Meet our heart and soul
Lovechock doesn’t only want to provide people with the most delicious raw chocolate but also show the pleasure of conscious living. Who is responsible for this pioneering and innovative company very much driven by a social purpose? Franziska Rosario is as CEO heart and soul of Lovechock – the company. What keeps her moving? What are the plans for the future? We talked to her while having a cup of tea and, of course, a piece of her favourite chocolate tablet, the Extreme Dark tablet with 99% cacao.
Lovechock was founded in 2009. Already ten years ago! Before we talk about how to celebrate this birthday let´s have a look back. Do you still remember the first steps you took to launching Lovechock?
Franziska Rosario: My business partners at the time wanted to be the first to launch a RAW Chocolate product in mainland Europe, understanding that raw cacao beans have wonderful properties such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids (the largest group of antioxidants) and ‘Mood enhancers‘, or as we call them ‘ Lovechemicals‘; that’s where we get our name from. Most people see chocolate as unhealthy. Cacao is one of the most complex raw materials or you could even say the mother of all superfoods, and in its’ natural form is full of goodies. We wanted to make a low processed product that was as close to nature as possible. Beyond that, we didn’t want to burden nature, that’s why all our products are organic.
Moreover, we wanted to ensure the farmers get a fair price; we don’t buy our beans on the commodity exchanges of this world but work directly with cooperatives. Above everything else for us going back to the original and pure taste of cacao is important, to show consumers how great, real chocolate can taste. Ultimately we want to leave this world a little bit better than we found it and spread a little Love and happiness.
Lovechock was a pioneer from the very beginning. The company is driven by the desire to be innovative. That´s quite a challenge, isn't it?
Being pioneering in your own category is quite a roller coaster. For example 9 years ago, nobody knew what RAW chocolate was, we literally had to build the category and we’re still building. What we also didn’t understand is that the organic and conventional retail world tick a little bit differently. Getting to know how these channels work was very important for us. Now I think understanding the distribution of where to sell our product has been the key to our success.
Having people believing in the company mission is key. Also, even if you have a purpose to create a social company it’s a must to master core business techniques.
Lovechock is known to sell the best organic, raw cacao from Ecuador. How tough and long was the journey to find the best and most tasteful cacao beans of the world?
Actually, the chocolate was created after being inspired to eat raw food. RAW cacao at the time was solely available from Ecuador. Why? It has the best taste profile with very fine-flavors, this is the starting point of a great RAW chocolate as we don’t roast our beans. Roasting cacao beans enhance the flavours of a bean. There is a saying ‘you can make a great tasting bean out of a poor quality bean by roasting it’. Again by not roasting, we need to start with the best quality bean and that’s from Ecuador.
Lovechock was also one of the first to use Coconut blossom sugar instead of refined sugar. So you hit the nerve of time. Sugar consumption is currently one of the biggest topics in food sector. You were also an early bird in this area.
That´s right. We did quite some research into the type of sugars to use. The first years we used Agave, but ultimately changed to Coconut blossom sugar that has a Lower GI (Glycemic Index) as it’s totally unrefined. I love this product as it also supports small farmers in Indonesia. Perhaps a little more research into finding more suppliers of our exotic and then unknown ingredients, such as Goji’s, Maca and Lucuma would have reduced a few headaches. They were very difficult to source in the beginning. Now they’re everywhere. But then again: It’s always a fun challenge to be a front runner.
One of Lovechock's USPs is the fact that the cacao beans are cold ground instead of being roasted. What´s the difference?
Not roasting our beans, but also not over waltzing and conching (mixing the chocolate for up to 72 hours) are the key differences in our chocolate making process. That’s why Lovechock has a different taste profile than even our closest competitors as it is more coarse and ‘real’ than other chocolates on the market. We also try to add as little of the coconut blossom sugar as possible to be less sweet. Lovechock’s taste profile is rather unique in that you can “bite and chew” because of the chunks of whole fruit and nuts in the recipes. We think of them as a little explosion of superfoods. It’s that little reward for people who are on a journey to improving their quality of life and those around them.
Plastic waste has recently become news. As environmentally aware brand Lovechock offers already since 2011 a plasticfree and thus 100% compostable packaging. How difficult is it to combine a visually appealing and environmentally friendly packaging?
Unpacking a Lovechock is always an exciting and emotional treat. Moving from the initial colourful aluminum foil to a transparent cellulose, made of sustainable wood-pulp, wasn’t the obvious choice from a visual point of view. However, taking out the colourful aluminum foil was a bit of no-brainer when looking at our mission statement.
That’s why we were the 2nd in 2011 to move to compostable foil and it’s great to see now that larger brands are following in our footsteps to be plastic free. The great thing is that our fans and consumers love the fact that we care about the planet. They see Lovechock as a regular little gift to themselves on their way to conscious living. And, by the way, one more reason for them to buy Lovechock are the ‘positive affirmations’, cute notes inside, which always bring a smile to their faces.
Lovechock is very much driven by a social purpose and that governs all decisions. Where does this amazing passion come from?
Gandhi who said “be the change you want to see in the world”, great advice, but not always an easy path to follow; learning to be humble has such power. Perhaps it’s my Indian routes, but I also adore Vandana Sheeva, and her active roles in making unspoken issues visible, such as seed patents and the effect of globalisation on the farming communities in developing countries.
She stands for so much. I once had the pleasure of hearing her live and her goal to change practices in agriculture are inspiring. Being a scientist, she brings simple messages (in a complex structure) that makes sense. I hope her voice can grow louder and louder in this cluttered and busy media world.
What can we expect this year from Lovechock. Are you planning a big birthday party, entering new markets or brands?
Looking to the future it’s about making the Lovechock company all about our core mission to ‘Radiate the pleasure of conscious living’ and getting that message out there, that’s what we’re focusing on. We want to win more fans for conscious living and show them that they can vote with their wallet every time they enjoy a Lovechock product.
There is just one way for us to celebrate our 10-year existence. As ongoing pioneer will launch new products. Two new products will be launched at Biofach in Nürnberg. We are already very excited, especially one of them really will draw a lot of intention, I´m sure.
Then let´s celebrate!
Interview by Janine Damm