Page 22 - Food & Drink Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 22

The Chocolate Yogi
A combination of dairy intolerance and a love of chocolate led to the creation of a new vegan chocolate business.
We asked our friends and family for funding and we got $35,000. That was the figure we thought we needed to start a chocolate business, but it turned out to be a bit more than that.”
Lovegrove went to professional chocolate making school in Melbourne to refine her process. “I prefer coconut sugar. It still feels like a treat, but has half the glycemic index of white sugar,”
Instead of milk, Lovegrove uses desiccated coconut and coconut flour – which is high in fibre, so it also slows down absorption into the body – and lucuma powder from the lucuma fruit.
The pair operated two big stone grinders in their lounge room originally but soon found the need for a suitable warehouse where they could build a food-safe facility.
“Our family and friends helped to build the factory. We
now have a whole functioning chocolate factory with many more stone grinders, which makes the chocolate smooth.”
The process is now around 60 per cent automated, but inclusions such as the vegan honeycomb and toffee are still hand-sprinkled.
The Chocolate Yogi products are sold in around 700 stores nationwide, says Lovegrove, and they are looking at further growing the product range and expanding into new markets.
“We found lots of vegans loved it, so we focused on that market, and then we recognised the need for allergen-free products so last year we brought out the first Australian-made children’s bar that was free of all eight allergens,” Lovegrove says.
So far, the growth of the business has been strong, with turnover doubling every year over the past three and a half years of operating.
and the cookies planned for foodservice and retail, the pair knew they needed to change branding from “Pizzaiolis”.
The pizza bases now fall in under The Food Crafters brand.
Last year, The Food Crafters launched its line of gluten-free cookies. The range has three products – Raw Cacao Double Coconut Ginger and Date – which come in two sizes: individual and 12 packs.
The target market for both products are those with gluten allergies and those making lifestyle choices. Rechichi says they also want to appeal to people on taste alone.
Having seen success with the cookies, The Food Crafters wants to expand into other lines, potentially including lasagnes, pastas and sauces, vegan high-protein cookies and more.
SYDNEY dairy-intolerant yoga teacher Malindi Lovegrove loved chocolate but was intolerant to dairy products, so she devised her own milk-free chocolate recipe.
“I started looking for alternatives in shops and nothing tasted like milk chocolate to me, so
I started
experimenting at home.” This was the start of a
thriving vegan chocolate business called The Chocolate Yogi which supplies hundreds of retailers Australia wide.
The move from enthusiastic amateur to chocolate manufacturer happened four
years ago when Lovegrove and her husband Ed Lower
decided to attend a seminar on turning your passion
into a business.
“That was July 2014.
The Food Crafters
In a bid to create a gluten-free pizza base that would not fall apart, a restaurateur teamed up with a food developer to develop a range for a growing market that now includes gluten- free cookies.
FOR 20 years, France Rechichi worked in the hospitality industry in hatted restaurants as well corporate catering. During his time in an Italian restaurant he became frustrated with gluten-free pizza bases that continually broke.
“After doing research, I found there was actually nothing out there,” he says.
Rechichi met food developer David Amar and discovered Amar was interested in developing a gluten-free pizza base, and in 2015 the pair decided to redress the lack of decent, tasty, non-breaking, gluten-free pizza bases.
The result was Pizzaiolis, which they launched in 2016. And they sold like hot cakes.
In 2017, sales of the pizza bases grew 200 per cent. Rechichi says the key to the low-key investment was in Amar’s suggestion for the business model.
When he approached David about doing pizza bases, he suggested no big overheads, with the pair working from home, and contracting out manufacturing, packaging, and marketing.
“We started out with Pizzaiolis as a brand. We didn’t have anything in mind except
doing pizzas, but David had these cookies
in the design pipeline anyway, so we brought them into our
business,” Rechichi says.
With the pizza bases in foodservice only,
22 | Food&Drink business | November-December 2018 |

   20   21   22   23   24