Chocolate offers many potential health benefits, said Jen Miller, a nutritionist that works for Snapfit. But, she added, the sugar that often accompanies chocolate in confections can outweigh the benefits.
Unfortunately, many of the sugar-free chocolates on the market today that promise the benefits of the ingredient without the health threats of sugar are made with sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners that “leave a funky aftertaste,” Miller said. She also noted concerns by some consumers that artificial sweeteners could be harmful as another turn off of sugar-free options.
ChocZero solves these problems by skipping the artificial ingredients and sugar but still saving the sweet flavor of regular chocolate by using a combination of monk fruit for flavor and a slightly sweet vegetable fiber for function, Miller said.
She explains that the combination “gives you the same sweetness of regular chocolate, but without all the extra additives and sugar.”
Healthier and cleaner
As a result, the confection also meets consumer demand for “clean ingredients,” Miller said. She noted that most consumers who shop the natural segment now know what monkfruit is and they recognize it as a natural alternative to sugar that, unlike Stevia, does not have an off-putting aftertaste and is not considered to be 'chemically processed.'
In addition, because the confection replaces sugar with monkfruit, it won’t suffer negative repercussions once FDA’s new requirement to disclose added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label goes into effect, Miller said, noting the bars will have zero added sugars.
The fiber in the product also appeals to many of today’s consumers who are looking for functional food and better-for-you alternatives to the sweets and snacks they love, Miller also noted.
“Adding fiber to the chocolate makes it not only more nutrient dense, so you are getting more grams of fiber in this chocolate than you would regular chocolate, but also … the fiber helps keep you full longer and helps create a more satisfying feeling than if you are eating straight sugar,” she said.
She added the fiber helps slow the metabolism of the chocolate, reducing a blood-sugar spike that can be threatening to diabetics or leave otherwise healthy individuals tired and hungry again after a short duration.
Ready for distribution
Snapfit currently sells ChocZero online at Amazon and its website, and is ramping up distribution in brick and mortar stores, including trying to secure placement in Whole Foods Market stores, as well as working with other distributors, Miller said.
She explained that Whole Foods is the major focal point for the company currently, but that it believes its bars would sell well in the conventional channel as well, given their rich artisanal taste that will appeal to mainstream shoppers just as much as to more health-conscious natural segment shoppers.
A growth platform
In addition to marketing ChocZero in its current milk, 50% and 70% dark formulas, Miller said the company wants to expand the confection platform in the future.
“We are thinking about using the chocolate as an avenue to distribute other nutrients beyond fiber,” such as added vitamins and minerals so that “even through you will be eating chocolate you can also get other health benefits at the same time,” she said.