Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Choco-Omeg

One of the seminars I attended at the All Candy Expo was about the cardiovascular benefits of chocolate. It was very promising (and I’ll try to have more about that when the study is actually published), and it’s clear that chocolate can be added to a healthy diet. What’s a little strange is the boosting of chocolate to nutritional supplement. Some companies are going with extra dark chocolates and Mars/Dove has their proprietary line of CocoaVia chocolate products.

I’ve already covered that with the Adora Calcium tablets, but Botticelli is going far and above that with their new Choco-Omeg line.

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The Choco-Omeg line is built around the linchpin of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids that are found in high concentrations in fish and flax seed. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are used for the body in maintaining healthy tissues. There is some evidence (both supporting and contradictory) that Omega-3s in higher quantities can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation.

Even if you take the Omega-3 boost out of these chocolate bites, you’ve got a super-nutritious snack because of the addition of trace minerals and vitamins to the bars.

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Choco-Omeg - Calcium Formula - Belgian milk chocolate with cookie bits. Label: Excellent source of magnesium, calcium and vitamin D - supports strong bones & teeth. 50 mg of Omega-3 plus 400 mg of Calcium. (I don’t have the full nutrition label on this one.)

Taste - the milk chocolate here is rather bland and sweet and since it has no additional flavor boost like the others do, it’s kind of ordinary. The cookie bits are nice and I always enjoy a little crunchy texture. I suspect these are here to cover the graininess added by the mega-calcium. The milk chocolate in both varieties is rather American tasting, none of that European dairy flavor. 

Choco-Omeg - Memory Formula - Belgian milk chocolate with orange flavor. Label: Source of antioxidants - 50 mg of Omega-3 - Excellent source of 15 essential vitamins & minerals. 55 mg of Choline (essential for brain function, possibly aids in weight loss because of its role in metabolism), 25% of the following: Vitamin A, E, B6, B12, C, Thiamin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Zinc and 30% of Riboflavin, Magnesium & Iron. 40% RDA of Calcium.

Taste - really nice orange scent and real orange peel in there. It’s sweet and looks and tastes a little grainy. The flavor isn’t bad. The orange is very strong and doesn’t leave much room for chocolateyness. This one also has a pretty high boost of calcium too, with 40% of your daily value, but without the grit I’ve had in other supplements.

Choco-Omeg - Cardio Formula - Belgian bittersweet chocolate with raspberries. Label: Source of heart healthy B vitamins, lycopene & co-enzyme Q10. 400 mg of Omega-3. Also contains 5 grams of fiber and 10% of the following: B6, B12, Vitamin C, Iron and Folic Acid. A serving is either a 1.27 ounce bar or three of the nuggets shown above.

Taste - it’s different, I’ll tell you that. It smells really raspberry-ish. And upon biting into it, you can see the little flecks of freeze dried raspberries. The chocolate isn’t too sweet and the berries pack a good tart punch to boost the flavor. Of course to pack that much Omega-3 in there, they’ve put in whole flax seeds. If you don’t think too much about it, they’re kind of like raspberry seeds. Lots and lots of raspberry seeds. At first I wasn’t keen on them, but after the fifth or sixth one I got used to them and found the texture and sort of nutty flavor an interesting addition.

Of the three, I think the one that I could see myself eating regularly is the orange Memory formula one with the Cardio second and the Calcium last. I could see myself alternating them, but I know that I would never be able to eat three nuggets a day forever and ever. It’s a large calorie commitment at 180-200 calories, but there’s plenty of nutrition in there, especially if you’re a person on the go and don’t always eat right.

They’re not for sale in the States yet, but they are available in Canada right now (where they’re made). American distribution is expected in the next couple of months, with the price points set at $1.99 each for the bars and $11.99 for the tub of nuggets (30 pieces, 10 servings). It’s a bit steep for candy but on par with most nutrient boosted foods. You’ll find them at drug stores in the nutrition aisle, not with the candy. The Omega-3 blend that they use comes in part from fish, so these are not appropriate for vegetarians.

This is the kind of product where you have to know yourself really well. Are you disciplined enough to eat some candy every day as a supplement, or will you get bored? Or are you just looking for a sometime treat that has a few nutritional boosters in it? The candy chefs have gotten much better at removing the compromises - these do taste pretty good and it’s not just a little extra vitamin C in there, there are some substantial nutrients added. I can see myself picking one of these up for a plane ride instead of a chocolate bar, but not eating the little nuggets every day. It is nice that they offer the different sizes so that you can just try a bar before investing in a whole hex box of nuggets.

It took me a while to decide on the rating for these. I find that I’m eating them, which is a good sign considering how many candies I have to choose from at the moment. But I don’t feel like I’m going to restock when I run out except for the odd bar that I may pick up now and again. They’re a bit tastier than the Adora, but the portion size is larger and of course the calorie tally. I ended up giving them an 8 out of 10. Feel free to argue with me because I think I could go with a 7 out of 10 just as easily. 

Finally - if you’re interested in seeing more about this (and probably some other All Candy Expo products) check out the Today show tomorrow morning. Sam, from Botticelli, says that they’re doing a piece on new candy products!

(Wow, this was a really long review.)

Name: Choco-Omeg - Memory, Cardio and Calcium
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Botticelli
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo samples
Price: $1.99 per bar/$11.99 per box retail
Size: 1.27 ounces (bars) 12.7 ounces (box)
Calories per ounce: 142-157
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:30 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Ooooo, I’m excited that you did these today! 7/8 out of 10 isn’t bad….it looks like I may have to try one when I see them in stores (eventually). Not sure how I’m going to like the flax seeds in the Cardio mix…I hate nuts in my chocolate. How would you compare these to CocoVia?

    One thing about these chocolates so far that I really DON’T like….it’s the package. YUCK. Who was thier designer? It doesn’t read “healthy chocolate food” to me…..the vibes are more “scientific”. I can see this on a free pamphlet in a doctors office….

    Comment by Sera on 6/20/06 at 5:01 pm #
  2. Yeah, I second what Sera said.  The packaging is wretched.

    Comment by Alex on 6/20/06 at 8:30 pm #
  3. I totally agree about the packaging.

    So, do these Belgian chocolates contain hazelnuts?  I’m allergic to all nuts—peanut and tree—so I don’t get to have a lot of the chocolates.  :(

    Hey—you mentioned reviewing local candies at some point, I think.  Have you see this website before?  http://www.kencraftcandy.com/  I’m thinking of trying them and I’m curious to hear your review.

    Comment by MusicalMom on 6/21/06 at 5:55 am #
  4. Wow, thanks the honest review. The packaging was designed for the Supplement section of a pharmacy. To go next the Omega caplets or the Viactive. FYI, when we launch in the USA, the packaging will be more appealing. Any other suggestions? big surprise

    I missed the Today segment, did anyone see it?

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 6/23/06 at 11:43 am #
  5. Cybele's avatar

    Sera - I’ve never tried CocoVia ... I know, I know. I should.

    Musical - I think I might have some of their “circus sticks” around the house, I’ll have to check!

    Sam - dangit! I knew I forgot something that morning! (I don’t usually watch the morning shows.)

    Can you answer the nut question? I don’t have the (empty) wrappers in front of me.

    Comment by Cybele on 6/23/06 at 3:44 pm #
  6. Choco-Omeg is manufactured in a plant that has nuts. That is on the package, but there are no nuts in the formulation, only a few flax seeds in the Cardio formula. Thanks again Cybele.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 6/24/06 at 9:24 am #
  7. MUSICALMOM! Did you know that Kencraft Candy company is owned by the same company that owns Botticelli? surprised

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 6/24/06 at 9:28 am #
  8. I think that’s so awesome that you have actual candy guys here to help answer questions.

    Cybele, you ARE the candy goddess.  I bow to you.

    Comment by Grommie on 6/25/06 at 10:38 pm #
  9. Thank you so much for the review.  I do not care one bit for fish and am glad to have another source of Omega 3.

    Comment by Anna on 6/26/06 at 5:42 pm #
  10. Confirmed, CHOCO-OMEG and about 6 other confectionery products are being featured on the TODAY SHOW July 4th.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 6/27/06 at 6:12 am #
  11. I had no idea!

    I’ll have to give them a try.  smile

    Thanks!!!

    Comment by MusicalMom on 6/28/06 at 6:47 am #
  12. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks for the update Sam on the Today show. I think they’re doing a special segment on new candy products from the Expo (as I know they’re featuring Bubble Chocolate on that day too).

    I’ll be sure to record it (and probably remind people to watch).

    Musical - please report back what you think when they come out!

    Comment by Cybele on 6/28/06 at 6:52 am #
  13. The Today show segment will air during the 9 AM hour. FYI.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 6/30/06 at 8:57 am #
  14. I watched the Today show on July 4 but didn’t see anything about Choco-Omeg.  I saw other new candies and a snippit about the All-Candy Expo.  Did I just miss it?

    Comment by Grommie on 7/05/06 at 11:49 pm #
  15. I was disappointed. They were supposed to speak about Chocolate Trends in more detail. I was assurred of that. They went more with the kid reporter thing, and Choco-Omeg just doesn’t appeal to kids. They did pan over Choco-Omeg bars along with our new Botticelli Cashew Butter Bars, with the camera, but only a mention of “industry trends” and no mentions of the brands themselves. Oh well. Thanks for watching anyway. I will be asking Cybele to post the pictures of the New US Bar wraps in a couple of days. I’ve taken “typetive” advice and they look a lot more appealing.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 7/06/06 at 5:52 am #
  16. Cybele's avatar

    Sam - I was disappointed with the breadth of the coverage too.

    If you look in the comments on this post about Bubble Chocolate, it seems that the segment got rushed and they just dropped the whole chocolate component.

    When they mentioned the industry trend of fortifying candies, they brought up those skin care strip things, which, I’m sorry, are not candy.

    Maybe they’ll do a different segment later on this year.

    I totally missed the Cashew Butter bars at the expo! That sounds good!

    Comment by Cybele on 7/06/06 at 6:25 am #
  17. I’ll send you some samples of the Cashew Butter Bars if you’d like? E-mail me an address.
    I’ll post you a pic of the new Choco-Omeg bars in Flickr. Give me an hour or so.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 7/06/06 at 7:10 am #
  18. Hi Cybele,

    We’ve improved the taste even more since this article was written. Choco-Omeg will be launched officially in the US this weekend. Hope to have national distribution by January 07. I read your quote in that sacbee news thing. It’s too bad you don’t like to mix your Candy with your supplements. That was the first “bad press” this idea has recieved. I was going to offer a free sample for all your “typers”. smile
    Maybe I can change your mind, you’ll have to come to Vancouver and try it again. You’re invited.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 8/21/06 at 11:46 am #
  19. Cybele's avatar

    I hadn’t seen the SacBee article until you left this comment, probably because my name isn’t spelled right.

    http://www.sacbee.com/content/women/nutrition/story/14280589p-15088939c.html

    “I like to keep my indulgences and supplements separate. I couldn’t eat the stuff (candy supplements) every day.” Is the quote used in the article and it’s no reflection on the candies, but I tried last year to eat the Adora Tabs for a month and I just couldn’t do it. I’m just not structured that way. That’s not to say that other people aren’t and wouldn’t enjoy it.

    As a treat, sure, I’d grab a Memory bar. I hope to see them in stores soon and I’ll be sure to pick them up to check out the tasty changes.

    Thanks for checking in Sam!

    Comment by Cybele on 8/21/06 at 12:12 pm #
  20. Thanks for the clarification Cybele. I can’t speak for Adora, but we are recommending Choco-Omeg as an alternative to Omega 3 supplements or as an alternative to eating fish. FDA and Heart Assoc recommends eating Fish 2 or 3 times a week. Our Cardio bar gives the same Omega-3 as 2 cans of Tuna. One or Two bars a week would still be a treat, and good for you on top of that.
    I’m sure your readers would like your opinion, send me an email and I’ll send you some new samples.

    Comment by Sam from Botticelli on 8/21/06 at 12:42 pm #
  21. I was talking to a manager at my local Fruth Pharmacy about nutritional bars and he tells me they are getting some Choco-Omeg bars in few weeks. I can hardly wait.

    Comment by Wendy on 9/21/06 at 7:40 am #
  22. Wow, I’m glad someone is excited. Yes Fruth Pharmacy has placed an order and will have them instock soon. We are negotiating with Railey’s, Longs, CVS, GNC, Kinney Drugs, the list is huge. If all goes well we’ll be in stores across the US by Mid January.

    Hey Cybele, can I tempt you to show a picture of the new graphics?

    Comment by Sam on 9/21/06 at 8:34 am #
  23. A lot of studies, one like this, have already proved to be very true on the part that the choclates help reduce the risks of CVDs.

    Comment by John on 10/05/06 at 10:22 pm #
  24. Hey Cybele,

    Did you get the new look and new taste samples I sent yesterday? Should arrive today by FedEx.

    Comment by Sam on 10/06/06 at 7:28 am #
  25. Sam,
    I am desperately trying to find the Botticelli Choco-Omeg bars in Vancouver.  Can you please tell me where I can find them?  I have seem the box with the individual sized pieces, but I really need these bars!

    I was hoping to pick them up either tonight or tomorrow.

    Thanks for your help!!

    Deborah

    Comment by Deborah on 10/12/06 at 3:23 pm #
  26. Hi Deborah,
    I hope I got back to you in time, it sounds like you are going through chocolate withdrawl. LOL
    The only places carrying the bars is Real Canadian Superstore and Extra Foods. Both in the pharmacy department. Sometimes they don’t carry all 3 varieties, but they are all listed to be carried. The stores, unfortunitely have discretion. London Drugs only carried the hex box, but has since discontinued them. The bars do sell much better. Wait til to try the new recipe. It will flow through Superstore and Extra about December. Hopefully other stores will carry as well. It’s a struggle. Thanks for the support. Oh yeah, we also have them at our Dynamic factory outlet on Annasis Island.

    Comment by Sam on 10/13/06 at 5:21 am #
  27. Sam,
    Is the new recipe still nut-free?  I’d love to see what the new packaging looks like.  I wonder if any stores by me will be carrying it soon.

    Comment by MusicalMom on 10/13/06 at 7:36 am #
  28. Choco-Omeg does not have nuts, but is made in a factory that makes nut products. Cyble has the new product, I’m sure she’d be happy to show a pic or two. Cybele?
    MusicalMom, where is home? I’ll tell you where we are getting it listed and when.

    Comment by Sam on 10/13/06 at 7:59 am #
  29. I wanted to tell everyone that I tried the Choco-Omeg (cardio) bar last week and it is fantastic!  Way better than I originally thought!!  I highly recommend these bars and you will be very surprised!  As soon as they come out I want everyone to buy one and report back.  You will love it!!!

    I will definitely be buying these on a regular basis.

    Thank you Sam for all your help!  I hope you got my email.

    Deborah

    Comment by Deborah on 10/18/06 at 1:33 pm #
  30. Cybele's avatar

    Musical Mom - I’ll try to get some photos up this week.

    Deborah - I just tried the new bars and I’m very pleased as well - the calcium bar was much smoother than before (or maybe I’m imagining it).

    I’ll have more soon!

    Comment by Cybele on 10/18/06 at 1:35 pm #
  31. Cybele,

    Have you tried all of the bars?  Are they all available where you live?  I’d like to be able to try them all, but they’re not fully out yet here in Vancouver.  But I can’t wait ‘til they are! smile

    Comment by Deborah on 10/19/06 at 1:32 pm #
  32. Choco-Omeg is going to be shown again on the TODAY SHOW this Saturday. Tune in.

    Comment by Sam on 10/26/06 at 5:56 pm #
  33. http://www.vmsdigital.com/MyFiles.aspx?Onum=0203B976-8ED8-4AFF-ACDF-7D3DDA849965

    link to Today Show Clip, if you’re interested.

    Comment by Sam on 11/06/06 at 11:41 am #
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