In a world where sugar has become demonised, ‘the old ways’ that include over-processed, mass-produced, convenience and second rate ingredients are rightly being scrutinized like never before and certain supermarket aisles are losing their appetite appeal (e.g. chilled juices). Thankfully It’s refreshing to see that there are brands like The Raw Chocolate Company redefining their category and showing chocolate in an altogether more positive light.
It wasn’t that long ago that Peter Jones emphatically announced during Dragon’s Den that, “The Raw Chocolate Company makes the best chocolate I’ve tasted in 10 years”, encouraging Deborah Meaden to make her pitch, although in the end Linus and his team opted to go it alone.
In 2015 growing demand (both domestic and export) meant that new premises (West Sussex) with extra capacity became a necessity, the range was rationalized, a kosher accreditation was secured and a more contemporary ‘at one with nature’ identity was commissioned, which launches this month on National Chocolate Day (7 July).
Although the new look has only just been unveiled, it’s generating interest in every imaginable sector from wholesale and foodservice to airlines, supermarkets and an especially enthusiastic independent sector (delis farm shops….) looking to differentiate its everyday choc offer from that of a typical high street supermarket.
According to general manager, Allan Large, “We were adamant that we wanted a new look capable of traversing the conventional confectionery and health food markets, a simple yet vibrant identity with genuine mainstream appeal. The Raw Chocolate Company is all about accessibility. We may be organic, fair trade, gluten & soy free and vegan-friendly but we’re not in the business of elitist, humdrum or dainty discovery brands. Great taste is the only barometer that really matters for a pioneering brand like ours, harnessing the power of responsibly-sourced ‘raw’ Peruvian cacao and reminding consumers that raw chocolate is chock-a-block with beneficial vitamins and minerals.”
There are many reasons why the moment is now ripe for raw chocolate:
- We live in an age when unheated produce is back in vogue: nuts, seeds, pulses, grains, cold-pressed oils & juices and fresh fruit & veg.
- Conventional chocolate cooks off the lion’s share of beneficial vitamins, minerals polyphenols, friendly bacteria (and taste notes!) that made the nutritionally-dense cacao so special in the first place: ingredients that stimulate the immune system, aid digestion, neutralise free radicals, lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular.
- Raw chocolate enjoys mass-market appeal as it embraces the needs of coeliacs, vegans and vegetarians in addition to everyday chocolate purists.
- Raw chocolate provides the perfect platform for other incredible ingredients to sing out (goji berries, mulberries, almonds, ginger, hazelnuts, hemp seeds…..)
- Unlike other ‘raw’ choc operators, the company says it does not dabble in bitter or grainy produce. The company’s small batch mindset means it grinds chocolate 3 x longer than its peers to achieve an extra smooth taste.
In summary, The Raw Chocolate Company’s goal is to acquaint consumers with a cacao taste that’s as close to its natural state, which is why its cacao is sun-dried not heat treated because it doesn’t believe in Hot Chocolate and only roast its potatoes.