Holland & Barrett ‘insulting women’ with its menopause chocolate bars

Holland & Barrett says its £3.79 chocolate bar contains an extract called 'affron' that helps to support moods during menopause
Holland & Barrett says its £3.79 chocolate bar contains an extract called 'affron' that helps to support moods during menopause - HOLLAND & BARRETT

Holland & Barrett has been accused of “insulting” women by selling chocolate bars covered with “menopause almonds”.

The health food chain claims the £3.79 dark chocolate snack soothes menopause symptoms and “contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity”, according to The Daily Mail.

Instructions on the packaging state that the 75g bar contains vitamin B6, which is naturally present in almonds.

Kate Muir, a menopause campaigner, branded the confectionery a “ridiculous money-making product”.

Speaking to the newspaper, she said: “I feel very strongly that this is exploiting a vulnerable group of women.

“Hopefully [women] won’t be distracted by ridiculous money-making products like this.”

Ms Muir stressed that hormone deficiency was a “very serious” problem.

“There is a peak in suicide among women in perimenopause,” she said. “Women need to know they can go to the NHS and get proper help, rather than relying on chocolate bars.”

Holland & Barrett, the UK’s largest health food chain, states on its website that the bars contain a tiny amount of saffron extract, branded as “affron”.

Yet, according to the Daily Mail, this was tested in one small 2021 trial, which was sponsored by its makers, and no effect on physical menopause symptoms was identified.

The packaging advises that each bar contains 462 calories and 20g of fat, a quarter and a full daily allowance for women respectively.

Social media posts seen by the newspaper included one unhappy customer, who described the bars as “insulting to the female race”.

Last year, a study by Insights10, a healthcare-focused market research firm, estimated that the UK women’s health market would reach $824 million (£677 million) by 2030.

‘Reach for a snack with added benefit’

A Holland & Barrett spokesman said the retailer championed “greater awareness and education on menopause and menstrual health”, and listed a number of initiatives it had in place to support women.

The spokesman added: “Our Almonds in Dark Chocolate with Benefits Bar is delicious dark chocolate with affron, a clinically studied extract, which helps to support moods during menopause and contains vitamin B6 to help the regulation of hormonal activity.

“It is recommended to be consumed as part of a balanced and varied diet alongside a healthy lifestyle, giving women a choice to reach for a snack with added benefits.”