Lindt choc using Planet A Foods web

Planet A partnered with Lindt to produce a limited-edition vegan chocolate bar for Veganuary

Food tech startup Planet A Foods has secured $15.4m (£12.2m) to power the expansion of its sustainable cocoa-free chocolate into the UK and other international markets.

The Series A funding will also be used to extend the German group’s fermentation platform from cocoa to other plant-based ingredients.

Planet A’s process currently uses proprietary technologies to ferment all-natural ingredients, including oats and sunflower seeds, to create its ChoViva brand – a cocoa mass and cocoa butter with “melt-in-the-mouth texture and full-bodied chocolate flavour”.

Twins Max and Sara Marquart launched Planet A in 2021 in a bid to deliver a sustainable and more affordable alternative to cocoa.

The business said the product, which contains up to 30% less sugar and produces 90% less CO2 emissions per kilo than regular chocolate, can be used as a hybrid with conventional chocolate or as a full replacement.

Part of the funding has been used to scale production at its factory, which can now produce 750kg of ChoViva an hour.

Lindt partnered with Planet A last month, using ChoViva in a limited-edition vegan chocolate bar launched in Germany for Veganuary.

The business has also launched several products with German retailer Rewe and is preparing for further launches in 2024, including with UK chains.

Climate venture fund World Fund led the Series A round, with participation from Omnes Capital, Cherry Ventures, Mudcake, Nucleus Capital, TriplePoint Capital, Feast Ventures and others.

“In the future, chocolate will become more expensive than caviar unless new steps are taken,” said co-founder and CEO Max Marquart.

“We are working every day to be part of the solution with ChoViva, through building a second pillar next to chocolate to take some load off the cocoa supply chain.

“This Series A round has already enabled us to deliver large-scale production and continuously supply our customers with ChoViva. We have become a reliable, trusted industry partner for the German confectionery industry, and demonstrated that we can deliver at price parity with traditional chocolate providers. Now we are gearing up for our international expansion in 2024 and are looking for the next Willy Wonkas to help us scale and enter new markets.”