Northern Ireland company launches new range of ‘no added sugar’ chocolate
As more and more consumers look for healthier snacking options, a Northern Irish chocolate brand is leading the way with a range of decadent treats that offer consumers a ‘better-for-you’ option to reduce sugar without sacrificing taste.
Passionate about helping people reduce their sugar intake, Free’ist Chocolate was founded in 2013 by Belfast businessman Gerard McAdorey and to mark its 10th birthday, the innovative brand has relaunched its original milk and dark chocolate range with a new and improved recipe.
The company has also introduced a new no-added-sugar, plant-based product – tapping into growing consumer demand for milk-based alternatives.
Research* shows that the Republic of Ireland is on course to have the highest rates of obesity in Europe by 2030 – with Northern Ireland not far behind – so it’s no surprise that demand is rapidly rising for ‘free from’ and ‘better-for-you’ products, as people adapt to a healthier lifestyle.
With this in mind, Free’ist has developed a variety of ethically sourced, indulgent snacks that are sweetened from plants and contain no added sugar, palm oil or artificial flavours.
Of course, whilst health has never been more important to consumers, it counts for little if the product doesn’t taste good, which is where Free’ist really comes into its own.
Using the Fino De Aroma cocoa bean from Columbia – the best the world’s plantations have to offer – and working with world-renowned chocolatiers to perfectly roast, temper and refine the flavours – Free’ist has created what founder Gerard McAdorey believes is the ultimate indulgent ‘better-for-you’ chocolate.
The ‘free from’ category is projected to grow by 41% over the next five years – driven by dairy alternatives – so the brand has announced a range extension which includes a selection of no-added-sugar, plant-based bars, made from the finest oat m!lk to create a creamy, indulgent snack that melts in the mouth.
‘The passion, skill and talent of our chocolatiers has enabled us to create our best tasting range of Free’ist products’
The plant-based range launches with a four-strong portfolio including Oat Chocolate and the indulgent flavour extensions of Oat with Raspberry, Oat with Coconut, and Oat with Almonds.
“Across the globe, people are adapting to healthier lifestyles which has been a huge driver in the demand for products that are free from sugar, dairy and artificial ingredients,” said Mr McAdorey.
“They still want to be able to treat themselves in a healthy, responsible and guilt-free manner – but taste will not be sacrificed so we have worked tirelessly to perfect this over the past decade.
“Now, as the brand celebrates its 10th birthday, I’m delighted to say that I believe we have finally cracked it,” he added. “The passion, skill and talent of our chocolatiers has enabled us to create our best tasting range of Free’ist products, while committing to ethical sourcing that uses only the finest quality ingredients.”
All Free’ist chocolate is bean-to-bar traced and ethically sourced, with single origin Columbian cacao beans, no added sugar, no palm oil, no artificial flavours, no soy, no gluten and non-GMO.
The newest vegan-friendly plant-based range from Free’ist is made from the highest quality oat m!lk for a creamy, indulgent taste.
“While sugar levels are the biggest concern amongst consumers, they are also very wary of artificial sweeteners, and there is a growing and widespread demand for plant-based sweeteners. It was this insight, gathered from our comprehensive consumer research, that drove us to find a stevia-based solution for our products,” said Mr McAdorey.
The full Free’ist range consists of six no-added-sugar milk and dark chocolate bars, and four new no-added-sugar plant-based, dairy-free bars.
Listings for the brand have already been secured with major multiple retailers across the island of Ireland, including Tesco, Dunnes, Supervalu and Spar with stock rolling onto shelves this week.
“Free’ist was created 10 years ago on the back of consumer demand for alternative healthier snacks, and, as we enter our second decade, we continue to put the consumer at the heart of our brand,” said Gerard McAdorey.
“We believe that ‘great taste’ and ‘better-for-you’ belong together – and we are passionate about reducing sugar intake with a great range of healthier snacks that do not compromise on flavour.”
* SOURCE: Mintel, Healthy Eating – Salt, Sugar and Fat – Ireland, February 2020.