BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Examines Advertising Claims For Hershey ‘Special Dark’ Chocolate

New York, NY – August 16, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that advertising claims for “Special Dark Chocolate”, manufactured and sold by The Hershey Company, are substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined advertising claims for the Hershey product pursuant to NAD’s ongoing monitoring program.

Claims reviewed included:

  • FIRST RED WINE.  NOW DARK CHOCOLATE.  YES, LIFE IS GOOD.  We’re talking antioxidants here.  Something that we have plenty of.  In fact, one serving of rich, delicious, mildly sweet, never bitter, amazing Hershey’s Dark chocolate has as much flavanol antioxidants as a glass of red wine.  Who would have thought that all the things you love would end up loving you back?”
  • “A single serving of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate has a higher capacity of antioxidants than two cups of green tea.”
  • A serving of HERSHEY’S dark chocolate has MORE flavanol antioxidants than a glass of red wine.”

NAD also requested that Hershey address the possibility of the communication of an implied claim that Special Dark, because it contains flavanol antioxidants, has been shown to provide certain health benefits.

In response to the NAD inquiry, the advertiser stated that it had collected  samples of green teas with a national distribution, sold as tea bags, and four nationally available red wines, which were submitted to an independent laboratory for analysis. The results of that analysis indicate that one serving of Special Dark chocolate exceeds the average level of flavanol antioxidants in red wine and  contains more flavanols antioxidants than two cups of green tea.

After reviewing the evidence provided by the advertiser NAD determined that the advertiser has a reasonable basis for making the express antioxidant claims in its advertisements.

NAD next considered whether the advertising contained implied claims, specifically whether it reasonably conveyed the message that Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate, as a result of its flavanol antioxidant content, provides particular health benefits.

NAD determined that, because the advertising does not link the anti-oxidant capacity Special Dark with reduction of disease or any specific health condition, it does not convey the message that  Special Dark has been shown to provide specific health benefits or reduce the risk of diseases.