Investments & Acquisitions

Nukoko Raises $1.5M to Scale “World’s First” Cocoa-Free Chocolate Made From Fava Beans

UK-based company Nukoko has raised $1.5 million in seed funding to scale up its technology to produce cocoa-free chocolate from fava beans. The round was led by Oyster Bay Venture Capital, with participation from SOSV and The Mills Fabrica alongside a grant from Innovate UK.

Due to climate change, cocoa has seen a supply deficit in recent years, causing prices to rise by a huge 89% in 2023 and double again in the first months of 2024. Cocoa production is also associated with deforestation and significant carbon emissions.

Nukoko claims to have developed the first chocolate made from fava beans, a nitrogen-fixing crop that can be grown within the UK. Using a fermentation process similar to traditional cocoa fermentation, the company transforms the beans into bars that produce 90% fewer carbon emissions than conventional chocolate, without contributing to further deforestation.

Furthermore, the chocolate is not associated with the ethical issues linked to traditional chocolate production, such as child labour and slavery. It is high in protein, fibre, and antioxidants, and contains 40% less sugar than regular chocolate.

Image: Nukoko on LinkedIn

“Planet-positive production process”

Nukoko was founded in 2022 by second-time chocolate entrepreneurs Ross Newton and Kit Tomlinson, along with cocoa research scientist Professor David Salt. Last year, the company gained a place on the prestigious biotech program IndieBio; it was also recently included in the Foodtech 500, which recognises companies combining food, technology, and sustainability. Additionally, Nukoko has secured development agreements with the Swiss retailer Coop Group.

Nukoko joins a growing number of companies worldwide producing cocoa-free chocolate, including Germany’s Planet A Foods, Italy’s Foreverland, and the UK’s WNWN.

‘’At Nukoko, we want to provide a viable alternative to chocolate that is from a trusted ingredient with a natural and planet-positive production process,” said Prof. David Salt, CSO at Nukoko. “We believe that being a true and authentic ‘bean-to-bar’ manufacturer, that uses fava beans not cocoa beans to make our chocolate alternative, sets us apart and resonates with consumers.’’

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