Monday, September 15, 2014


A recent news item appearing in the media reports the plans of some major Indian food companies to manufacture and market so called chocolate spreads in India as a replacement to fruit jams. It is a fact that the fruit jam market is lately seeing a decline because of the perception among consumers that is unhealthy being too rich in sugar. Technologically jam is a product in which no preservatives are allowed by law, the high sugar concentration amounting to almost 70% providing preservative effect. But what is forgotten is that there is also a significant content of fruit solids supplying some vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals. After all jam is not eaten in big quantities as a 5 gm sachet is sufficient for two slices of bread and there for its presence in the daily diet is not that much to be afraid of. The alternative being considered viz. Chocolate spread is hardly the answer. read the report below and imagine the consequences of this move in the Indian context. 

"At least three food companies are introducing chocolate bread spreads in the domestic market, in what could be a sign of urban India's desire for change on the breakfast table. Mapro, Dukes and Finetti will bring out their own line of Ferrero India's Nutellalike chocolate spreads this month, challenging the dominance of fruit preserves that have found favor with consumers for ages. "Consumption growth of jams is on a decline and chocolate spread, although on a small base, is rising steadily". 

True chocolate is a beautiful product liked by both children and adults and it is hard to resist good quality chocolates because of of their unique texture, flavor, taste and mouth feel. Unfortunately its high saturated fat content and intense sweetness can be a fatalistic combination if consumed in large quantities in the long term. Modern avatars of chocolates viz. Bitter Chocolates are touted as panacea for every illness mankind is faced with. But there is very little clarity regarding the beneficial effects these products vis a vis their processing methods, composition, absorption of the phytochemical constituents present in them and actual impact on human health through clinical studies. Though the manufacturers are not claiming any health benefits for these spreads they must be really factoring in the aura of cocoa and its popularity as a source of antioxidants before venturing into the market. Industry might also have been influenced by the absence of any mandatory standards of quality and safety in the statute books at present. Probably wiser parents may be well advised to keep their children away from such high fat and sugar products if they wish to keep them safe from future obesity problems.


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