Hematogen has been a favorite chocolate snack even before the fall of the Soviet Union although it has a disturbing secret ingredient: blood.
Cow’s blood is added to the snack so it can pass as an iron supplement.
Hematogen remains available to this day because it is cheaper than regular candy bars and Russian adults still have a soft spot for it.
Hematogen, Russia’s favorite chocolate snack, has been on sale even bore the fall of the Soviet Union. The popular bar is made with beet sugar, condensed milk and sugar syrup. Surprisingly, it also has a surprising secret ingredient: blood.
Don’t be alarmed. It’s not human blood but cow’s blood.
The popular chocolate snack was created as an iron supplement for kids. But you wouldn’t see ‘blood’ listed on the food label, instead, you’ll find“black food albumin.” Most people don’t even know what they were eating, according to Munchies.
A generation of kids learned to love the Hematogen blood bars, not only because they were cheaper but also they were more accessible than candy. These kids, who are now adults, still have a soft spot for the chewy snack, that’s why it remains available to this day.
Hematogen has the pliable texture of a Tootsie Roll, making the kids love them more.
“You can actually go out and buy it right now in New York,” says culture scholar Anastasia Lakhtikova, author of “Seasoned Socialism: Gender and Food in Late Soviet Everyday Life.”
Hematogen is also available in Amazon in jumbo packs and in Russian specialty stores across the U.S.