Healthy Chocolate® – The chococeutical way of life®

Determination and Perseverance. These are the two words that most accurately represent the guest and company on this episode of Ditch The Box – Guy Lopez and Healthy Chocolate Florida, LLC.4NOGUILT

A specialty nutrition, chocolate and chocolate based nutritional supplements company, Healthy Chocolate Florida, LLC offers its 4NOGUILT® brand and multiple product lines as well as Private Labels.  What sets them apart from other chocolate companies? Guy offers a novelty, proprietary, patent pending chocolate manufacturing process that uses birch wood Xylitol as its sole sweetener as well as in-house product development capabilities.

The Healthy Chocolate® concept was inspired by two of the co-founders of the company. One co-founder was a bone cancer survivor and had to take tons of supplements to keep his system in check. The other co-founder/co-author of patent pending process was diabetic. Together with a means to provide kids their daily vitamins, they both though, how can we make it more gentle for people fighting cancer to keep building their immune systems? What sweetener alternative can we use for diabetics? How to we make kids to take their vitamins every day? The answer was Xylitol. Xylitol is the exclusive sweetener in their unique chocolate couverture/platform that becomes a “delivery system” for supplements, nutrients, and vitamins.

The 4NoGuilt® Brand includes both the food line and the chocolate-based supplement brand. The food line, Naked Nature®, CHOCOBiotics® , are the definition of clean, conscious eating. Simple ingredients and a minimized manufacturing process make up their current and future products.

Listen above for the incredible story on Guy’s adventurous start to The Healthy Chocolate® company. From his escape from Cuba to seeking entrepreneurial freedom in America, his story is one of inspiration, determination, and perseverance that everyone will benefit from hearing.

Pioneering Prunes – Sunsweet

On this episode of Ditch The Box we welcome  special guest Jeff McLemore of Sunsweet Growers Inc. Sunsweet is the world’s largest handler of dried fruits including prunes, apricots, mangos, and more.

Representing more than one-third of the prune market worldwide, Sunsweet processes nearly 70,000 tons of prunes a year! Not only have Jeff and Sunsweet mastered the art of making prunes more palatable, they’ve done it so well that Sunsweet is coming up on their 100 year anniversary. What a milestone!Sunsweet GrowersSo how does a company stay relevant and successful for so long? Jeff dishes on some of Sunsweet’s successful strategies. First of all, Jeff explains the importance of “mining information” (including performance, trends, and key insights) and utilizing the data points to efficiently push the company forward. His experience with data driven results goes back to the time he spent at Kroger.

Jeff was then drawn to the brand/product side of things and he found his home at Sunsweet. He is driven by his interest in advertising innovation, packaging, and buying patterns and their influencing factors. Jeff stress the importance of finding the right company culture to suit your personality.  Sunsweet is employee friendly , open to new ideas, and ever changing.

Sunsweet Prunes

PRUNES. What a challenging market to overcome. Sunsweet took something that has traditionally had this sort of unpopular stigma and made people want to buy in.  Jeff’s advice: “Do a lot of research, learn about the consumer, and look for the consumer that has the right mindset – that is looking for what we stand for.”  Once you find that right customer, being innovative, trying new things, and keeping a fresh look are keys to sticking around for the long haul.

Listen to the full podcast to discover how Sunsweet’s biggest innovation in the last 10 years, “ONES” – Individually wrapped prunes,  has helped lock in Sunsweet’s spot on retail shelves for another 100 years to come!