The LeanBox team recently invited founder of FlavaNaturals, Alan Frost of Marblehead, MA, to our Mass Ave mansion to talk all things cocoa flavanols and learn about his game changing vision for an indulgent dark chocolate bar with 5x the cocoa flavanol antioxidants. FlavaBars are now featured in LeanBoxes everywhere and are perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up!
If you’re wondering what are cocoa flavanols exactly, you are not alone!
Cocoa Flavanols: “Flavanols are plant-based antioxidants found naturally in tea, blueberries, red wine, apples and cocoa. Cocoa flavanols are a highly unique blend of phytonutrients that can only be found in the cocoa bean and, when proper care is taken, are present in both chocolate and cocoa. Scientific research has demonstrated that Cocoa flavanols support healthy circulation and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen from head to toe.”
We’ll take you behind the scenes of how Alan got started and what makes the magic happen.
How did Flava Naturals get started?
After 20+ years in Biotech, the company Alan worked for was acquired and he found himself searching for his next opportunity. One day his wife brought him an article from NY times highlighting the benefits of eating chocolate. Armed with this article and a love for chocolate, Alan dove into his own research and learned that cocoa flavanols also support heart health, skin wellness, and exercise performance. But there was a catch – to reap these benefits required eating about 5 or more standard dark chocolate bars a day!
This begged the question, how do you get enough flavanols into one chocolate bar to achieve the correct amount of flavanoids that provide increased flexibility of your arteries i.e. great circulation?
“If we could figure out a way to naturally reach the beneficial levels of cocoa flavanols in a single, great tasting chocolate bar, I thought the concept had great appeal”, said Alan. As a person who’s all about eating real, natural food to stay healthy and fuel performance, he was not interested in developing a pill or medicine.
It took Alan about 3 years to prefect his FlavaBars in a completely natural way that tastes amazing.
So what’s the secret?
It all comes down to the cocoa beans that are processed in the right way. Hunting down the right beans turns out to be the most difficult part of the entire process, says Alan. You need to find the right bean that is super high in cocoa flavanol antioxidants which can be tricky. All beans have different levels and they can vary depending on many factors such as strain, soil, climate, and farming techniques. FlavaNaturals measures each batch of beans for flavanol levels which can change from season to season. Too much rain can reduce flavanol levels, kind of like wine.
But perfecting the process was equally important. Flavanols are easily destroyed by high temperatures and by alkalization, a chemical process frequently used in chocolate production. Alan’s trick is to roast the beans at lower temperatures for a longer period of time, which preserves the antioxidants, and also gives the chocolate a premium flavor. And, of course, FlavaBars are produced naturally – there’s no alkalization!
What sets FlavaNaturals and FlavaBars apart from other chocolate?
According to Alan, it’s a combo of unique, delicious flavors and our super high levels of cocoa flavanol antioxidants. All studies you see about using chocolate or cocoa for benefits indicate you need 500mg to 1000mg of flavanols daily to see benefits. The average dark chocolate bar, even the most premium brand, only has about 100mg of cocoa flavanols. Each FlavaBar has 500mg of flavanols which gets you up to the range that you need to see results.
FlavaNaturals also offers an unsweetened cocoa powder called FlavaMix which is great in coffee or smoothies for people that don’t want any sugar. The powder is also favored by professional cyclist Skylar Schneider.
What brands does Flava admire?
Chobani – This yogurt brand changed the game of a very saturated food category. They took a product that everyone knew and gave it a new spin, giving yogurt a new benefit – more protein, less sugar.
Partnership with LeanBox
“I like to think of food as fuel and LeanBox provides the healthy and nutritious food that allows people to perform at their best while they’re at work. We’re a great compliment to the current portfolio, we provide a better for you snack that gives people the cognitive and energy boost when they need it. Whether its at 3 o’clock or before an important meeting or just when they’re hungry.”
It’s all the about the flavors right now for Alan, he’s currently working on a new cherry pistachio flavor. Further down the line he envisions his team looking at different ways to deliver flavanols such as beverages or nutritional bars.
We’re certainly hungry for what comes next here at LeanBox! For more information about Flava Naturals you can visit their website or pick up a FlavaBar in your LeanBox today.