Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Nocoa

Cocoa-free chocolate that protects the planet

Food & Drink

A company has created chocolate free from cocoa, cutting out the harmful impacts of cocoa farming from the chocolate-making process

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Spotted: Cocoa farming is seriously damaging the environment – causing mass deforestation and impacting local climates as farmers clear tropical forests to make space for new cocoa trees, especially in West Africa. Now, a German company has created a chocolate free from cocoa that does not require trees to be cut down.  

To avoid using cocoa, Nocoa uses locally sourced oats as its base ingredient. The oats are fermented in a process similar to brewing beer, but chocolate is produced in place of alcohol. This fermentation process releases the cocoa flavour from the oats, like how conventional cocoa is produced. And, crucially, the oats used are mainly a by-product of current grain production. This means that more oats do not need to be grown to create Nocoa, making it sustainable.  

Producing one kilogramme of Nocoa creates 90 per cent less carbon than one kilogramme of its regular chocolate counterpart. With the company Carbon Cloud, Nocoa calculated a lifetime value of 1.9 kilogrammes CO2 per kilo of Nocoa, whereas traditional chocolate is 5.9 kilogrammes of CO2 per kilo. Nocoa aims to relieve the cocoa supply chain and hopes that, in future, cocoa will only be used for higher-value applications that enable fair payment for all parties involved.  

Many industries are working on replicating conventional foods for a more sustainable alternative. Springwise has spotted a food tech company using a high-protein version of chickpeas that mimics the qualities of meat and eggs, and another chocolate company that is planting trees to create a fairer, more sustainable chocolate industry.

Written By: Anam Alam



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