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WNWN Debuts World’s First Alt-Chocolate

WNWN Food Labs, a UK food tech startup, launched the world’s first cacao-free chocolate. The limited-release box of choc thins is made by applying traditional fermentation techniques to plant-based ingredients. 

WNWN’s alt-choc will be available beginning May 18 exclusively at www.wnwnfoodlabs.com

In less than a year since its founding, WNWN (pronounced “win-win”) rapidly developed its proprietary process to transform sustainable ingredients into alt-chocolate that tastes, melts, snaps and bakes just like chocolate—without the child labor, slave labor, deforestation and outsized carbon footprint of conventional cacao. 

WNWN’s alt-chocolate is vegan, caffeine-free, gluten-free, lower in sugar than comparable products, and releases around 80% fewer CO2 emissions according to a life-cycle assessment. In addition to being made without cacao butter, it is palm oil-free, unlike most mass-market chocolates.  

“Chocolate has a truly dark side with more than a million child laborers estimated to work in Ivory Coast and Ghana, where three-quarters of the world’s cacao is grown, and more CO2 emissions pound for pound than cheese, lamb or chicken,” said WNWN CTO Dr. Johnny Drain. “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.” 

British barley—used for centuries in whisky and beer—and carob form the base of WNWN’s cacao-free chocolate. These and other plant-based ingredients are fermented and roasted using a proprietary process to build a flavor profile that mirrors the complexity and makeup of chocolate and the melt-in-the-mouth properties of cacao butter, without using cacao. 

Along with pursuing supply relationships, WNWN plans to explore how other foods can be future-proofed from changing climates, biodiversity loss, and from production monopolies that pay unfair wages and foster poor working conditions. These include coffee, tea and vanilla, which each have supply chains mired in unethical and unsustainable practices. 

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