An apple a day is so yesterday. Instead, why not eat a chocolate bar everyday? Yes, take something bad and make it good. Not just any chocolate bar, but a probiotic-infused chocolate bar. What’s happening here? Treats are being crossed with healthy ingredients to nourish our bodies and souls. Superfoods are busting out everywhere.
At a grocery store checkout counter in Berkeley, California, one of Ohso’s “Good for you chocolate” packages leapt into my grocery basket, a veritable wonder of modern marketing. Ohso packs seven tiny 70-calorie probiotic-rich bars in every box “to help keep your digestive systems healthy.” This is not your father’s chocolate bar. It’s distributed by Solgar Vitamins and manufactured by the aptly named Goodnesse, Ltd, which claims studies show “good bacteria survives gastrointestinal conditions three times better in chocolate than in milk.”
Inside the box are the seven mini Belgian chocolate bars, one for each day of the week: “Your daily boost of bacteria!” If it seems fanciful that eating chocolate could enhance medicinal properties, consider the recently rehabilitated concept of moderate alcohol intake. A 2011 study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that women who had one drink a day had healthier cholesterol levels, higher insulin resistance, less inflammation, and better blood vessel function than non-drinkers.
Bad is the new good, and superfoods are the new vitamins. Take watermelon juice, recently claimed to improve aerobic (and bedroom!) performance. Today, bottled and branded watermelon juice is available at Safeway, your local health food store, and yes, in craft beer. 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco has launched “Hell or High Watermelon Wheat,” a straw-colored summer beer that “undergoes a traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon.” I’ve tried it. It’s got just the right hint of watermelon. Yet subtlety is in short supply in these new hybrid drinks and foods. WTRMLN WTR lists on each bottle the citruline contents – the core aerobic-enhancing ingredient found abundantly in watermelon rind and juice – along with an icon showing a barbell, and a Mars symbol (a.k.a. the male upward arrow) with descriptors like “your new sexy workout partner” and “bedroom friend.” Then, there’s the ubiquitous Peruvian superfood maca. Incan warriors once ate the root before battle, and today athletes and those looking for more evening excitement can find it in powders, drinks, and chocolates. Rev’d is a “Maca Superfood Bar” with vibrant red packaging and the racy tagline, “Go Harder Longer.”
The moral is that sex, chocolate, and cross-pollination sells. If you’re dreaming up new products, consider crossing hot new elements with popular standbys, propelled by a good story to gain immediate leverage. And if you’re simply aiming to stay healthy, consider some measured indulgence. Down that glass of Pinot or watermelon beer, chow down on a maca bar, and savor a bite of bacteria-happy chocolate. Slowly. Yes, that’s the tough part. My first day hewing to the rigorous “Ohso Good for you” chocolate one-bar-a-day routine, I consumed not one but two billion lactobacillus and bifidobacterium bacteria.
Yes, I ate two days worth of chocolate bars.
And no apples.