WNWN Food Labs, the first to bring cocoa-free chocolate to market, today announced it has successfully completed the recipe and process for its forthcoming “milk” chocolate products. In addition to cocoa-free, its milk choc is also dairy-free and features a blend of oats and tiger nuts as a plant-based alternative.
Like standard milk chocolate, WNWN’s milk choc is sweeter and creamier than its dark counterpart, with notes of mocha, malt, and hazelnut, and a buttery finish. Unlike conventional chocolate, WNWN avoids the child labor, slave labor, deforestation, and outsized carbon footprint of conventional cacao cultivation and processing, as well as the environmental toll of dairy farming.
Tiger nuts are edible tubers from the grasslike Cyperus esculentus, used most commonly in the sweet, milk-like drink horchata. A fast-growing plant with origins in Northern Africa, tiger nuts have a lower water footprint than almonds, soybeans, or even oats. WNWN’s tiger nuts are sustainably sourced from Spain.
Following the debut of its dark choc in May 2022, WNWN has continued its R&D efforts, supplied B2B customers with its choc in various formats, and raised $5.6 million in its second funding round to help gear up for a retail launch this year beginning in the UK.
“Rather than adding milk to our choc, our team looked at what really makes milk chocolate delicious, and worked with these new ingredients to evoke that creaminess,” said WNWN CTO Dr. Johnny Drain. “Mass-market milk chocolate typically uses large amounts of milk powder and sugar to mask the flavor of poor-quality cocoa, and even though our plant-based, cocoa-free product has as much as 50% less sugar we're confident it stands up to milk chocolate bars already on store shelves.”
WNWN’s milk choc is now available for testing in various applications by CPG companies, restaurants, and other commercial organizations.
WNWN (pronounced “win-win”) employs a proprietary fermentation process to transform widely available plant-based ingredients like cereals and legumes to create cocoa-free choc that tastes, melts, snaps and bakes just like conventional chocolate. It is vegan, caffeine-free, gluten-free, palm oil-free, and lower in sugar than comparable products.
According to an internal lifecycle analysis, WNWN’s dark choc emits 80% less greenhouse gasses than conventional chocolate, and the company is currently conducting third-party testing to compare its plant-based milk choc to dairy- and cocoa-based milk chocolate emissions.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about deforestation, habitat destruction, and unfair labor practices in the conventional chocolate supply chain. More than a million child laborers are estimated to work in Ivory Coast and Ghana, where three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is grown.
Cocoa crops are also vulnerable due to climate change, including rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, which has led experts to predict chocolate shortages in the coming years.