How it started - the Push Chocolate Journey
Hi, I'm Ant and I am a chocoholic. I'm the founder of Push Chocolate. We produce vegan chocolate buttons that are higher in protein and lower in sugar than other vegan chocolate brands. All our chocolate buttons are dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free and best of all? They taste great!
I’ve loved chocolate ever since I was a kid and my passion has only grown with me. But how do you go from being a chocolate enthusiast to running a chocolate empire?
For that, you’ll have to time travel back to 2014. I was working in a demanding role and my heart wasn’t in. My mental health took a bit of a dip and I decided I wanted to strike out on my own. Now, I’m not a natural entrepreneur. I mean, this is the lad who opted out of the class on entrepreneurship at university.
But what to do? I was at a vending machine getting my usual 3pm fix of cheap chocolate required to make it through the afternoon when the idea came to me: make better tasting, healthy chocolate.
I was just getting to grips with nutrition, after accidentally underfueling myself training for a half marathon. Back in the gym lifting weights and eating more protein, I was amazed at how much better I felt. But getting enough protein in during the busy day was proving hard. I tried lots of different protein bars and found them underwhelming. They tasted artificial, had an obscene list of ingredients and gave my jaw more of a workout than the squat rack gave my glutes in the gym!
I thought there must be another way.
One day I was making some chocolate from scratch while drinking a vegan protein shake and noticed the shake had quite a neutral flavour.
I realised I could get my chocolate fix and my protein fix at the same time so I mixed some of the vegan protein into the chocolate and voila! The first prototype was born!
(And when I say the first prototype, I really mean it. It was awful. I used just rice protein for the protein and the chocolate was chalkier than the White Cliffs of Dover. But it was a start.)
So, at Push HQ (where I have to pull open the door to get in) I popped my chef’s hat on and set about making the best, healthiest chocolate I could. I stuck to natural ingredients and changed the quantities to get the right taste and nutritional profile. Then I found a factory to manufacture the chocolate in an allergen-free site.
I debuted Push Chocolate with my lovely assistants at Food Matters Live 2017 and provided samples to people (free chocolate is an easy sell) to get feedback. After that, I continued tweaking the recipe and getting feedback for a while.
I was working full time the whole time, and then finally in 2018, the online store opened. I also traded at Stylist Live, Balance and at Borough Market and the feedback was brilliant. A bad bout of glandular fever saw me take a sabbatical from full-time work and move back home to Cornwall from London.
For the last year I’ve been focused on growth. I raised money from my local growth hub and the University of Exeter (where I did my Post Grad Masters) to create a new low sugar version of the chocolate and revamp the packaging.
And that brings you up to date! If you do order, I hope you enjoy the chocolate. If you have any questions, suggestions, comments etc. please email me firstname.lastname@example.org, there’s nothing I like more than hearing from fellow chocoholics.