Hershey Funds Health Research, New Center
By Jennifer Mesich
Chocolate’s health benefits have been a popular topic within the industry lately, with more and more companies releasing studies and starting programs to further research evolving health claims. Adding to this research, The Hershey Co. recently announced preliminary results of a Yale study linking hot cocoa consumption to improved cardiovascular function and the expansion of its health and nutrition initiative.
The study, conducted by Yale’s Prevention Research Center, looked at the effects of consuming sweetened and unsweetened hot cocoa on arterial function and blood flow. Forty-five participants were given either sugar-sweetened cocoa, sugar-free cocoa or a placebo without cocoa. Hershey’s Natural Cocoa, which is processed to preserve flavanol antioxidant levels, was used in the cocoa drinks. Both regular hot cocoa and sugar-free hot cocoa resulted in improved blood flow within two hours of consumption, while the placebo had no effect.
Health center slated
Hershey also recently announced that it was establishing the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition. The center will direct scientific research to develop products and technologies related to heart health, weight management and mental and physical energy. The commitment to fund such a center stems from a recommendation by Hershey’s Health & Wellness Advisory Board, a panel of world-class scientists and analysts established in 2005.
“Our goal is to redefine the future of snacking by offering consumers products that provide proven health benefits and the superior taste they expect from Hershey,” said Tom Hernquist, senior vice president, chief global growth officer. “Our research is validating the significant health benefits of cocoa and snack nuts and, combined with our proven ability to develop and commercialize innovative new products, provides an immense capability to meet the growing consumer demand for healthier products.”
Designed to be a significant source of new product innovation, the center will draw on the company’s internal scientific capabilities as well as partnerships formed with internationally known researchers and institutions.