Mars’ recent flavanols study helped create an industry standard to measure them, and could one day lead to labels on candy bars clearly saying how many flavanols are in the package. Mars Chocolate

And now the company is being recognized for its efforts. Mars, Inc. has received the 2013 Multi-Laboratory Study of the Year award from AOAC International.

The award recognizes a multi-laboratory study and method that demonstrates unique and noteworthy scientific achievements. Mars accepted the award at the 127th AOAC Annual Meeting & Exposition, held Aug. 25-28 in Chicago.

Flavanols are one of the most studied phytonutrients today, but until this award-winning study, there has been no standard, validated approach for the analysis of these compounds in foods.

As a result of the study, the scientific community and industry will be able to measure flavanol content in a consistent way, creating a uniform language for communicating with each other and with the public.

For consumers, this means more consistent package labels that make it easier to make informed decisions.

The award-winning study was validation of the Mars-developed method Flavanol and Procyanidin (by Degree of Polymerization 1-10) Content of Chocolate, Cocoa Liquors, Powder(s), and Cocoa Flavanol Extracts(AOAC Official Method 2012.24), a method for analyzing the complex mixture of flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa-based products.

Twelve collaborating laboratories including academic, industrial and commercial institutions participated in the validation study, which was published in the Journal of AOAC International in July/August 2012.

This award reaffirms Mars' commitment to cocoa flavanol research and collaboration. The company’s ongoing research in the field of cocoa flavanols is represented by the publication of more than 140 scientific papers and approximately 100 patents worldwide.

Cocoa flavanols refer to the group of phytonutrients found naturally in cocoa beans. Cocoa is an especially rich source of flavanols and the type and mixture of flavanols and procyanidins found in cocoa is unique.

Mars’ studies  as well as other research shows that cocoa flavanols have a range of proven health benefits in humans, including improved circulation and cardiovascular health.

“We're proud of our cocoa flavanol research as we know it can have a profound impact on the health of people around the world," says Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Mars’ research and development director.