Raw Halo produce a range of award winning raw chocolate bars that are free from dairy, gluten, and contain no refined sugar – they opt for a healthier coconut sugar to sweeten naturally.
Since launching in 2015, Raw Halo has developed their range to include 35g bars, and also new 70g sharing bars. Shortly after launching, founder Meg’s partner Jonathan joined the business to help her grow it to where they are today – with their delicious chocolate stocked in over 300 stores in 20 countries.
We speak to Raw Halo founder, Meg Haggar about her inspiration, favourite products and plans for the brand over the next 12 months.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to launch the brand?
My inspiration to launch the brand came around 2013 when I decided to give up refined sugars. This took a lot of willpower, as I’d recently also turned to a vegan diet, which meant no more of my absolute favourite treat – milk chocolate. When visiting my local stores in search of a healthier milk chocolate alternative, I was soon disappointed. After learning how to make chocolate and treating my friends and family to batch after batch of homemade chocolates, I soon decided to start selling my bars locally and, well the rest is history!
Launching your own brand is full of challenges – what lessons did you learn and what advice can you offer to anyone wanting to start their own business?
I’ve learned so much since launching. The majority of challenges in the first couple of years of the business were around production, in that scaling from a few hundred bars to 20,000 per month was a huge challenge. I quickly learned that the business would require serious investment to realise my growth targets. My main piece of advice to future entrepreneurs, would be to dedicate enough time in researching your market and your potential competitors. The key is to ensure you launch a product which has a point of difference and an audience ready to purchase.
Who are your products designed for?
Whilst our core customers are generally young females, we also see our chocolate being enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Our products are really inclusive and we see customers who just really love good quality chocolate, and others looking for something more specific that ticks the boxes of raw, organic, dairy-free, or gluten free.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Raw Halo is unique in that our raw chocolate is smoother than average raw chocolate. Our chocolate has the snap and shine of a traditional quality chocolate. We find many of our customers are pleasantly surprised by our quality, especially those who have tried low quality, grainy raw chocolate in the past. It’s been really great to receive validation of our quality in receiving 3 Great Taste Awards recently.
What’s your favourite flavour in your range and why?
My favourite go-to bar is Pure Dark. I just really love the fruitiness of our 76% Peruvian cacao. To be honest, it’s very easy to eat a couple of bars whilst working through the day!
Talk us through your typical day.
I generally wake up at 7ish for 30 minutes of Yoga. I’m really lucky that most days I work from home – so this gives me much more time in my day, rather than my days of commuting 2 hours to an office. A quick shower, and time for bowl of organic porridge with my favourite almond butter and a square of Raw Halo dark chocolate. My working day can look very different, depending on whatever is the focus at that time. I generally try to juggle my inbox and any priorities – which could be anything from sales, marketing, or new product development.
Do you have any healthy lifestyle tips for us?
Being healthy definitely shouldn’t be about deprivation. I generally try to switch out the unhealthier foods for healthier versions. So think raw chocolate instead of traditional chocolate, fruit and nut energy balls instead of biscuits, apple with almond butter instead of crisps – you get the idea. There’s so many delicious healthier options nowadays, so it’s never been easier to make a positive change to your lifestyle.
What are your plans for the brand over the next 12 months?
The next 12 months look to be hugely exciting for the business. We’re launching into our first supermarket in the coming months, and we’re working hard to ensure more follow in the new year. We also plan on launching new products in 2018, so watch this space.
Interview with Gary Simmons from Ethical Kitchen. Subscription boxes filled with speciality coffee, premium chocolate and healthy snacks!