If you’ve jumped right into 2018 on a health kick, it is usually right about now that you begin to miss those chocolatey treats.

Great tasting chocolate doesn’t have to be crammed with excess levels of unhealthy ingredients. When stripped back to basics and formulated with a touch of scientific thinking, it can result in significantly improved nutritional values. With some innovation and lots of experimentation, Rebel Chocolate believe they have found the perfect balance. Founder, Dr Neil Robson, tells us more.

“Like most people, I have always enjoyed chocolate as a treat fairly frequently. However, over the last five years, I have become increasingly concerned by the vast amounts of sugar found in most milk and white chocolate.”

“It is hard to argue against the evidence that high sugar consumption plays a major role in the global obesity problem. Given the amounts of sugar found in most chocolate, it is logical that chocolate consumption is at least a contributing factor.”

As a scientist, this got Dr Robson thinking.

“Could I reformulate milk chocolate so that it continues to have that delicious taste that everybody knows and loves, but is far more nutritionally balanced?”

In a nutshell, this was how Rebel Chocolate was born.

“We started with a clear vision” said Neil. “Firstly, the chocolate we made had to taste fantastic. The world did not need another poor-tasting health-food product. The question of taste was largely solved by our commitment to using only premium quality cocoa, and plenty of it.”

Cocoa has been consumed for its health promoting properties for many hundreds of years. Recent research has identified that cocoa is rich in flavanols which are powerful anti-oxidants. Flavanol consumption is now linked to a host of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular and brain function.”

“Most people will directly associate “cocoa” with “chocolate”. However, it is not quite as simple as eating lots of milk chocolate to benefit from cocoa’s potential health promoting properties. Most milk chocolate contains relatively low amounts of cocoa. Furthermore, the vast amount of sugar (often more than 50% by weight) added to milk chocolate is likely to outweigh any of the health-promoting properties of cocoa.”

As well as Rebel Chocolate using a high percentage of cocoa, the nutritional profile is further improved by enriching the chocolate with lactose-free whey protein.

 “More and more food producers are making a “high protein” version of one or more of their products.  While protein is essential for building and powering every cell in the body, it is not necessary for everything you eat to have additional protein.”

“The reason we add protein to our milk chocolate is to make it more nutritionally balanced. By providing sugars, proteins and fats in the proportions that we do, our milk chocolate is a far more balanced energy source than any other milk chocolates that we know of.”

Dr Neil didn’t think he was going to end up making a lactose free-milk chocolate, however when experimenting with flavours, he found lactose-free milk powder to be the best choice for the job.

“I chose to use lactose-free milk powder because it is inherently sweeter than standard milk powder, so I wanted to use this chemistry to our advantage. Lactose-free milk is made by adding an enzyme called lactase to the milk, which splits the lactose into one molecule of glucose and one molecule of galactose. So, by using lactose-free milk powder, I have been able to exploit the natural sweetness of these two sugars without actually having to add additional sugar.”

Rebel Chocolate have made milk chocolate with a much improved nutritional profile, but most importantly, it truly tastes delicious. There are currently 3 different varieties on the market:

Belgian – this is your classic milk chocolate flavour that everyone knows and loves;
Single Origin Colombian – this is a robust, full-flavoured milk chocolate universally loved by milk- and dark-chocolate lovers alike;
Single Estate Madagascan – made with a rare cocoa from the naturally organic rainforests of Madagascar. This milk chocolate has delicious fruit and caramel notes and is truly something special.

Neil has many more ideas up his sleeve and Rebel Chocolate are planning to expand their range in 2018, so watch this space.