The company, which originally started with a focus on providing dietary supplements in 2009, is the owner of “4 no guilt” brand.
The brand’s supplement category includes Choco CoQ10, Choco Wellness, and Choco Curcumin, while its food category contains Naked Nature dark chocolate, and Choco Biotics probiotic chocolate.
Healthy Chocolate Florida is also a private label manufacturer, company president Guy Lopez told ConfectioneryNews.
The supplement chocolate maker has concentrated its first few years in the medical field, Lopez said. It produces private label products for medical groups and sells wholesale to a number of wellness centers, doctors' offices and chiropractors.
Healthy Chocolate Florida is now starting to have a retail presence, Lopez added. It is currently in negotiations with Whole Foods for potential distribution opportunities, as well as drug and pharmacy stores, including CVS and Walgreen's.
He said that all his products are made with dark chocolate that is 100% xylitol sweetened, sugar free, allergen free, vegan and Kosher certified. He also mentioned Healthy Chocolate Florida is one of the few chocolate companies in the US that have their own manufacturing facilities.
“All manufacturing is done in a clean environment, FDA registered, CGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) compliant facility,” Lopez added.
Euromonitor forecasts global health and wellness chocolate will rise retail value sales at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +3.5% between 2016 to 2021, compared to +2.3% per year in the regular chocolate category.
Manufacturing dairy-free chocolate
Lopez told ConfectioneryNews, “There hasn’t been exponential growth of our business because some of the projects took quite a long time from the initial approach to closing,” but he hopes the company will experience a breakthrough this year with the development of a few new products.
In addition to dark and probiotics chocolate, Healthy Chocolate Florida is also formulating a dairy-free chocolate made with rice milk.
“We’ve already had rice milk power here in the lab, but we’re closely monitoring FDA regulations [on whether plant-based products can be labeled as milk] right now. That’s why we didn’t come up with a product prototype sooner,” Lopez said.
Strong foothold in the pharmaceutical industry
In the pharmaceutical space, the chocolate supplement maker has previously attracted the attention of several large medical companies.
These companies have started using its ingredients to come up with their own “novel product concepts,” and distributed their concepts through local clinics, Lopez said.
“When our customers were approaching us, they’ve usually had ingredients they need and particular product formats in mind,” he said.
Lopez pointed out Healthy Chocolate Florida has a special partnership with Deerland Enzymes, which it is the main supplier of probiotics ingredients.
The consciousness of gut health has been on the rise among the US health and wellness consumers in recent years, even though probiotics-added sweets and snacks are still relatively small in terms of production, ConfectioneryNews previously reported.
Startup Blue Planet Chocolate unveiled probiotics-enriched chocolate squares during the recent Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, California. Last year at the Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland, sauerkraut maker Farmhouse Culture also introduced its first chip line fortified with probiotics supplied by Ganeden.
Healthy Chocolate Florida said it has full manufacturing capacity for the next four months, and it hopes to triple its revenue growth by the end of 2017.