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Reishi mushrooms and herbs meet chocolate in Los Angeles

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

The brand worked with a UK designer on the minimalist packaging and an herbalist on the inclusions.
The brand worked with a UK designer on the minimalist packaging and an herbalist on the inclusions.

Related tags: functional claims, Functional foods, Chocolate bars, Premium chocolate, Value added, Herbal medicine, mushrooms, Los angeles, Herbal supplements, Functional ingredients

Nude Chocolate enters functional chocolate niche with launch of premium bars infused with ‘super blends’ of herbs and Reishi, a medicinal mushroom in Asian culture.

The Los Angeles, California-based company created the brand of ‘enhanced products’ to give consumers a seamless way to integrate this superfood into their everyday lives.

The 70% dark chocolate bars – made with Peruvian and Ecuadorian cacao – already boast antioxidants, co-founder Matthew Postlethwaite said, but “by fusing this with a carefully selected blend of herbs, we have created a superfood product that we hope will promote health and happiness.”

Mind, Body, Soul

To start, the brand has developed three varieties – each infused with a ‘Reishi herbal super blend’ and scattered with a freeze-dried fruit and a handful of herbs – that advertise a different purpose:

  • The Mind bar features blueberries and hibiscus flowers, as well as rhodiola, ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) and gingko.
  • The Body bar includes strawberries and rose petals, plus rose hip, chicory root and seaweed.
  • The Soul bar offers raspberries and lavender, with hawthorn, chamomile and yarrow.

Nude points to Reishi’s potential ability to boost immunity, balance hormones, reduce inflammation and improve vital organ function.

Chinese culture has revered Reishi (known as lingzhi) as a symbol of success, wellbeing and divinity, according to the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. They are thought to control blood glucose levels, modulate the immune system, and regulate ‘good’ bacteria growth, among other benefits. Most of this evidence remains traditional and anecdotal, but recent research has pointed to positive effects against diabetes or liver disease.

From personal experience

Postlethwaite, an actor, was suffering from depression when he discovered reishi.

“I was trying to look for ways to help myself feel better,for something I could incorporate into my life every day,” ​he told ConfectioneryNews.

He started taking Reishi and ‘noticed positive effects,’ but he lamented how it still felt like taking a supplement; it felt unnatural. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could mix it with something I could enjoy, so I don’t feel like I’m taking something?” ​he asked.

He called his longtime friend Scott Postlewaite (the two share similar last names but are not related) and Mike C Manning, who is also an actor and television producer, to develop what ultimately became Nude Chocolate.

The trio enlisted the professional help of Kriss Harvey, a pastry chef and chocolatier who has led The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills since 2013. They asked Natasha Lloyd, a medicinal herbalist, to develop the herbal blends.

“You really can’t taste all the herbal qualities,”​ said Matthew. “You feel like you’re just eating chocolate. It was really important for us to [achieve] that.”

He and Scott admit that there are other herbal chocolate bars on the market, but they saw an opportunity to create one that tasted like chocolate – not herbs.

Pastel packaging

The bars are sold in minimalist packaging of pastel blue, pink and purple, with simple gold lettering on the front and a description, ingredients and nutrition facts on the back.

“Less is more,”​ Scott told us, adding that Evoke, a UK-based design firm, “took it to the next level.”

A 3oz bar runs for an RRP of $10. Currently sold in a few dozen coffee shops, boutiques and fitness centers, the brand is “starting off small,”​ he said, “getting those small coffee shops and developing people’s palates.”

He also sees atypical retailers finding success with the brand, such as makeup counters.

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