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‘Chocolate is running out’ across the globe says expert – but new fava bean alternative could save the day

A global chocolate famine has been averted – with British scientists developing what they claim is the world’s first-ever sustainable chocolate alternative to tackle the ‘shortage’.

The product was created by NuKoKo’s two serial entrepreneurs, Ross Newton, 46, and Kit Tomlison, 44, who have spent the last 10 years in the food and chocolate industry.

Ross and Kit (Image: Jam Press)

They claim its chocolate, which is 100% cocoa-free and made from fava beans, not only tastes like the real deal – but reportedly has the same snap and feel in the mouth as chocolate too.

It reportedly also contains 40% less sugar and higher protein and is more environmentally-friendly.

“Chocolate is running out,” Ross Newton, co-founder of NuKoKo, told Jam Press.

Chocolate made from Fava beans (Image: Jam Press)

“This year there has been a shortage of £350,000 worth of chocolate bars and this is expected to grow to £50bn worth of chocolate bars within 10 years.”

Experts have been looking for a viable alternative to chocolate for some time amid issues with the long-term sustainability of cocoa beans.

The planet’s supply of the seeds, which are the main component of the much-loved treat, is waning due to climate change.

The chocolate industry is also responsible for huge carbon emissions, deforestation, and humanitarian issues.

Fava beans (Image: Jam Press)

Around 1.56 million children, some as young as five years old, are involved in cocoa farming in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, according to The Food Empowerment Project.

Nukoko’s solution is to replicate the natural fermentation process of cocoa beans by using the much easier-to-grow fava bean in the UK.

The science has been developed in conjunction with world-famous Professor David Salt, who has over 35 years’ worth of experience including doing five years of research on cocoa quality with growers and chocolate producers around the globe.

Fava beans (Image: Jam Press)

Kit and Ross first started their entrepreneurial journey by creating a successful chocolate brand, Mighty Fine, which they built from a market stall to retail and subsequently sold.

It was during this time their passion for sustainable chocolate was born. Fellow co-founder Kit Tomlinson said: “The cocoa shortage has hiked prices by 30% this year alone.

Fava cake (Image: Jam Press)

“And that’s on top of the fact that the chocolate we do eat has the fifth highest carbon emissions amongst all food.”

Nukoko believes its product is the future of chocolate as it’s cheaper, healthier, and has 90% less CO2 emissions.

The founders said: “We’d like to see a world where chocolate made of valuable cocoa is super premium, and the value is taken back down the supply chain to the growers who can be encouraged to reduce the impact of deforestation.

Ross Newton and Kit Tomlison (Image: Jam Press)

“We believe we have created the nirvana of chocolate, truly sustainable, easy to grow all over the world, and able to feed the growing chocolate demand of a global population’’

The company has been in discussions with major chocolate brands about partnerships.

The founders have also received funding from Indie Bio, a leading food tech investor, as well as collaborated with Kickstart Innovation.