Chocolate is good for you. It’s the news that every chocoholic has been waiting for and finally, thanks to businessman Kevin Nester, it is now a reality.
‘Beyond Dark’ is the brainchild of Mr Nester, who in 2006 saw a gap in the market for a healthy brand of chocolate.
“The idea came to me while my daughter-in-law was writing her thesis on the concept of healthy chocolate as part of her business degree. I read the benefits associated with dark chocolate and went from eating none at all, to having a bar a week,” he said.
“However I soon discovered that although dark chocolate has high levels of antioxidants, the high fat to antioxidant ratio meant that there were no real positive health benefits to the consumer. It was this that started a four year voyage to create a healthy chocolate.”
Boasting the same levels of antioxidants as 25 oranges in every 35g pack and health benefits that include a reduction in both blood pressure and bad cholesterol, the chocolate has proven to be popular with the public and retailers alike.
According to Mr Nester, the secret behind Beyond Dark is in the production process of the chocolate, making it significantly healthier than other dark chocolate brands.
He said: “A high proportion of the antioxidants in dark chocolate are destroyed during the production process, but thanks to our cocoa bean selection and production process, Beyond Dark contains up to three times more antioxidants than a standard dark chocolate bar.”
As well as high levels of antioxidants, other benefits are said to include maintaining healthy, supple skin, protection from the damaging effects of free radicals and even a boost in concentration and memory.
The product’s website says: “Beyond Dark chocolate may be consumed daily in order to achieve long-term health benefits. Please note, however, that it is neither a ‘magic pill’ nor an instant cure for any disease or health condition. It is a small – but important – part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.”
Since the product’s launch ten months ago, Beyond Dark has already attracted plenty of interest from independent retailers across the UK – including supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.
The chocolate, which was designed and launched by Alpha Design and Marketing, has exceeded all sales expectations, selling over 4,500 packets a week through more than 200 independent retailers.
He added: “Online sales are also growing steadily through our website and we have had an amazing amount of interest from independent retailers, we are producing and selling 800-1,000kg per month, which is potentially very profitable.
“We are also talking to several national retailers that we feel would best suit the Beyond Dark brand and also one the largest independent coffee retailers who are also very interested in the chocolate.”
True to form, the Shropshire-born entrepreneur still has plans to expand his healthy chocolate brand.
He added: “I could see Beyond Dark as possibly a drinking chocolate, a chocolate spread and even Easter eggs. But of course, we don’t want to run before we can walk and each new product requires a substantial cash investment.”
To find out more, visit www.beyonddark.co.uk
by Luke Powell