Welcome to our favourite blog feature: ‘Supplier Spotlight’ where we’ll be interviewing the inspirational and hard-working individuals that create the delicious snacks that find their way into our boxes. In August’s boxes we are thrilled to be featuring London-based raw chocolatiers: Raw Halo.
Founded by Meg Haggar, Raw Halo launched their range of artisan raw chocolates only earlier this year. Inspired by a clean-eating philosophy, Raw Halo’s chocolate use the finest organic Peruvian cacao combined with nourishing superfoods to create a chocolate treat that’s a powerhouse of nutrition. Raw Halo’s chocolate bars are hand-crafted in small batches with a current collection of nine exquisite flavours, two of which (‘Sour Cherry & Almond‘ and ‘Dark & Sweet Orange‘) feature in our August boxes! We caught with founder Meg to find out more about her inspiration to start Raw Halo and her future plans for what promises to be a very exciting year.
Tell us more about Raw Halo and what sets you apart from other chocolate products on the market.
Raw Halo is an award winning, artisan raw chocolate brand. We are organic, vegan approved and refined sugar free, but unlike mass produced products, Raw Halo chocolate is handmade and hand wrapped. We source the finest Peruvian cacao; it has such rich and indulgent flavour which means we only need to add a touch of raw coconut sugar to naturally sweeten it. Our dairy-free ‘mylk’ chocolate recipe has only half the amount of total sugars compared to many other leading raw chocolate brands – which we think is really important. I find that chocolate preferences are so personal so I’ve created 9 different bars meaning there’s something for everyone whether you like your chocolate dark, creamy, pure, with added crunch, flavoured or fruity.
How did it get started and what was the inspiration for launching the brand?
I’ve always had a real passion for all things chocolate but I took the decision to cut out refined sugar from my diet nearly three years ago, which back then meant no more chocolate. It was actually my Mum who then introduced me to raw chocolate. Having not tasted anything remotely sweet for about 6 months, you can imagine my excitement – I loved it! From there, I started making my own chocolates using raw cacao combined with my favourite superfoods. I knew that I could bring variety to the market and offer something which tasted delicious that was refined sugar free. The idea continued to evolve, experimenting with different flavours and perfecting my craft until Raw Halo was launched earlier this year.
Who are Raw Halo products designed for?
A large proportion of my customers are health conscious (often vegan / paleo / gluten-free) who want to treat themselves to something indulgent without feeling guilty. However, particularly at events, I’m seeing a growing interest from those who perhaps haven’t heard of or tried raw chocolate before. The response has always been highly positive once they discover how good it tastes and how much healthier it is compared to traditional chocolate.
What has the response been like since your launch and have there been any unexpected surprises?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive. Leaving a successful career in corporate HR, there was always going to be that apprehension. Seeing my growing online sales, new stockists coming on board, and receiving such lovely feedback from customers at events has removed any doubt I had. For what I’d thought would initially be a mostly London centric customer base, I’ve been surprised to receive orders from so many international customers. That’s such a rewarding feeling to know that news of a brand and product I’ve created has spread so far in such a short space of time.
What are the benefits of raw chocolate compared to conventional chocolate?
Raw chocolate is different to traditional chocolate in that it’s not roasted. Instead, the temperature is kept below 42 degrees to ensure the vital nutrients found in raw cacao, such as magnesium, iron and antioxidants, are retained. Most raw chocolate brands complement this by keeping their bars refined sugar free, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Fantastically, the only sweeteners you use are coconut sugar and lucuma – how important was it for you to ensure your chocolates were refined sugar-free?
For me this is super important. It also means I can enjoy my range of bars whilst sticking to a refined sugar free diet. I’ve done a lot of research about diets which are high in refined sugar and the findings are rather scary. I’d say that coconut sugar and lucuma are my preferred sweeteners as so many people, myself included, are sensitive to high fructose sweeteners like agave.
Uniquely, your ‘Mylk & Salted Caramel’ bar contains raw cream, which is ideal for those who wish to include good sources of dairy into their diet like a number of our ‘primal’ subscribers. Tell us more about the inspiration behind that bar!
Salted Caramel is such a popular combination in the traditional chocolate market, mainly because the flavours work so well. However there didn’t seem to be any raw chocolate variations which I felt did the flavour justice. Whilst I do have many Vegan customers, many aren’t, and so to be able to offer those customers their favourite flavour but without any refined sugar meant Mylk + Salted Caramel was a success from the start.
If you could possibly pick, do you have a favourite flavour in your range?
That’s a tough question as it can vary so much depending on my mood. However my go-to bars are usually Pure Dark and Mylk+Crispies.
As well as following a clean, vegan diet – what else do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I’m not much of a cardio queen but I love yoga. My favourite is hot yoga, and that’s how I spend most of my time between making chocolate and running the business side of Raw Halo.
We love featuring your chocolate in our boxes! If our subscribers want to stock up on your bars, where can they get their hands on some?
We sell our full range of raw chocolate bars and superfood packs online at rawhalo.com but we’re also stocked at a growing number of health food stores, juice bars, cafes and fitness centres around the UK. Some of our favourite stockists are Frame, and Raw Press in London and The Yard in Alderley Edge. We’re just in the process of adding some exciting new stockists which we’ll be announcing later this month.
What does a typical day look like at Raw Halo HQ?
It varies so much at the moment. The past few months have been very focused on business set-up and preparing for events and trade shows. On the days when I’m making chocolate, it’s long days and long nights in the kitchen preparing my batches, tempering, moulding and handwrapping my bars. Days where I’m not producing are a little less hectic – that’s where I tend to have a bit more time for yoga in the morning, dealing with my suppliers, meeting new stockists, managing my online orders, and working on marketing.
What are your plans for Raw Halo in 2015?
I’ll be focusing on my online channel whilst building upon my growing list of stockists. I have my favourite shops here in London and also back home in the Peak District and I’ll be working on getting Raw Halo stocked in all of them. I’ve also got an exciting line-up of events coming up over the next few months, including Fare Healthy, Speciality and Fine Food Fair, and London Om Yoga Show. Most exciting for me, I hope to expand my range to include more flavours – the hard part will be deciding which ones!
If you’d like to try Meg’s delicious raw chocolate be sure to order your August Primal Snack Box soon! This month, the Savannah Box featured the ‘Sour Cherry & Almond’ bar, whilst the Forest Box features the equally as delicious ‘Dark & Sweet Orange’ – which one to choose?!
If you’d like to know more about Raw Halo, you can do so by visiting their website here.