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Nukoko Raises Over €1.3 Million For Its Cocoa-Free Alternative

Courtesy of Nokuko
Courtesy of Nokuko

In an era where sustainability and innovation intersect to challenge traditional industries, Guildford-based Nukoko emerges as a pioneering force in the food technology sector. The company has proudly announced securing over €1.3 million in Seed funding, a testament to its groundbreaking approach to chocolate production. This round of investment, led by Oyster Bay Venture Capital and supported by SOSV, The Mills Fabrica, and an Innovate UK grant, marks a pivotal step for Nukoko in scaling their novel technology.


Founded in 2022 by Ross Newton, Kit Tomlinson, and cocoa research scientist Professor David Salt, Nukoko is set to revolutionize the chocolate industry with its unique fermentation process. This process ingeniously replicates the traditional cocoa fermentation method, allowing the transformation of the fava bean—a commonly overlooked agricultural crop—into a delectable chocolate alternative.


The Necessity of Innovation


The chocolate industry is at a crossroads, with cocoa prices reaching unprecedented highs and projections indicating a potential 25% supply decline by 2033. It's within this context that Nukoko's innovation shines as a beacon of hope. The company's utilization of the fava bean not only provides an answer to the cocoa supply crisis but also addresses critical environmental and ethical concerns plaguing traditional chocolate production.


Environmental and Nutritional Benefits


Nukoko’s chocolate alternative stands out not only for its taste but also for its environmental footprint, producing up to 90% less CO2 emissions compared to traditional chocolate. This significant reduction is achieved through the use of fava beans, which are nitrogen-fixing plants that contribute positively to agricultural practices by enhancing soil health without the need for deforestation or exploitative labor practices. Furthermore, Nukoko’s product offers compelling nutritional advantages, including 40% less sugar, high protein, fiber, and antioxidants—attributes that speak directly to the health-conscious consumer.


Industry Recognition and Future Plans


The innovation and potential of Nukoko have not gone unnoticed. After securing a coveted spot in the IndieBio biotech program in New York in 2023 and being named in the Foodtech 500 in 2024, Nukoko has already begun forming strategic partnerships. A notable development agreement with the Coop group in Switzerland underscores the company’s commercial viability and its appeal to leading food retailers.


The founders of Nukoko are driven by a deep understanding of the challenges facing the chocolate industry, combined with a passion for offering sustainable and ethically produced alternatives. “We’re on a mission to make a profound difference and drastically reduce the impact of the chocolate industry on the planet,” states co-founder Kit Tomlinson.


The recent funding will facilitate the scaling of Nukoko’s innovative process to industrial-scale production, in anticipation of a market launch. It will also support increased R&D efforts to further refine the product to match the diverse flavor profiles of traditional cocoa.


A Vision for the Future


Nukoko's vision extends beyond just offering a sustainable chocolate alternative; it aims to transform the industry by integrating its products into the supply chains of major food manufacturers. Through key retail and B2B partnerships, Nukoko is poised to help transition the global chocolate market towards a future that is not only sustainable but equally indulgent.


As Nukoko prepares to introduce its cocoa-free chocolate to the market, the implications for the global food industry are profound. By offering a viable, sustainable, and delicious alternative to traditional chocolate, Nukoko is not just creating a new category of chocolate; it's redefining the future of an industry.

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