Food tech company looks to make cacao-free chocolate

15 Sep 2021

A new U.S.-based startup called Voyage Foods is looking to decouple food from its source material to create cacao-free chocolate, peanut-free peanut butter and coffee without the coffee bean.

"We have succeeded in producing society's favorite food and drink without contributing to industries rife with negative environmental and social implications, like cacao farming, for example," said Voyage Foods CEO Adam Maxwell in a statement. "What's more, these products are not alternatives that require consumers to consciously sacrifice taste and texture. They stand up next to the flavor of the originals, and cost the same too."

Food tech company looks to make cacao-free chocolate

While the company does not yet have any products available, it said that it will launch peanut-free peanut butter this fall followed by chocolate without cacao and coffee without the coffee bean in 2022.

The company told Food Dive in an interview that it intends to function as a CPG manufacturer rather than an ingredients supplier. However, in order to do so, Voyage Foods will need to construct its own manufacturing facilities since co-packers in the U.S. are not able to easily recreate its deconstructed recipes. Voyage Foods relies on chemistry and the ability to manipulate the molecules of efficiently-grown or upcycled ingredients to make a new version of food items. Its ingredients list for chocolate will have grape seeds, sunflower seed meal, sugar, shea butter, salt and natural flavors, Food Dive reported.

The company is currently constructing a dedicated manufacturing facility in California and has already received $5.7 million in funding. A second, double-digit funding round is underway that will provide funds to bring Voyage Foods’ products to market.

Kelsey Tenney the company’s director of commercialization said in a release that Voyage Food's products are “all-natural, clean label, non-GMO, and nutritionally and economically identical to their counterparts on the market.” They are not to be considered lab-grown, biosynthetic foods, she said.

However, while the company is using real ingredients rather than chemicals as substitutions in their formulations, it will clearly need to state that for consumers who are increasingly concerned with the components used in the creation of packaged products. To ensure this is possible, Voyage Foods is designing its packaging to clearly tell consumers what is inside and how it was made.

The company says its goal is to reproduce some of the most beloved foods on the shelf in a way that removes concerns surrounding worker exploitation, climate change and ethical treatment.

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