‘Chocolate Siblings’ Launch Nocoa Cocoa-Free Sustainable Chocolate Line in Germany
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In a partnership with German online retailer Confiserie Seidl, Planet A Foods has launched Nocoa, its first sustainable chocolate line.
Nocoa is tapping into the chocolate successor market, made without cacao and instead from natural, local ingredients, including fermented oats.
Despite the absence of any chocolate, the product offers the same taste experience as conventional chocolate, the company says. But as a cacao-free product, Nocoa chocolate generates 92 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional chocolate production.
Instead of cocoa beans, Nocoa is made with oats and sunflower seeds, which are crushed by yeast much in the same way as how beer is brewed. This process, Planet A says, delivers Nocoa with aromas and a smooth texture, similar to conventional chocolate.
The yeast is completely filtered out of the product, and since oats are naturally sweet, Nocoa requires about 30 percent less sugar in all its flavors than conventional chocolate. But despite containing less sugar due to the natural sweetness of oats, Planet A says Nocoa offers a delicious and delicate melting experience similar to conventional chocolate.
“The feedback from our end customers and partners in numerous tastings has been incorporated directly into our Nocoa recipe,” Sara Marquart, CTO of Planet A Foods, said in a statement.
“The result is Nocoa mini bars, coated Amarettini, almonds, and even ‘Süßer Bayern’ – mini salted pretzels with Nocoa – that not only taste like chocolate but also look and smell like it, and are versatile in their processing – all without a single gram of cocoa powder,” said Hans Seidl, owner of Confiserie Seidl.
The chocolates are produced in-house at Planet A’s facility in the Czech Republic and Confiserie Seidl processes them into the final products.
A spokesperson for Planet A told Green Queen that it can produce various Nocoa versions including dairy-free and dairy varieties.
Planet A was founded in 2021 by Sara and her brother Maximilian Marquart, known as the “Chocolate Siblings,” with a mission to develop sustainable and future-oriented food that can be produced independently of limited resources such as cocoa, palm oil, or land.
Meanwhile, traditional cocoa production is a highly resource-intensive process that requires enormous amounts of water and is also the cause of much deforestation. Marquart told us in a previous interview that “1 kilogram of chocolate can produce up to 90 kilograms of CO2, largely from deforestation”.
Last year Planet A won the Norrsken Impact100 award in the “Rising Star” category. The company, which graduated from Y Combinator in 2021, closed a $6 million seed funding round the same year led by Cherry Ventures, with participation from Trellis Road, 50years, World Fund and Nucleus Capital.
“With the Nocoa products, we are responding to the loud demand of end consumers for a truly delicious, sustainable chocolate,” Maximillian Marquart said. “Thanks to the intensive and great collaboration with Confiserie Seidl, we can now bring the first products to the market.” The range features 21 products and will begin delivering to customers in Germany and Austria later this month.
The company joins a growing category aiming to reduce chocolate’s carbon footprint. WNWN, a U.K.-based food tech company producing chocolate-identical confectionary products from sustainable grains, raised $5.6m in a Series A financing round last month. And California-based Voyage Foods has also released cacao-free products that simulate the chocolate experience. It raised $36 million last spring for its products which also include peanut-free spreads.