Dark Chocolate Sales Soar on News of Health Benefits

by Marv Parker, Senior Candyologist

Perhaps the biggest news in the candy lovin’ world has been the fairly recent revelation about the health qualities of dark chocolate.

According to the website, “published studies are accumulating that suggest cocoa and dark chocolate may decrease the risk factors of some lifestyle related diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Yet another reason for us chocolate lovers to rationalize an additional chunk of chocolate each day. It must be pointed out however, that the discussion is about dark chocolate, not the more popular milk chocolate version. Dark chocolate bars can range from 30% to 70%, 75%, or even above 80% for extremely dark bars. Personally I prefer a little fruit mixed in with mine (Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut comes to mind) to add a bit of sweetness, or toasted almonds. I use a 72% cacao content Belgium chocolate for my sauces and ganaches, so I am definitely getting the benefits, such as they are.

And I am not alone. Ad Age reports that sales of dark chocolate are up 40% this year. Of course one reason for this significant increase is that candy manufacturers are promoting their new dark chocolate bars as health foods, which might be a bit of a stretch in that dark chocolate still contains calories and fat, but it certainly has caught the public’s attention.

More and more people are now willing to try dark candy products and the media is fanning the flames of interest with frequent coverage. As Ad Age stated “Chocolate has nuances and the fact that people want to taste and learn about them is evidenced by the fact that more and more chocolates are stating their cacao percentages and countries of origin on the label.”

An additional potential health benefit comes from several clinical trials that have supported the notion that cocoa (or dark chocolate) may be useful in fighting high blood pressure. As an example, an Indian tribe in Panama, noted for their lack of high pressure, is known to be heavy cocoa consumers.

Whatever. Most of us are gonna continue eating dark chocolate and if it’s good for us too, hey that’s just one more reason to enjoy it.

Civil War Era Candy Company Relocates

PHILADELPHIA — A candy distributor based in Philadelphia since the Civil War has moved to New Jersey.

Casani Candy Co. Inc. had been located in northeast Philadelphia since 2001, after spending a century in the Old City section. But it will now be located a 15-minute drive away in Pennsauken, N.J.

Officials say a shopping center project forced the company to leave its Philly location and the property across the Delaware River was ready to move into.

Casani dates to 1865. It still has close to 500 accounts, including mom-and-pop operations and locations on the New Jersey shore, which company president Jack Lees says is a market equal to Christmas. The company’s main business is repackaging bulk candies, but about half the candy is made abroad now.

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