Criteria for assessing the purported protection by flavanol-rich foods against vascular dysfunction and oxidative damage to biomolecules was the subject of the 27th Hohenheim Consensus Conference held on July 11, 2011. State-of-the-art evidence was put into perspective, focusing on several questions that were followed by a consensus answer. Among the topics addressed were the major sources of flavanols in the human diet, the bioavailability of flavanols, biomarkers for "health benefit," and the biological function of flavanols. Consensus was reached on these topics. No conclusion was reached on the design of randomized, controlled trials for substantiation of health claims for flavanol-rich foods as to the necessity of a study arm with an isolated pharmacologically active compound, e.g., (2)-epicatechin.