Sustainable chocolate company WNWN raises £5.2m Series A round
The London-based company WNWN (pronounced win-win) intends to expand their operations from solely direct-to-consumer sales to include retail locations, initially in the UK and then throughout Europe.
Following the completion of a venture capital-led funding round of $5.6m (€5.2m), with support from FoodLabs, Geschwister, Oetker, Mustard Seed Maze, PINC, Investbridge, AgriTech, and HackCapital, a decision was made.
Creating chocolate without the use of cocoa is possible. This can be done by using certain ingredients such as sugar, milk, and cocoa butter and combining them in a specific manner. The flavour of the chocolate may not be the same as traditional chocolate, but it can still be an enjoyable treat.
WNWN utilizes conventional fermentation procedures to create chocolate without cocoa. As opposed to fermenting and roasting cocoa beans, their process is based on fermenting barley and carob to form a chocolate substitute.
In a recent interview, CTO Dr Johnny Drain of the start-up stated that they had combined two ingredients to create a 'deliciously chocolatey profile'. As an alternative to cocoa butter, the company is utilizing shea fat which is sourced from Ghana. The end product is a dark chocolate substitute that is nutritionally similar to conventional chocolate, albeit with less sugar. A milk chocolate option without cocoa is also anticipated by WNWN.
Dr Drain said that the aim of the business was to replicate the experience of eating chocolate. They contend that they have accomplished the classic bitterness that is normally tied to dark chocolate, as well as its 'fruity acidity' as far as flavour is concerned.
Just over a year ago, WNWN started their journey in the direct-to-consumer market by introducing their first product. Now, with their recent funding, the business is in the process of increasing their production and personnel with the goal of having their products available in retail stores by the end of the year.
Dr Drain remarked that the financial aid they received is an affirmation of the start-up's research capabilities and the potential to expand. "It is predicted that the need for chocolate will continue to grow, however traditional distribution channels are unable to meet the demand while preserving the environment and human rights."
It is undeniable that the cocoa supply chain is plagued by the destruction of habitats, as well as the exploitation of workers and unfair trade practices.
As the food industry gets ready for the introduction of new due diligence regulations that will prohibit cocoa produced through human rights or environmental abuses from being used in the European Union's supply chain, WNWN has launched its retail line. CEO Ahrum Pak noted that the investment "comes at an opportune moment considering the European ban on cocoa connected to deforestation" as WNWN can reduce the burden of the cocoa supply chain on both the environment and farmers living in poverty.