Chocolate for all to enjoy
The NOMO chocolate brand was borne of lofty ambitions to cater to as wide a range of choice-restricted consumers as possible – a mission it takes very seriously, according to Jacqueline Tyrrell, brand manager at NOMO.
The vegan diet is unequivocally mainstream now, with animal product-free options widely available on the shelves of all food stores. Whether borne from animal welfare concerns, or beliefs that plant-based is more healthy, veganism is increasingly a diet choice rather than a safety imperative.
But what of those consumers whose food selection is restricted due to ill consequences or potentially life-threatening ones? For food allergy sufferers, knowledge about precisely what is – and what is not – in their food is of vital concern. This was the motivation behind NOMO – a brand that has successfully crafted chocolate options for a wide range of allergy sufferers, from dairy and eggs, to tree nuts and peanuts. New Food spoke to Jacqueline Tyrrell, brand manager at NOMO, to learn more.
“Where most other vegan brands will use hazelnut paste or oat milk in their vegan chocolate recipes, NOMO uses rice powder instead of milk.” Referencing the mindset of all those working on the brand, Jacqueline explained: “As a business, we take allergens extremely seriously and everyone who works at NOMO has this at the forefront of their thinking. We go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that our NOMO products are safe and free from the major allergens: dairy, gluten, egg and nuts (tree nuts and peanuts).
It is really important to us as a brand that we are not just suitable for vegans, but a safe option for people with allergies to dairy, gluten, egg and nuts
These extreme lengths run the whole length of their supply chain and throughout the entire production process. “Beginning with our suppliers, we ensure all NOMO ingredients are free from dairy, gluten, egg, tree nuts and peanuts. Our factory in Norfolk, UK, has a specially segregated part of the factory to craft NOMO. The whole process is carefully managed by our operations and technical teams and is underpinned by detailed allergen management procedures. It is really important to us as a brand that we are not just suitable for vegans, but a safe option for people with allergies to dairy, gluten, egg and nuts,” she said.
Do allergy sufferers lose out on taste?
But is the chocolate any good? When asked if consumers are having to make concessions in terms of texture and taste, Jacqueline confidently stated, “We don’t think so! We have gone to great lengths to make sure that NOMO tastes like milk chocolate. It’s all about finding the best combination of ingredients and methods of making the chocolate to get a smooth creamy flavour and texture.” And it seems this level of precision cannot be rushed. “Our creamy choc recipe, for example, took us two years to develop and our caramel-filled bar almost four years! We work really hard on all of our products to make sure NOMO is uncompromisingly delicious.
When asked if she considers that allergy sufferers are adequately provided for in the marketplace, Jacqueline of course pointed to NOMO, divulging that not only does the NOMO brand offer significant choice in terms of chocolate bar flavours and seasonal products but that a new option is on the not-too-distant horizon. “We are also looking to expand our formats beyond impulse and sharing,” she said. “We have an exciting (but top secret) pipeline of products that will be launching in 2021, which will give consumers even more options to choose from.
Our ethos is really ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy delicious chocolate
Given the momentum of the vegan trend, New Food asked whether Jacqueline anticipated a similar occurrence with free-from chocolate.
“There has definitely been a rise in the number of people suffering from food allergies and intolerances in the UK over the last 10 years. We know that almost a third of adults in the UK have an undiagnosed food allergy” she explained. “A lot of time and effort goes into creating NOMO, both from a development point of view (we have to make sure all of our ingredients are free from dairy, gluten, egg and nuts) and a manufacturing point of view; this aspect does make it prohibitive for some brands to offer free from options. In that sense, it is easier to cater to only the vegan consumer. However, for NOMO, our ethos is really ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy delicious chocolate, so being a free from brand is just as important to us as being a vegan brand.
Given that food product purchases are not only motivated by ingredients themselves but their provenance, NOMO have catered equally to ethically minded consumers with their selection of cocoa beans.
“NOMO buys Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa through the ‘mass balance’ model of production.” Jacqueline explained. “This allows us to buy more cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, which means that farmers, the environment, and cocoa-growing communities will benefit from our increasing purchases. The Rainforest alliance works together with farmers, companies, foresters, communities and consumers to amplify the voices of farmers and forest communities, helping to improve livelihoods, protect biodiversity and help people mitigate and adapt to climate change in bold and effective ways.
Brand Manager – NOMO at Kinnerton Confectionery Co Ltd.