This Chocolate Bar is Made Without Cacao

It looks and tastes the same as regular chocolate.

Woman enjoying a chocolate bar.

(Dean Drobot /

Chocolate is the go-to snack for many people. And nothing defines this delicious treat like a chocolate bar. So whether you like milk chocolate or dark bitter sweet, with nuts or fillings, these candy bars that are made from cacao are sure to please.

Cacao is the main ingredient of chocolate but as climate change is causing extreme heat and drought in the regions where the trees are grown, reported Fast Company, it will keep getting more difficult to grow. That’s why a new chocolate bar made without cacao could be the solution.

A win-win idea
A London-based UK startup, WNWN Food Labs – pronounced win-win – developed this new faux chocolate bar that resembles and tastes like the real deal. The co-founders, Ahrum Pak and Johnny Drain wanted to tackle the environmental and social problems that exist in the chocolate industry.

Growing cacao actually has a higher carbon footprint than most meat and cacao farming is causing deforestation in the areas where it is grown. In the Ivory Coast, 80 percent of the rainforests have been cleared to plant cacao trees. Global warming is being fed by the production of chocolate and this in turn could doom the industry.

“We need to come up with new alternatives in order to continue eating chocolate the way that we do,” WNWN CEO Pak told Fast Company. So it was off to the drawing board.

Developing cacao-free chocolate
The team explored a fairly long list of potential ingredients that could mimic the taste of real chocolate. “We’re delving into tables of chemical compounds of what fingerprints a particular crop has, comparing it to cocoa, and trying to figure out how we can splice together different whole ingredients to recreate this flavor profile of cocoa,” Drain said.

They came up with two main ingredients, carob and barley. These are fermented and roasted before adding sugar, just like cacao beans are in chocolate production.

The result is a chocolate alternative that is cacao-free, deforestation-free, child labor-free, caffeine-free, and vegan, according to vegconomist, the vegan business magazine.

“Using fermentation we’re able to create a suite of the same flavor compounds found in cacao. We can dial up certain aromas and even adjust the acidity to bring out notes found in premium single-origin chocolates,” Drain told vegconomist.

The startup aims to compete with high-end chocolates and actually won “best finished product” at the World Confectionary Conference where WNWN competed against real chocolate, reported Fast Company.

The official launch will be later in 2023 in the UK. A limited-edition trial of the Waim chocolate bar sold out in 2022. The company is considering adding additional ingredients to the bars that can be grown sustainably in the areas where cacao can no longer be farmed, making it a real win-win!

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