Rebelling against the chocolate norm

By Neil Robson 6 days ago . 4 minute read

Rebel Chocolate – A brief history

Did you know that most milk chocolate contains a frightening 50 – 60% sugar and excess sugar consumption is a major contributor to the world obesity epidemic? At Rebel Chocolate, we are rebelling against the chocolate norm. Our milk chocolate contains:

  • Half the sugar compared to market leaders;
  • 25% protein for nutritional enrichment;
  • 57% cocoa, twice as much as market leaders; and
  • No lactose, making it available to millions of lactose-intolerant people.

We use some of the best cocoa in the world so our chocolate tastes amazing but is more nutritionally balanced, making it a far healthier treat.

Vision

Our vision is to make a significant impact on the fight against obesity by providing healthier chocolate.

The Team

Dr Neil Robson – CEO and Co-founder of Rebel Chocolate.

I have a Master Degree in Protein Biochemistry from the University of Auckland and PhD in Immunology from the University of Glasgow.

In May 2016 I decided to make a significant career change and I left academic biomedical research. The reasons for this were multifactorial but a major contributing factor was that I have a disability in the form of chronic back pain. This became an insurmountable hurdle for my progression in academia. Nevertheless, this career move did not change my desire of wanting to do something worthwhile for society. I have always been interested in nutrition and its role in health, so the challenge of reformulating confectionary to improve its nutritional profile was of particular interest to me. My love of chocolate made it an easy decision to first take on the challenge of reformulating milk chocolate.

Dr Suzanne Graham – Co-Founder and Operations Manager

After completing her PhD in Immunology, Suzanne moved away from academic research to pursue project management positions within the health and care sector. For the last 9 years Suzanne has worked for NHS Education for Scotland and is responsible for leading and driving the internal improvement agenda. Suzanne still works for the NHS and supports Rebel Chocolate in her free time.

Stage

We moved from the home kitchen into a small workshop in February 2017, and then into a larger unit in August 2018. We have been trading for just over a year and a half and our sales model is 1) direct through our website and attending events, and 2) trade via retail stockists. Our chocolate is now stocked in retail stores in Scotland, Wales and England.

We are currently exploring funding opportunities and our 12-month goal is to establish a factory allowing a significant increase in production. This will allow us to increase sales within the UK and pursue export routes.
We won the 2018 Scottish SME Business Innovation awards and were finalists in the Healthy Choice category of the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards.

Challenges

You don’t know what you don’t know! I believe this is the biggest challenge we face. If we knew what we know now when we started, then things may have been a bit different. But that’s all part of the learning journey.

There are of course the usual challenges of not having enough money and the fact that there are not enough hours in the week – unfortunately we have not yet found a solution for this.

There is a lot of help and support available to start-up companies in the UK, and we believe it is important to seek these out. People are most often very generous with their time and sharing knowledge, so surrounding yourself in like-minded and supportive people is essential to survival!

Advice for other start-ups

Be tenacious and don’t take rejection personally – you can’t win them all. There is a lot of support available for starting a business so talk to lots of people and seek out that support.

About Neil Robson

CEO & Co-Founder, Rebel Chocolate

In May 2016, I decided to make a significant career change and left academic biomedical research. The reasons for this were multifactorial but a major contributing factor was that I have a disability in the form of chronic back pain. This became an insurmountable hurdle for my progression in academia. Nevertheless, this career move did not change my desire of wanting to do something worthwhile for society. I have always been interested in nutrition and its role in health, so the challenge of reformulating confectionary to improve its nutritional profile was of particular interest to me. My love of chocolate made it an easy decision to first take on the challenge of reformulating milk chocolate.

Link Iconhttps://www.rebelchocolate.co.uk