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QOA - the sustainable alternative to cocoa-based chocolate

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by Startacus Admin


The lowdown on Munich-based startup QOA and its innovative solutions to address the issues caused by the mass production of cocoa.

QOA-Chocolate-BarChocolate is good. Chocolate, it could be argued, is life. Without chocolate, what would the point even be? Unfortunately, despite the low environmental impact that cocoa production has the potential to have, in reality, it is doing significant damage. From deforestation steadily rising, to unhealthy agricultural processes, to flooding the area with chemicals, the rise in demand for chocolate is resulting in a constant rise in environmental damage. On top of this, there is the child labour and outright slavery involved in parts of the world where the cocoa is produced.

QOA-Icon-green-background-Munich-based startup QOA is developing alternatives to chocolate, circumventing the environmental damage caused by cocoa production by not using it, but instead using byproducts of the food industry. The startup takes these byproducts - from cereal production, for example - ferments them with microorganisms specially for this purpose, and then roasts them. The chocolatey flavour and texture comes from proprietary micro-bacteria and flavour formation processes. QOA says that their chocolate alternative is not only the world’s first 0% cocoa alternative, but is 10 times more sustainable than traditional chocolate.

Currently, QOA is not widely available, and applications for the free test kits they put out are now closed, but those test kits went down well and the startup is working on the next. Founded by doctors Sara Marquart and Maximilian Marquart - food chemist and renowned specialist in flavour formation, and material scientist respectively - it sounds like the future of chocolate alternatives is in good hands with this startup.

In June QOA announced that it had raised a huge $6 million funding in a seed round led by European seed-stage venture firm Cherry Ventures, with participation from Fifty years, World Fund, Nucleus Capital, Trellis Road, Pioneer Fund, and Tet Ventures, among others. Not bad for less than a year in business. We look forward to seeing (read: tasting) what $6 million does for the next product!



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Published on: 8th July 2022

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