Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More than Merely Snack Bars

Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate, please help me welcome Sandra Robins from NoGo Nutrition to our blog today. Sandra, thank you for agreeing to speak with us.

Sandra, would you tell us what NuGo Nutrition is and what your job is there?

NuGo Nutrition makes real dark chocolate coated protein bars for many lifestyles, including vegan, gluten-free, and diabetes. I have been working for NuGo for nearly six years as a social media specialist. 

NuGo makes "bar" products, I count eight different product lines. Are these protein bars, meal replacement bars, snack bars, how would you classify them?

Since all of our bars, except for NuGo Stronger, contain less than 200 calories, we classify them as snack bars, not meal replacement bars. 

Most of your bars use chocolate but some do not. Why did NuGo decide to use a lot of chocolate? Is it a response to consumer taste or part of NuGo's business philosophy?

From a tiny office in Pittsburgh where NuGo Nutrition started over 15 years ago to now a multi-acre complex in the Pittsburgh suburb of Oakmont, PA, NuGo bars are available nationally and internationally. Our game-changing moment came in 2005 when we first crafted a protein bar coated in REAL Dark Chocolate. 

REAL Dark Chocolate is made with cocoa butter, which has a lower melting point than body temperature. When consuming, the cocoa butter provides the smooth velvety texture as it separates from the non-fat cocoa solids releasing the luscious chocolate flavor. Other protein bars use chocolate-flavored palm kernel oil instead of natural cocoa butter, which is cheaper and easier to produce, but raises the melting point of chocolate above body temperature. When eating, the fake chocolate coating doesn’t melt in your mouth, causing an unpleasant waxy texture and too sweet taste. 

We recognize that NOT following common industry practices has elevated the cost of the bar. However, NuGo’s mission is to make the best-tasting, healthiest protein bar. As an independent food company, we do not and will not compromise our mission. 

One of NuGo Nutrition's current project is a petition to the FDA. Please tell us all about that.

We started a petition to create a FDA standard for dark chocolate. The FDA has not set a standard of identity for dark chocolate even though there are FDA standards for milk chocolate and white chocolate. Consumers are being deceived into thinking they are eating healthy dark chocolate, while actually consuming fake chocolate made from vegetable fats (usually palm kernel oil). Without a standard of identity, companies are more apt to mislabel a product ‘dark chocolate’ on the front of a package without using real dark chocolate ingredients! 

Let's get a bit more personal, if you don't mind, Sandra. Do you like chocolate? If so, what type of chocolate is your favorite?

Absolutely! I love the taste and health benefits of dark chocolate!

Out of all of NuGo's product lines and flavors, do you have a favorite or a few that you use yourself?

With so many delicious flavors, it is hard to choose just one favorite! I eat several gluten-free NuGo bars in the NuGo Dark and NuGo Slim line. I especially love NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip and NuGo Slim Chocolate Mint. 

Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Sandra. I look forward to revealing NuGo bars and the FDA petition at the end of this week in the months ahead.

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