Well-being has always been a pivotal part of Fazer’s products and services. Fazer keeps a close eye on the research results of the food and nutrition industry. New international scientific evidence of the health effects of cocoa and chocolate is continuously revealed. Chocolate contains protective nutrients, such as fibre, minerals and flavanols. Often the research relates to chocolate's high flavonol content, in particular. The EU has approved a health claim concerning flavanol's impact on the elasticity of blood vessels and blood circulation.
In Finland, the use of know-how related to the health effects of foodstuffs has so far been minor in any research concerning chocolate. Fazer's operations are based on research and development work, and studying chocolate from the perspective of health is indeed part of Fazer Group's research programme. “The objective is to know the effects of our chocolate and to complement international research,” says Sanna-Maria Hongisto.
In 2015, the The Department of Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki published, under the leadership of Professor Mikael Fogelholm, a study which demonstrated that the moderate consumption of dark chocolate does not lead to weight increase – nor does it cause any negative health effects. The study lasted for 10 weeks and involved 22 people with slightly elevated blood pressure. The research was funded by Fazer. The participants replaced their daily snacks with an equivalent amount (250 kcal) of dark chocolate (49 g, i.e. 7 Karl Fazer Dark 70% chocolates).
Preliminary research results also point towards chocolate's beneficial effects on cognitive functions. Fazer is currently running a Brainfood study which helps to chart the level of current knowledge and know-how, and investigates raw materials, products and services that can support cognitive performance.
Fazer studies chocolate's health effects to have a better understanding of the impact of its products. The results can be used to develop products that increase well-being. Fazer's goal is for daily, healthy choices to also offer taste sensations, whether they involve lunch, a tasty slice of rye bread, in-between meals or a piece of chocolate that melts in the mouth. “You shouldn't feel guilty about eating chocolate. Used in moderation, chocolate has a similar role to play in a balanced diet as nuts and almonds,” says Sanna-Maria Hongisto.