Sweets & Snacks Expo 2016

Start-up Tuanis to bring single-origin, soy-free chocolate to US

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Besides being soy-free, Tuanis chocolate bars are 75% dark chocolate, organic and vegan.
Besides being soy-free, Tuanis chocolate bars are 75% dark chocolate, organic and vegan.

Related tags Chocolate bars

Tuanis Chocolate debuted its soy-free chocolate bar during the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago recently, and is set to sell it at 28 US retailers, mostly Midwestern, from June 15th. 

The suggested retail for Tuanis’ 2.5-ounce bar is $6.99. The chocolate startup is also selling a bar for $3.50 wholesale, $18 for a single three-pack, and $50 for a 12-pack box. The company has started taking online orders through its own website​.

In addition to the 28 retailers Tuanis has secured, including Dill Pickle Food and Fresh Market, Tunais’ chocolate bars will also be available on Amazon for $7.99 each with free shipping, according to founder Jon Spurgeon.

He said the Expo was Tuanis’ first show and it had been a great platform for them to look for new retail partnerships. “The feedback we received was very positive,”​ he said.

“We’re looking to distribute our bars through wine and cheese specialty shops. We’ll also be doing a half-ounce bar for coffee shops, sort of like a last-minute item you can buy for 99¢ to go with your coffee.”

Premium cocoa from Costa Rica

Besides being soy-free, Tuanis chocolate bars are 75% dark chocolate, organic and vegan. They are made with the beans of Costa Rican farmers in the Limón region in Talamanca.

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Spurgeon said Central America is an ideal location for growing both coffee and cocoa beans because of its climate and geography.

Spurgeon and his friend Martin Rhyne, who’s now the co-founder of the company, have traveled together to Costa Rica for the past 15 years. Only a few years ago, Rhyne brought up the idea of making single-origin chocolate bars after witnessing the increasing demand of premium chocolate in the US.

This site previously reported that quality cocoa volumes from Central America​would surge, according to non-profit Lutheran World Relief.

Soy-free chocolate for consumers with dietary restrictions

Being soy-free helps Tuanis beat 95% of the chocolate bars in the US, Spurgeon said.

Most chocolate manufactures use soy lecithin to smooth out their chocolate, but Tuanis is aware that many people have dietary restrictions, he added. Now, the reality is that a lot of companies that do put lecithin in their products are switching to sunflower lecithin​ in order to avoid soy for those who have dietary restrictions.

We don’t make our chocolate soy-free just because it’s a trend,”​ Spurgeon said. “We do it because we just don’t need to add soy to our chocolate.”

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