WNWN’s Latest Confection: Milk Chocolate, But Hold the Milk and Chocolate
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WNWN Food Labs, a pioneer in the development of cocoa-free chocolate, has developed its first vegan milk chocolate product.
U.K.-based WNWN says its novel milk chocolate mimics conventional chocolate with its sweet, creamy flavor profile, offering notes of mocha, malt, and hazelnut and a luxurious, buttery finish — but it’s doing all of that without chocolate, and without dairy.
The company’s approach diverges from traditional chocolate production, notably avoiding the ethical and environmental issues associated with cocoa cultivation and dairy farming, including child and slave labor, deforestation, substantial carbon footprints, and environmental degradation.
The new confectionery not only forgoes cocoa but is also dairy-free, using a unique blend of oats and tiger nuts to get that milky taste and texture.
“Instead of simply adding milk to our chocolate, our team delved into the essence of what makes milk chocolate enjoyable and harnessed these new ingredients to replicate that rich creaminess,” WNWN CTO Dr. Johnny Drain, said in a statement.
“Mass-market milk chocolate typically uses large amounts of milk powder and sugar to mask the flavor of poor-quality cocoa, and even though our plant-based, cocoa-free product has as much as 50 percent less sugar we’re confident it stands up to milk chocolate bars already on store shelves,” Drain said.
While some cocoa giants like Hershey’s have tapped oat milk for dairy-free milk chocolate, WNWN says the tiger nut, an edible tuber from the Cyperus esculentus plant, is known for delivering creaminess to horchata, among other uses. Tiger nuts originated from Northern Africa, and require less water than almonds, soybeans, or oats to grow. WNWN sources its tiger nuts sustainably from Spain.
Since the successful launch of its dark chocolate last year, WNWN has increased its offerings and funding, raising $5.6 million in a Series A round earlier this year. The company plans to make its retail launch in the U.K. by 2024.
An unconventional alternative to conventional chocolate
WNWN relies on a fermentation process that turns plant-based ingredients, namely grains and legumes, into a confection with a striking resemblance to cocoa including signature properties such as the taste, melt, snap, and baking properties of conventional chocolate. But unlike conventional chocolate, WNWN’s confection is naturally caffeine-free and is produced with less sugar and zero palm oil.
It’s also a more sustainable and ethical option. The company says an internal lifecycle found that WNWN’s dark chocolate produces 80 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional. It’s verifying its findings through third-party testing for its new plant-based milk chocolate. The company’s cocoa alternative also avoids the human rights issues rampant in the cocoa industry including human trafficking and child labor.