Halo Top co-founder launches low-calorie, low-sugar chocolate bar

15 Jul 2021

Gatsby Chocolate is one of the newest entrants into the better-for-you indulgence space as of this summer. From the founder of Halo Top ice cream, Doug Bouton, this new chocolate bar uses Epogee's EPG fat alternative ingredient, which is a formulation that has up to 92% fewer calories from fat but still does not affect a formulation’s taste of texture.

These new low-calorie bars are advertised to have half the calories and about one-quarter of the sugar content of regular chocolate bars and are available in two flavor varieties: Classic Milk Chocolate and Almond Dark Chocolate. Each bar retails for $4.99 online and at 1,500 major retailer locations in the U.S.

Halo Top co-founder launches low-calorie, low-sugar chocolate bar
Courtesy of Gatsby Chocolate

The company stated that both its varieties are sweetened with a combination of sugar and allulose. As a result, its dark chocolate style bar contains 70 calories and 5 grams of sugar per serving, and its milk chocolate has 60 calories and 4 grams of sugar.

While the current reach of this product is limited, it has characteristics that have the ability to transform it into a widely popular chocolate alternative.

Firstly, the chocolate is, well, chocolate. Over the course of the pandemic, the consumption of sweets among consumers has risen substantially, and chocolate has found a particular sweet spot among consumers with one-third saying they increased their consumption of chocolate last year, according to a study from Cargill. Major chocolate manufacturers, including Hershey, have also revealed that they expect this inflated demand for chocolate to continue thanks to rises in activities such as home baking and gatherings where chocolate is shared.

Secondarily, this new product is from the same mind that devised Halo Top, a brand that substituted sugar for stevia and erythritol to bring indulgent ice cream calorie counts down to 280 to 380 calories per pint. This switch in ingredients became a revolution that propelled the brand to become the top-selling pint ice cream in the U.S.

Lastly, the formulation of these chocolate bars tackles not just the question of excess sugar – which has transformed into public enemy No. 1 for Americans – but also additional fat content. EPG addresses this particular aspect of chocolate’s nutritional profile that has proven to be difficult to alter since fat directly contributes to the sweet's creaminess and silky texture. However, Epogee says that it has managed the feat of reducing the number of calories coming from fat while not altering the taste or texture of products by reconstructing the fatty acid chains of rapeseed oil to create an ingredient that the body doesn’t absorb, thereby limited the number of calories that are ingested.

Already Epogee's ingredient has garnered attention in the better-for-you space. Swedish-style ice cream maker, Nick’s Ice Cream also uses EPG in its formulations and reportedly has an agreement with the company that bars competitors from replicating their formulations using EPG in the same way.

Gatsby Chocolate will undoubtedly appeal to a variety of consumers in the better-for-you category, but as for whether it corners the chocolate market in the same way that Halo Top conquered ice cream remains to be seen.

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