The new cocoa beverage is produced by Innovfood, the nutraceutical arm of Innovprof, an R&D consulting firm. The Singapore company previously launched a peel essence series.
The functional drink claims to contains 600% more polyphenol, 400% more catechin, 900% more epicatechin, and 2300% more antioxidant compared to standard cocoa beverages.
Dr Loke Wai Mun, founder of Innovprof, told NutraIngredients-Asia it hopes to target the healthy population looking to prevent the onset of CVD through the intake of functional foods.
“Many people are trying to delay or prevent the onset of diseases including CVD through functional foods, without the use of medication.”
CVD is the number one killer in Singapore as well as the world.
As a functional beverage, it can also be consumed by people suffering from CVD.
The cocoa essence contains cocoa polyphenols (51g/100mL), cocoa catechins (111mg/100mL), and epicatechin (38.5mg/100mL) designed to offer cardiovascular protection effects.
Nutrixin bases its products of clinically testing ingredients.
A systematic review published in The Journal of Nutrition comprising 24 randomised clinical trials of 1,106 participants found that cocoa consumption decreases systolic blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol, which are markers of CVD.
A 25-year study showed that intake of flavan-3-ol epicatechin, especially from foods like cocoa and tea, were associated with a lower risk of CVD. Findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Another study reported in the Am J Clin Nutr that consumption of dietary flavonoids, such as quercetin and epicatechin, can improve endothelial function acutely in healthy men.
These studies suggest that the polyphenol compounds in cocoa may have cardioprotective effects, especially epicatechin in improving vascular function.
R&D and production
The company extracts cocoa polyphenols from cocoa beans using its proprietary extraction techniques.
Besides the presence of cocoa polyphenols, the cocoa essence beverage also contains rice milk, cocoa powder, erthritol and stevia.
This makes it a vegan and ambient beverage, with a shelf life of one year.
While dairy milk is most palatable, Loke said it was more suitable for lactose intolerant consumers, and rice milk was allergen-free compared to nut-based milks commonly used in vegan beverages.
R&D for the cocoa essence took two years, and the product was intended to launch last year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research and development process of cocoa essence is partially funded by Enterprise Singapore, which aims to support SMEs in Singapore.
The cocoa essence drink is currently available on its online store, alongside the peel essence range.
Loke intends to find distribution in health stores and fitness centers.
Besides its cardiovascular protection effect, the product is also 20% lower in fat, 25% lower in sodium, 90% lower in sugar, 35% higher in protein and 350% higher in dietary fibre compared to other cocoa beverages in the market, which would cater to the general fit and health conscious consumer.
The firm sends its drinks to an accredited laboratory to validate the nutritional claim on its product label.
All the drinks are manufactured in Singapore.
Last year, Nutrixin rolled out its peel essence series, containing the apple, grape and orange beverages for immunity, cognitive and digestive health.
According to Loke, sales of the peel essence series have grown 25% month on month.
The firm is using social media marketing to promote its products, working with nano-influencers on Instagram and Facebook.
The firm was also working on new products, including functional powders to be added into beverages, which are set for launch later this year.