Special Edition: The rise of vegan/plant-based chocolate

Interview: Chocolove founder and CEO Timothy Moley shares the love

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

From Boulder, with love: Chocolove's portfolio includes plenty of healthy options. Pic: Chocolove
From Boulder, with love: Chocolove's portfolio includes plenty of healthy options. Pic: Chocolove

Related tags: vegan, Veganuary

As well as producing premium chocolate that delivers on quality and taste from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Chocolove also offers a range of vegan-friendly bars.

Chocolove, based in Boulder, Colorado, says its mission is to ‘to make and sell the best tasting chocolate in a way that makes customers and everyone involved, happy’.

The company’s founder and CEO Timothy Moley says the company adopts an R&D process where it asks several questions, one of which is: ‘Is it vegan, and if not, how can we make it vegan and still retain the flavour, texture and enjoyment of the new product?’

Timothy-with-sign-cropped-r1

We look at love in many forms and daily try to share the love with our consumers; it is a daily effort and joy -- Timothy Moley

He said Chocolove has 20+ options, in a range of flavours, that are vegan-friendly. “Folks can use the filters on our website, Chocolove.com​, to find our vegan-friendly selections​.”

The company, which employs 60 people, sold its first bars in September 1995 and began setting what would soon become the standard for chocolate in the US.

It was the first American chocolate company to state cocoa content on the front of the bar, and it has continued with many firsts over the past 26 years, including offering the first non-GMO certified milk chocolate in major retail chains.

Moley says: “Consumers in the US are a diverse group. Typically in natural food, consumers are accustomed to paying the price for a speciality food product that has extra effort made to make it conform to certain dietary and ingredient rules. Still, within the competitive landscape of food and confection in particular, the consumer considers the features they need and want and still considers price​.”

Sustainability 

Chocolove’s long-time partnership with Barry Callebaut has also played a pivotal role in the company’s delicious taste its products.

Relationships are everything whether it is consumer or vendor.  Over the years since 1995, many changes have come to the chocolate industry. Many were asked for by consumers and retailers; we listened and made it so,​” says Moley.

I am happy to say that Chocolove was an early adopter of cocoa farmer sustainability, cocoa labour certification, cocoa supply traceability, and non-GMO certification.

 “With each of these initiatives (or projects as Barry Callebaut calls them), we were one of the first firms in the Barry Callebaut facility to walk the factory floor and discuss how it could be done. I also asked for a number of other projects and special recipes that are a trade secret but are built into every Chocolove bar we make.

“While we asked Barry Callebaut to make the change, they deserve credit for listening and solving a great number of problems to realize the many goals set. A big thanks to the team who has made it happen at Barry Callebaut.”

Chocolove has always looked at the role of business on the choices of the consumer and Moley believes that confectionery and manufacturers in general have an obligation to ask and answer what they are bundling with the deliverable consumers want.

“As a consumer I always appreciate thoughtful packaging that is indeed recyclable, has a low-carbon footprint, has the least greenhouse gas and is able to degrade rapidly and/or not become a suspended part of the watershed and ocean. I take the same approach when designing and signing off on packaging at Chocolove,”​ he says.

Looking to the future

Chocolove celebrated its 26th anniversary last year and accounts part of its success to the love of making and sharing good chocolate.

We look at love in many forms and daily try to share the love with our consumers; it is a daily effort and joy,​” says Moley.

As we look to the past the changes in the industry come from active listening, placing ourselves in the consumer role and asking what do we want, and then being an early adopter and quietly being an advocate for change.

“We walk our talk. That same way of listening, taking perspective and quietly taking action early is part of who we are and will continue in the future. As we look to the future we have more exciting things to come and will be excited to share as those product lines are ready.​”

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