Mars courts row over health claims

Mars uses new logo on packaging to exploit finding that cocoa beans can reduce heart disease

Confectionery giant Mars is taking on the functional food market by promoting the benefits of its chocolate-making process, which it claims can reduce heart disease.

The company is currently sponsoring research in the US, which has made preliminary claims that cocoa beans used to make chocolate contain naturally-occurring polyphenols – plant compounds that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Mars has created a Cocoapro trademark to promote the findings and is repackaging its confectionery range with a new logo.

The company says it has developed a process which retains polyphenol when chocolate is made.

But food watchdog the Food Commission has hit out, saying the move is just another way of selling more chocolate bars.

Spokesman Ian Tokelove says: “Mars is claiming this ingredient can reduce heart disease, but keeping fats and sugars hidden in the small print. We would call that misleading. It is another way of gaining an edge in the market.”

The Cocoapro symbol – a chocolate-coloured hand clutching a cocoa bean – already appears on chocolate and peanut M&M’s packets and is set to appear on Galaxy, Bounty, Twix and eventually the Mars Bar.

A Mars spokeswoman says: “The Cocoapro logo is a promise that the chocolate has been made using cocoa beans that are specially handled to preserve their natural goodness.”

A research paper provided by the company states chocolate has been used in some countries for more than 500 years to treat medical complaints including kidney stones, tuberculosis and anaemia.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here