Chocs away

Jim Manson identifies latest trends in the competitive natural and organic chocolate sector.

Enter the words ‘chocolate’ and ‘health’ into the search field of any major newspaper website and you can practically take your pick of the health benefit that appeals to you most.

Take the Daily Mail. Among hundreds of chocolate-related headlines it offers: ‘Chocolate may protect against stroke (and this time it’s milk), ‘The chocolate bar that’s healthier than 5lbs of apples’ and Chocolate cough cure on the way’. Meanwhile, The Times rather quaintly headlined one recent story ‘Chocolate helps the old stay sprightly’.

So, whether it’s protecting against heart disease, suppressing migraine symptoms or boosting brain function, chocolate’s health credentials are impressive.

Taste or treatment?

But to what extent is all this affecting sales of chocolate in the health food channel – where you might expect it to have its biggest impact? Jason Henderson of Elixir Health in Wadebridge is fairly confident that taste rules over treatment: “I don’t think the people who come into our store are really buying chocolate for health reasons. They just love it like the rest of us – it’s a feel-good thing, TLC in a packet.”  And it’s chocolate’s ‘comfort food’ credentials that Henderson suspects has seen its sales grow right through the recession. He contrasts this growth with the declining fortunes for crisps.

Flavour boost

Meanwhile, Elixir Health’s Randi Henderson sees unusual flavour combinations as the most obvious trend in the category currently. She cites Montezuma’s ‘Great British Pudding’ collection launched to coincide with the start of the Olympics – with flavours including Eton Mess and Apple Crumble (each patriotically wrapped in Union flag designs).

Green & Black’s was doing tastings of its two latest flavours – Milk & Sea Salt and Spicy Chilli at last month’s Tree Time open day. “We’ve been getting a very good reaction from retailers,” Adam Bullock, Green & Black’s customer development manager, told NP. He added that the addition of milk chocolate variants was helping to  attract new customers to the brand. Adding a sprinkling of sea salt had helped “really bring out the flavour of the chocolate”.

Contains no …

As free-from continues to push into the mainstream consumer’s consciousness, leading natural and organic chocolate brands are benefiting. Booja Booja’s dairy-free credentials, combined with its premium positioning, has helped it secure a new listing with Ocado. Comments sales manager, Laura Herrell: “Getting our products in front of more high street customers through like-minded businesses is something we’ve been working on. Getting into Ocado is a reflection of the massive interest in dairy-free.

Free-from pioneer Plamil, which has a impressive range of dairy-free organic and all-natural bars also uses a (its own) nut-free factory, providing a rare reassurance for nut allergy sufferers who normally struggle to find chocolate products.

Check out the terroir!

According to organic and Faitrade specialist Simon Wright, another trend we’re seeing on the chocolate front is a growing interest in where cocoa comes from, and how it is produced. “Expect to hear more specialist brands talking about where their cocoa comes from so consumers can understand how environment and growing conditions affect the flavour of the finished chocolate – just like grapes and wine.”

Hot Stocks

Go*Do has established itself quickly as a prominent organic chocolate brand on the UK natural and organic scene after its launch here in 2010. As well as selling strongly in Holland & Barret the range is doing well in independents who say the lower rsp of 85p is often a sale clincher. Go*Do is also being supported by a new website ( and in September it began a sampling programme in all branches of Planet Organic. The Organic Dark 60% with Almonds (an editor’s pick!) is currently the top seller in the range.

Organic Seed & Bean has branched out into new snack size chocolate bars. Both Fairtrade and organic the new bars use some of Organic Seed & Bean’s best selling flavours as well as introducing a brand new one to the market. So, Mandarin & Ginger in dark chocolate and Tangerine in milk chocolate are accompanied by a plain, seriously dark chocolate bar and a brand new, specially created flavour – Hazelnut & Almond in milk chocolate. The new 32g bars will retail at 99p and come in at under 100 calories.
Kallo has launched a new range of Belgian Milk and Dark Chocolate Rice Cake Thins in eye catching new packaging. These indulgent and shamelessly premium snacks come in at just 56 calories – 33 per cent less than the average chocolate biscuit. Kallo’s marketing director, Elaine Underwood, say the new thins perfectly match the health consumer’s desire for a nutritious, healthy alternative to conventional biscuits and snacks and are “perfect as an all natural pleasure for people looking to cut down on calories in the New Year”.

Whole Earth has launched a new Lightly Whipped Chocolate Spread, which it is promoting as a “permissive indulgence for women”. The spreads come in 300g jars in two varieties – Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut and have an RRP of £2.29.

Two new chocolate themed Nakd bars have just hit shelves – Cocoa Orange and Caffe Mocha. We’re very deliberately emulating classic confectionery flavours – and hopefully weaning people off their Terry’s chocolate orange and Mars bars with a bar that gives them one of their five-a- day,” Matt Long of Natural Balance Foods told us.

Green & Black’s has just added a new line to its gift boxes in the form of a ‘token gift’ priced (£2.99) Organic Treat Collection. The low price point is designed to draw more consumers to the organic category says the company.

Chocolate & Confectionery Listings

Beviamo3Bonajuto “The Oldest Chocolate Factory in Sicily”

Beviamo Ltd, Third Floor, Grimshaw Lane, Bollington, Cheshire, SK10 5JB
Tel: 01625 578059
Fax: 0871 528 8059
E-mail: [email protected]
Bonajuto from Modica in Sicily is a world famous chocolate maker and is becoming increasingly sort after in the UK after being showcased by UK celebrity chefs. Bonajuto’s chocolate is composed only of a mixture of cocoa mass, sugar and spices. The New York Times described their products as “chocolate of astonishingly pure, powerful flavour”. The strength of Bonajuto’s brand is the natural simplicity of the cold process technique and the fact that there are no additional additives. The chocolate is believed to be beneficial in cases of bronchitis or general respiratory problems. Bonajuto is available exclusively from Beviamo Ltd.

Booja-BoojaBooja-Booja Chocolate Truffles

The Booja-Booja Company Ltd, Brooke, Norfolk, NR15 1HJ
Tel: 01508 558888
Fax: 01508 557844
E-mail: [email protected]
Our gloriously scrumptious organic chocolates are all handmade by our dedicated team in Norfolk. We make 8 different flavours of dairy free, vegan, organic, gluten free and utterly delicious chocolate truffles, two of which are also soya free, made without refined sugar and raw. The flavours include; Hazelnut Crunch, Champagne, Around Midnight Espresso, Rum Sozzled Sultana, Stem Ginger, Banoffee Toffee, Dark Ecuadorian and Raspberry Ecuadorian. We have been honoured with 56 awards over the last 12 years; the latest of which were in the 2012 Soil Association Awards and 2012 Great Taste Awards.

PandaPanda Blueberry Liquorice Bar

Bravura Foods (Panda Liquorice)
Tel: 0203 086 8676
Fax: 0203 070 0737
E-mail: [email protected]
Panda Blueberry Bars are made with real blueberries – the ultimate super fruit! This great tasting famous all natural Panda liquorice is made with real delicious blueberries to deliver a mouth wateringly amazing taste. As with all Panda Liquorice, Blueberry is made with natural colours & flavours with no nasties. Blueberry is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and is low in fat making it a tasty and healthy snack for the guilt free option. Its soft, its delicious and its oh so moorish but then what else do we expect from the fabulous people at Panda Liquorice! Once tasted, never wasted!

PlamilAdvent calendar

Plamil Foods Ltd
Tel: 01303 850588
Fax: 01303 850015
E-mail: [email protected]
Combining ‘free from’ and ethics, we are proud to introduce for 2012 two Advent calendars. Both contemporary designed calendars are produced in dedicated production facilities where strict allergen policy ensures all products are no dairy, no gluten and no nut.
1. Organic Fairtrade Dairy Free Milky Chocolate: all the dairy taste without the dairy
2. No Added Sugar: 72% cocoa chocolate sweetened with xylitol
• No dairy, gluten or nuts • Ethically produced
• Contemporary design
• Key ‘free from’ chocolate varieties, no dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts.
• RSP £4.95 ( both varieties )
• Available from all good health food stores and on line at

Seed-&-BeanNew Mini Bars , Large Nut Bars & Gifts

Seed & Bean Ethical Chocolatiers, 8-12 Woodhouse Rd, London N12 ORG
Tel: 0208 343 5420
Fax: 0208 445 7529
E-mail: [email protected]
Seed & Bean are the ONLY Great British chocolate company to have been awarded 100% Ethical Accreditation by The Good Shopping Guide 2011-2013. Made in Northamptonshire in small 45litre batches and supplied by small-scale suppliers the larger brands cannot consider, resulting in fabulous flavours and award winning recipes. New for September 85g “Milk Hazelnut & Almond” & “Dark Chocolate with Sicilian Hazelnut”, Milk & Dark Chocolate Gift Sets and 4 new Mini bars, all in compostable plant cellulose wrappers RSP 99p. Organic, Fairtrade and Vegan selections POS and samples available.

Doves-Farm2Banana, Mango & Brazil Cereal Bars

Doves Farm
Tel: 01488 684880
E-mail: [email protected]
Bursting with Fairtrade brazil nuts, tropical mango, banana, coconut, pineapple and organic oats, it’s no wonder these wholegrain cereal bars have just been awarded a 2012 Great Taste Award! Made using artisan methods in the Doves Farm Wiltshire Bakery, they certainly “prove that organic, natural and ethical doesn’t need to be bland,” says Clare Marriage, Doves Farm CEO. Satisfying the ethical and nutritional demands of conscientious consumers, and in recently refreshed eye-catching packaging, Banana, Mango & Brazil Cereal Bars are sure to fly off the shelves.