Reinventing chocolate macadamias with plant-forward flavours

Brigid Woolnough lets her chocolate do the talking. Best known for her Australian confectionery brand, KOKOPOD, Brigid’s handcrafted chocolates are a delicate blend of edible art and science, combining the highest quality European couverture chocolate with the best Australian-grown flavours.

Her newest plant-based chocolate brand NOMU NOMS is an exciting addition to the business. Described as “deliciously vegan plant-based chocolate for people and planet”, it’s a range that puts macadamias front and centre and showcases their ability to carry highly innovative and super indulgent flavour combinations.

Pushing flavour boundaries with macadamias

“NOMU NOMS is all about profiling the macadamia as the ultimate 3pm pick me up snack,” says Brigid. NOMU NOMS combines premium Australian grown macadamias with dairy-free (or ‘no moo’) chocolate in a range of uniquely exciting flavours, including Raspberry & Beetroot, Strawberry & Balsamic, Coconut White Chocolate, and Passionfruit White Chocolate. Traditional tastes are also catered for, with the Noir Dark Chocolate and Classic M*lk Chocolate variants.

While Brigid keeps her eye on flavour trends and notes what other chocolate manufacturers are doing, she was led by her own palate, and that of her customers, when developing the NOMU NOMS collection. She describes the process as “one big science experiment”, using trial and error to develop the perfect flavour combinations for the brand.

The NOMU NOMS range was extensively tested to determine which flavours combined best with macadamias. “NOMU NOMS was a big behind-the-scenes project that we did for nearly a year. We had a group of 100 consumers called ‘Project X’ and we would send them samples of all the different flavours we were trialling,” explains Brigid. 

The buttery base flavour of the macadamias can work with so many other tastes, so Brigid and her team had many potential combinations to work through. Matcha, chai and coffee were all ruled out by taste-testers, before the final six flavours for the range were decided. 

Driven by sustainability

The NOMU NOMS range is sold in a corn-based compostable packaging, that can break down in a home compost bin in just 26 weeks.

“Ethical choices are on trend,” says Brigid. “People care about the extra fill that’s used in the packaging when it’s being freighted, or they care about wanting to go with less packaging or more packaging, depending on whether it’s a gift or not. It’s great to be able to listen to our customers and serve those requests.”

Brigid’s desire to provide sustainable packaging options for ethically minded consumers was a key driver behind the development of the NOMU NOMS range. While on a quest to find a more sustainable alternative to the clear plastic jars that displayed KOKOPOD’s traditional chocolate macadamia products, Brigid started thinking about what products would suit the more sustainable packaging.

This led to the discover that plant-based chocolate behaves differently  – and in some ways more favourably – than dairy-based chocolate.  “Vegan chocolate has a longer shelf life and better sensitivity to heat than dairy-based chocolate,” explains Brigid. By making the NOMU NOMS range 100% vegan, Brigid has been able to embrace more innovative sustainable packaging solutions.   

Leveraging the Australian advantage

NOMU NOMS is based on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, an area that also houses the Glasshouse Mountains macadamia growing region. For Brigid, using Australian ingredients is a core part of NOMU NOMS offering.

“It goes without saying that we use locally grown macadamias in our products,” she says. “Our customers definitely expect us to use Australian grown – it’s synonymous with quality. If we used anything else, I would definitely have my door bashed down!”

Brigid and her team are currently focused on the domestic market, ensuring they can scale production to keep up with demand. But export opportunities are calling. “The longer shelf life of vegan chocolate makes it well suited to export, and macadamias are popular with consumers in many other markets. We’re definitely investigating options to take NOMU NOMS beyond Australia.”

Brigid Woolnough: Macadamia Change Maker

Brigid’s award-winning handcrafted chocolate brand KOKOPOD recently featured as part of our Macadamia Change Makers campaign. Take a look at the beautifully produced campaign video below.

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