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Barry Callebaut launches probiotic chocolate

BY Tara Smith

LONDON Barry Callebaut this week launched a new probiotic chocolate bar at the Food Ingredients Europe show in London, claiming chocolate is a better carrier of “good” intestinal bacteria than dairy products.

Hans Vries, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut, claims the company’s method of producing probiotic chocolate is so effective, that chocolate-embedded probiotics had significantly higher survival rates than those in dairy-based carriers when tested on simulations of the human stomach and small intestine. The tests also suggested that the probiotics in chocolate are four times less likely to perish on digestion.

Probiotics are bacteria commonly added to food products that manufacturers claim help improve both gut and immune health and restore the pH balance of the intestines.

Other additions to Barry Callebaut’s healthy chocolate portfolio include Acticoa, an antioxidant-rich cocoa.

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ConAgra to fortify Swiss Miss hot chocolate

BY Tara Smith

OMAHA, Neb. ConAgra Foods is expanding its Swiss Miss line of hot chocolates, targeting women with new, functional offerings.

According to a recent survey from ConAgra, 51 percent of women look to fortified foods to get their essential nutrients and more than a third would also like to get these from such indulgent foods as chocolate. The survey of 500 women between the ages of 25 and 44 also found that nearly three-quarters of the respondents want chocolate more that any other confectionary and consume caffeine at least once a day.

Looking to meet these intersecting needs, ConAgra’s new beverage offerings include Swiss Miss Pick-me-up cocoa swirls, which contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, as well as the amount of calcium and Vitamin D in a glass of milk. The company’s Swiss Miss Great Start cocoa is enriched with 15 vitamins and minerals. Additionally, the new cocoas have only 110 calories and two grams of fat per serving.

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Hershey’s VP of global operations steps down

BY Tara Smith

HERSHEY, Pa. Less than 18 months after joining candymaker The Hershey Co., senior vice president of Global Operations Gregg Tanner announced Friday that he is leaving at the end of the month.

The third high-level Hershey executive whose departure had been announced or confirmed in the last two months, Tanner, 50, is leaving to pursue “a business opportunity that he feels will be rewarding on a professional level and will enable him to be with his family,” according to Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville.

Tanner’s departure follows Richard Lenny, Hershey’s chief executive officer, chairman and president, who announced earlier this month that he will retire at the end of the year. In August, Christopher Baldwin, senior vice president and president of Hershey’s North American Commercial Group, left the company to become president of Kraft Foods Inc.’s U.S. Snacks and cereals operations.

Tanner had been closely involved in Hershey’s three-year manufacturing realignment to reduce costs by eliminating some production lines in the United States and Canada by shifting some production to a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico.

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