When great ingredients land on the right person hand. Let's talk about chocolate with Kristina, founder of Raw Integrity Chocolates.

Environment Interview Melbourne

Is chocolate one of your go to snacks? We get how irresistibly yummy they are. It’s a snack that goes with all occasions. For a romantic date or a family gathering. We think chocolate is the best company for a heartwarming film by yourself.

We are blessed to have crossed path with the beautiful soul - Kristina, founder of Raw Integrity Chocolates. Like us, she also loves a heartwarming film (Have you seen the movie Click? It gets us teary, EVERY TIME!). Not only that, she is also passionate about making a positive change to your health and the planet.

Raw Integrity Chocolates is healthy, delicious and impactful. Imagine helping the community just by eating chocolates! Actually, no need to imagine. 10% of the RIC’s profit goes to local charities and for good reasons (keep reading, she’ll explain!). It is a brand with a purpose.

Kristina is persistent and didn’t want to comprise consumers’ health and our environment for her own pocket. She knows that, it all starts with one person; and that person is her!

Kristina, tell us more about yourself. Why is integrity a big philosophy to the brand?

I have a background in natural medicine as a naturopath and a homeopath, which has lead me on this journey to develop a healthy chocolate brand!

Integrity is a very important part of RIC. It’s our promise to have a transparent business. We give back and work operate with the fair trade system. We produce health and quality chocolates whilst having a minimum impact on the environment.

Do you think being a naturopath has helped throughout your chocolate journey?

Absolutely! It is my love of health and healing that helped shape the initial recipes of our chocolates. I wanted to make chocolate a healthy consumption of an individual’s diet, rather than a ‘naughty’ treat.

Take our cacao nibs and vanilla with maca powder for example; they are great for hormone and nervous system health. Or our Berries Lover with antioxidant properties. Cinnamon chai that is warming and balances blood sugars. Let’s not forget about peppermint, a cooling ingredient with digestive properties. All of our flavours are designed for health!

Speaking of naturopathy; what would be your definition of a healthy lifestyle?

80/20 diet, no guilt. Tea, herbs, walking, emotional wellbeing and self-love and care.

Let’s talk chocolate. What do people misunderstand about chocolate and how can our body benefit from it?

In my interactions with our customers, I often hear “Oh no, I shouldn’t be having chocolate!”. There seems to be a guilt associated with consumption of chocolate.

Yes, chocolates with a lot of processed sugars, dairy milk, palm oil, emulsifiers and flavours are no good for us. However, there’s a difference. We use un-roasted cacao in our bars. It’s high in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc, plus an array of health benefits for the gut, heart and brain!

During our production process, the temperature does not exceed 46 degrees Celsius. This help preserving the nutrients of the cacao. Sugar is often 3rd or 4th on the list of ingredients, and we use organic coconut sugar, which is less refined and highly sustainable. Plus, our chocolates are high in good fats (cacao butter and coconut oil), free from dairy, gluten, soy and even nuts! I wanted to make them very allergy friendly. The ultimate goal was to create chocolates that are healthy AND great tasting.

Raw Integrity Chocolates (RIC) logo is one of a kind. What was your inspiration behind it?

It was May 2016 when I was sitting in a café with my friend Lucia. I wanted a logo to be eye catching, memorable and unique. We began to brainstorm for RIC. The initial idea was a little monkey, which evolved into a cacao pod. The process took 3 months with a wonderful illustrator Sarah from Popcorn Blue to get RIC to where it is today.

Share one of your favourite or most memorable stories with us since starting RIC.

The most memorable moment was our official launch in October 2016 at World Vegan Day. I had so much support from family, friends and the vegan community. It made me realise that there’s a real potential to scale my passion and love for chocolate into a profitable business. That dream is in the making, every day.

We love how you give back! The community thanks you. Tell us why you have chosen the four charities - The Orangutan Project, Save a Horse Australia, Sea Shepherd and One Voice. Will you expand your charity projects in the future?

Being a 100% vegan business with an environmental and cruelty free consciousness, I wanted to include animal charities which began in Australia. These organisations are small and have an environmental care aspect. The donations go straight to where they are needed and also contribute to the educational component.

One Voice is our only human charity at this stage. They are doing a wonderful job proving laundry and shower facilities for homeless individuals. I hope to add more human charities in the future.

How do you think people can help their community or even help the world (other than supporting local businesses)?

I am very passionate about reducing our carbon footprint, including plastics and waste. Take away cups have a huge negative impact on the environment. I always encourage people to carry their own reusable coffee cups. I have been, since 2015! If I ever forget (only on a very rare occasion), I choose not to buy take away that day.

Anne Marie Bonneau sums it up perfectly...

“We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

What is your favourite way to indulge RIC?

Sharing it with family and friends over a hot cup of green, Oolong or herbal tea.

Lastly, what can people always find in your fridge or pantry (you can’t say chocolate!)?

Fresh and fermented cabbage. Love it so much, and it’s a super good for your gut and immune system!

It is important to us to collaborate with the right people. We too, like Kristina want to stay true to our philosophies. It was a blessing when we found RIC! We instantly fell in love with its beliefs and its contributions to the community.

When you thought you knew everything about chocolates, there’s Raw Integrity Chocolates! Showing you that there’re other aspects of health. Whether it be the amount of exercise you do; or the chocolates you consume. All we know is that RIC is here to remind you that it all starts with one.

As the writer Ron Hall once said…

“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.”

Be kind to yourself today. Together with Babylon Grey and RIC, you’ll be giving your skin yummy natural foods, whilst giving your body healthy snacks!

If Kristina’s story has encouraged you; share it with your mates.
If RIC’s vision has inspired you to intake healthier food choices, follow her. Or perhaps, buy some yourself now!

Stay tuned on our social or sign up to our newsletter for more aspiring stories at Babylon Grey.

Buy some yummy skin foods now. 

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