number of international researchers to review the outcomes of FLAVIOLA’s research and their potential implications on cocoa flavanol-based applications and dietary recommendations for flavanol intake. Mars Associates Dr. Hagen Schroeter (Director of Fundamental Health & Nutrition Research at Mars) and Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe (R&D Director at Mars Botanical) presented key findings from the project. Specifically, they focused on recent advances in the field of flavanol analytics and chemistry.
FLAVIOLA brings together the expertise and unique skill set of food scientists, nutritionists, biochemists, molecular biologists, cardiovascular physicians, and epidemiologists. The multidisciplinary team involves researchers from industry, academia and government organisations, including Heinrich-Heine University (Germany), University of Reading (UK), Maastricht University (Netherlands), INRA French National Institute for Agricultural Research (France), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Ghent University (Belgium), SciProm (Switzerland) and Mars.
“Mars works to establish mutual scientific partnerships that aim to jointly advance scientific understanding. This enables us to benefit from the extensive knowledge of our partners and allows our partners to benefit from the unique capabilities of Mars,” commented Dr. Hagen Schroeter, Director of Fundamental Health & Nutrition Research and FLAVIOLA member. “Mars brings to FLAVIOLA its expertise in flavanol analytics and chemistry, flavanol-preserving food processing technologies and flavanol-containing food product development. It is our aim that, through FLAVIOLA, we will provide crucial new insights into flavanols, their health benefits and potential applications.”
This work is part of a wider collaborative research program focused on examining the health benefits of cocoa flavanols. In collaboration with some of the world’s leading scientific institutions, Mars has been pursuing extensive research to advance understanding of cocoa flavanols for over 20 years.
Mars, Incorporated’s ongoing commitment to research in the field of cocoa flavanols is represented by the publication of more than 140 scientific papers and approximately 100 patent filings worldwide. Using this knowledge, Mars scientists have developed a proprietary, patented Cocoapro® process that helps to retain the flavanols found naturally inside the cocoa bean, which are usually destroyed during normal processing.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 70,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA™, WISDOM PANEL™ and SERAMIS®.
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