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Cocoa Research Finds a Place in the Global Health Dialogue
Date:10/6/2009

BANGKOK, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- As thousands of experts around the world converge to discuss the state of global health and nutrition at the International Congress of Nutrition (ICN), top experts from the University of California, Davis and Mars, Incorporated are acknowledging the important impact of cocoa on human health. During a session entitled "Cocoa Science - Flavanols and Sustainability," scientists will present evidence from recent research on cocoa flavanols and highlight the global advancements and future goals for cocoa sustainability.

Often linked to chocolate and indulgence, researchers around the world are taking a serious look at this much-loved "super" fruit. Some of the oldest civilizations were likely the first cocoa lovers, but 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.*

"Our understanding of cocoa and potential health benefits has grown exponentially over the last few years." said presenter Carl Keen, PhD, chair of the Department of Nutrition and professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis. "The research clearly points to a specific benefit from cocoa flavanols - and the global potential is definitely noteworthy." Numerous scientific research papers on cocoa flavanols demonstrate a positive impact on circulatory health and related conditions.

In fact, Mars, Incorporated has published or supported more than 100 scientific publications and holds more than 80 patents resulting from work with institutions including Harvard University and the University of California, Davis. Since 1982, Mars, Incorporated has operated the Mars Center for Cocoa Science in Bahia, Brazil as a research partner with federal, local, and non-governmental organization (NGO) communities working on a broad range of issues in cocoa. Lessons learned at the center have benefited farmers around the globe.

"There's a lot to learn about cocoa as a crop, especially since cocoa supply and demand has increased steadily over the past century," said Peter van Grinsven, cocoa sustainability manager at Mars, Incorporated, which helped sponsor the ICN symposium. "By advocating for sustainable cocoa farming systems we can contribute positively to future health goals." Cocoa is grown around the globe in hot and humid climates - 20 degrees north or south of the equator. Using sustainable farming systems in these communities can not only help maintain crop supply, but it could also affect global health, beyond the benefits of the cocoa itself by:

  • promoting responsible land use and crop diversification (cash and food crops) and farming strategies that negate the needs to abandon ageing farms and cultivate new lands,
  • generating funds to invest in (rural) communities for education, sanitation, health services and general infrastructure,
  • helping cocoa farmers become the 'local market' for food crop farmers, and
  • contributing to carbon sequestering.

Mars Cocoa Commitment

As a family-owned business, Mars, Incorporated'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 to deliver a cocoa revitalization program that not only educates and supports cocoa farmers, but is also helping to 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.

Mars Patented Technology - Cocoapro(TM)

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 cocoa extract. The proprietary, patented Mars, Incorporated Cocoapro process ensures delivery of a cocoa extract ingredient guaranteed to have consistently high levels of cocoa flavanols.

About Cirku(TM) and CirkuHealth(TM)

This fall, Mars Botanical, a scientific division of Mars, Incorporated, introduced Cirku, a cocoa extract ingredient guaranteeing a concentrated source of cocoa flavanols, and CirkuHealth, a great-tasting dietary supplement cocoa extract powder mix. CirkuHealth is available online in the U.S. at www.CirkuHealth.com in original and sweetened varieties as a month's supply of 28 single-serve packets for $44.95.

If you'd like to arrange a meeting with a Mars, Incorporated expert at ICN or beyond, please contact Onanong Pratakphiriya in Bangkok (T: +662.343.6059 | M: +668.1828.1002 onanong@webershandwick.com) or Lori Fromm in the United States (312-988-2436 lfromm@webershandwick.com).

"Cocoa Science - Flavanols and Sustainability" will take place on Thursday, October 8th at the International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) in Bangkok, Thailand.

* 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.

MARS, INCORPORATED

Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned company founded in 1911 and employing over 65,000 associates at more than 230 sites, including 135 factories, in 68 countries worldwide. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, U.S.A., Mars, Incorporated is one of the world's largest food companies, generating global revenues of more than $30 billion annually and operating in six business segments: Chocolate, Petcare, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience. These segments produce some of the world's leading brands: Chocolate - M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare - PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR®, and ROYAL CANIN®; Wrigley - ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food - UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks - KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience - WISDOM WISDOM PANEL(TM) INSIGHTS, WISDOM PANEL(TM) PROFESSIONAL, SERAMIS®, CIRKUHEALTH(TM) and COCOAPRO(TM).

For more information, please visit www.mars.com.

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 improve human health by promoting and delivering the natural power of flavanols in a cocoa extract through passionate and caring entrepreneurship. 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.

SOURCE Mars, Incorporated


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SOURCE Mars, Incorporated
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