ALBANY, Georgia — Treat or trick?

After more than a decade of effort and a year of anticipation, the candy company Mars is coming out with what it says is a healthy new sweet: a line of chocolate bars and chocolate-covered almonds.

The new candies, CocoaVia, are produced at a factory here and serve as the centerpiece of a corporate quest to transform cocoa into a healthy indulgence. Here, chocolate is everywhere: a sweet and full aroma wafts from the conveyer belt; a machine drizzles milk chocolate onto dark-coated clusters in zigzag fashion; bars wade through a shallow river of liquid chocolate.

But it is the glob of granola, rice and flavanol-filled cocoa powder at the heart of the candy bar made here – injected with a burst of liquid-canola plant sterols – that distinguishes CocoaVia from the company’s well-known line, which includes M&M’s, Snickers and Dove bars. Flavanols are naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa that have antioxidant qualities; sterols are plant-based chemicals found in a variety of foods.

Flavanols are what set Mars on a scientific search. If it could show that they helped improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, then foods with them might help prevent heart disease.

In developing CocoaVia, Mars decided to include another major additive, plant sterols, which ultimately allowed it to make the claim that CocoaVia is good for hearts and arteries. And that is one reason that Mars is placing them in the health food aisles – near nutrition bars, rather than sweets – at retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

I beta-tested samples of these and they should also make your dry cleaner happy. Even in the wrapper, do not put them in your shirt pocket. They’re ready to melt at room temperature. Next to your body? Gooey is guaranteed.

  1. John Schumann says:

    I dunno, I read somewher that canola stuff isn’t so good for you.

  2. Neil says:

    I didn’t have to go to business school to know that with a name like CocoaVia, this product isn’t built to last.

  3. Angel H. Wong says:

    And don’t forget that Mars’ chocolate is also known as chocolate flavoured lard

  4. raindog says:

    I love all kinds of chocolate covered granola-type foods, so bravo Mars. Now bring us back the Mars Bar.

  5. Enjoyed your site. I have some fun with the CocoaVia product launch on my site, but haven’t had the pleasure of trying the thing yet.

    “Gooey is guaranteed. ” doesn’t sound like a likely marketing pitch, but your report has provided useful advice for everyone except dry cleaners. Actually, dry cleaners may be able to target this new audience if they don’t reformulate the product!

  6. meetsy says:

    so, would chocolated beef be healthy?


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