Monday, February 17, 2014

Hammond's Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is a mixture of pollen and nectar collected by honey bees. It is stored in cells within bee hives as food for larva or mature bees (Pitts-Singer, 2004). Bee pollen used for human consumption is collected by setting a trap that removes pollen from bees' legs before they enter the hive (Almeida-Muradian et. al., 2005).

The consumption of bee pollen is due to its presumed health benefits. Bee pollen is regarded as a 'superfood' and contains a number of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals (Leja et. al., 2007). Additionally, research has shown that the polysaccharide LBPP in bee pollen may have anti-tumor activity (Yang et. al., 2007). 

On the back of the wrapper is a warning for people with bee and bee pollen allergies. Since bee pollen is pollen that bees have picked up from plants, an allergy to bee pollen can be caused by allergies to different types of plant pollen (Greenberger and Flais, 2001). Essentially, if you have seasonal allergies, you should be cautious about consuming bee pollen. 

Place purchased: The Peanut Store, Holland, MI

Number of reviewers: 4

Price: $4.00 

Appearance - 6.3

The dark chocolate is somewhat crumbly; there were small chocolate fragments coating the bar when I opened the wrapper. The chocolate is studded with plenty of bee pollen balls. 

Flavor and Taste - 6.9

The bar is made from good quality dark chocolate. The honey adds a slight sweetness to the bar, while the bee pollen does not contribute much to the overall flavor. 

C: Bitter and sweet at the front. Honey flavor towards the end. 
L: Honey flavor really stands out against the chocolate. 
S: I didn't really taste anything besides dark chocolate. 

Texture - 5.0

The chocolate had a good bite. However, the bee pollen balls were initially powdery and dry, and then became more sticky the longer they were chewed. The texture of the bee pollen reminded me of compressed dextrose candies like Smarties. 

C: The chocolate was creamy with crunchy parts. 
L: Pollen sticks to teeth. 
S: Interesting. Different than anything I've had before. The pollen pieces are crunchy but kind of soft at the same time. 

Aftertaste - 6.5

I did not notice much of an aftertaste. 

C: Honey and dark chocolate taste. 
S: Slightly metallic. 

Overall - 6.0

Overall, I thought the good dark chocolate was ruined by the addition of bee pollen granules. The bee pollen adds no flavor and has a strange powdery and chewy texture. Though, Hammond's Bee Pollen chocolate bar could be suitable for someone interested in consuming bee pollen for its health benefits. However, anyone with bee or pollen allergies should stay clear of this chocolate bar.

Almeida-Muradian LB, Pamplona LC, Coimbra S, and Barth OM. 2005. Chemical composition and botanical evaluation of dried bee pollen pellets. J Food Compos Anal 18(1): 105-11. 

Greenberger PA and Flais MJ. 2001. Bee pollen-induced anaphylactic reaction in an unknowingly sensitized subject. Ann Allerg Asthma Im 86(2): 239-42. 

Leja M, Mareczek A, Wyzgolik G, Klepacz-Baniak J, and Czekonska K. 2007. Antioxidative properties of bee pollen in selected plant species. Food Chem 100(1): 237-40. 

Pitts-Singer TL. 2004. Examination of ‘pollen balls’ in nests of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata. J Apicult Res 43(2): 40-6. 

Yang X, Guo D, Zhang J, and Wu M. 2007. Characterization and anti-tumor activity of pollen polysaccharide. Int Immunopharmacol 7(3): 401-8.  

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