Plant-based milk chocolate made with oat flakes

60% less sugar: Finnish chocolatier introduces oat flakes-blended chocolate to compete with Nestlé’s Milkybar

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Goodio
Pic: Goodio
Finnish chocolatier Goodio has developed a line of oat flakes-added chocolate bars ChocOat that contains 60% less sugar than traditional milk chocolate, such as Milkybar.

The new products came out a year after Nestlé reformulated its signature bar​ by increasing its milk percentage from 26% to 37.5% to reduce the sugar content.

ChocOat, which contains 24% oat and 51% cocoa per bar, currently comes with four varieties: original blond chocolate, cool mint, blueberry and licorice.

ChocOat is the world's first milk chocolate that's made with oat flakes.

All the products, which retails for $2.99 each, are available at gift shops as well as natural and organic retailers, such as Whole Foods, on the East and West Coasts of the US.

Consumer demand for dairy alternatives

The idea behind ChocOat is that dairy doesn’t resonate well with the increasing consumer demand for plant-based foods, according to Goodio’s COO Jussi Salonen.

“ChocOat is unique because it’s the world’s first oat milk chocolate as opposed to dairy. We blend the gluten-free and organic oat flakes along with cocoa nibs and butter and coconut sugar to make the products,”​ he told ConfectioneryNews.

Taru Pilvi, Goodio’s chief development officer, noted: “At first we thought, that adding oat brans into our new chocolate mills was the craziest idea ever, and we were sure it will probably end up being a big mess.

“But the possibility that this crazy idea might work was so tempting that we decided to give it a try. And the result turned out to be the best innovation in chocolate for a long time – creamy and velvety,”​ he added. “We ourselves were also surprised by how little sugar the product contains.”

Goodio subsequently filed a patent for its oat chocolate making process, according to Jukka Peltola, founder of the company.

“We want to make sure that if someone else wants to make better chocolate, it is made with our company values in mind,”​ he said.

Salonen said oats also have a long tradition in Nordic countries, and their popularity has risen in the US – the market that accounted for 40% of Goodio’s overall sales in 2017 – thanks to the diary-free movement.

‘We go above and beyond’ for sustainability

Jussi Salonen, Goodio's COO, said: "We visit cocoa farms frequently to make sure farmers are treated fairly."

Goodio has been manufacturing a variety of bean-to-bar chocolate bars out of its Helsinki-based factory since it started in 2015.

The company mainly sources its cocoa beans from Peru, Ecuador and Uganda.

Even though Goodio is currently not certified by any third-party sustainability programs, Salonen said, “we go above and beyond”​ for cocoa sustainability.

For example, “we work with a company called CacaoTales (a smallholder of cocoa farmers) as a direct partner to source beans from Peru. We visit cocoa farms frequently to make sure farmers are treated fairly,”​ he said.

Luis Mancini, CacaoTales’ founder, also told us about the methods they use to tackle child labor on Peruvian cocoa farms.

“Technically by law and regulations, the certifications that our cocoa has, Flocert and SPP, do not tolerate any form of child exploitation, and on a regular basis, they monitor and audit our smallholder producers,”​ he said.

“Holistically, we’ve learned that child protection measures imposed from a certification audit have limited positive impact, so we personally work with the families in those communities,”​ added Mancini. “Our aim is to understand their needs, every family and every community is different.”

Additionally, Goodio will build a fermentation facility in Peru to diversify farmers’ income in the near future, according to Salonen.

This year Goodio is expected to double its business after growing by 170% in sales every year on average over the past three years, said Salonen.

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