The notion of dark chocolate being a healthy cocoa option and craving satisfier, when taken in moderation, once a week at most, is something that everyone’s acquainted with. But taking this health aspect even further, 6 years ago, two Scottish women set off on a mission to develop a bean-to-bar chocolate that would be completely organic, devoid of allergens and surprisingly low in calories even for dark chocolates.
So, what is bean-to-bar chocolate?
A chocolate is called bean-to-bar when the manufacturer personally oversees and controls all stages of production beginning from the sourcing of cocoa beans to roasting, cracking, grinding, molding and finally packaging. Bean-to-bar chocolates can be identified by their ingredients’ label – chocolates that generally have cacao/cocoa/cocoa beans as their first ingredient are bean-to-bar because it implies that the company itself has personally sourced and processed the beans. Otherwise, the list would contain some pre-made product such as a certain percentage of milk chocolate or dark chocolate.
Back to talking about iQ chocolates…
Besides being a bean-to-bar chocolate, the iQ chocolate has received superfood status because of its high nutrient density. The bars are free from 14 allergens including nuts, soy, gluten, wheat, dairy and also has a very low GI value. The chocolate is sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, which is itself a superfood - high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and a solid natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. It has also been tested as safe for both Diabetes type 1 and 2.
Making things better, the iQ chocolate is not your average, one flavor, boring dark chocolate. It comes in nine different flavors listed on their website ranging from fresh and fruity options like Plush Peppermint, BeautiQ, and Orange with Wild Raspberry to more conditioned flavors like the Original and Espresso bars.
The technicalities behind iQ chocolate are seemingly unquestionable – the team is extremely transparent about their methods and sources, a tour through their website is sufficient proof. But the story behind the company is equally intriguing. Started back in 2011, iQ Chocolate began in Kate Hamilton’s backyard, “with a couple of tin buckets and a hairdryer” as the founder ladies put it. The journey hadn’t been easy, with the first few prototypes being flat-out rejected by tasters as being unpalatable. Eventually, they got the formula right and nailed their first business with Real Foods in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Whole Foods Market.
Since then, the company has grown immensely, currently exporting to 13 countries all over the world, the UK being their biggest market. The ladies are currently considering two modes of expansion – into the sports food market, owing to dark chocolate’s trait of slowing cognitive decline caused by old age, and into the milk and white chocolate market; although the latter is more difficult due to the fact that adding milk to chocolate massively decreases its health aspects.
Organic, healthy, diabetic – these words aren’t unheard of in the chocolate industry, but what makes iQ Chocolate worth looking out for is their commitment to growth and sustainability – they are constantly looking to upgrade their products and delve into as many healthy sectors as possible, having already ticked off bean-to-bar, organic, allergen free, diabetic friendly and nutrition off their list!