Undercover Quinoa

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There’s a healthy new chocolate snack in town

The Levy family operates booth at Fancy Food Show (Photos courtesy of Undercover Chocolate)

Diana Levy considers herself a “health conscious chocoholic.” As the founder of Undercover Chocolate Co., a brand that carefully sources all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free ingredients and fair-trade chocolate, Levy is all about creating delicious and healthy snacks using everyone’s favorite ingredient: quinoa.

The perfect crispy chocolate snack, Undercover Quinoa comes in a variety of flavors, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate and blueberries, dark chocolate and sea salt, dark chocolate and currants and dark chocolate and seeds.

But is it really as irresistible as it sounds? The answer: Yes.

Tell me about yourself and Undercover Chocolate Co.

Prior to having children, I worked in Public Relations and had a short stint as an options trader. I then was a stay at home mom for many years with my three daughters and when they got older, I started a small chocolate business where I made chocolate covered treats for events like weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I sold some treats in smaller retail and online outlets.

Would you say it’s a family business?

While my husband still runs his merchant banking firm, Octagon Capital Group, he is also chairman of Undercover and is involved with everything from setting up our computer systems to sales. My three daughters, now ages 20, 17 and 17 are also big fans of Undercover and contribute as Brand Ambassadors and help create content for our social media platforms.

This seems like it shouldn’t be a question, but why chocolate?

I’ve always loved (and have been obsessed with) chocolate. Initially the chocolate company seemed like a good way to have my own small business in an area where my husband also had experience, having helped advise several larger chocolate companies financially.

How did you come up with this guilt-free, gluten-free snack?

After a few years in business, I realized that even though I loved chocolate, what I really craved and wanted to offer my family, was a healthier, lighter chocolate snack that used the same high-quality chocolate —but much less of it—over natural healthy ingredients. I spent many months experimenting with every ingredient I could think of and wrote out recipes for myself every day for months. As I was experimenting, two of my daughters were diagnosed with celiac disease, and it became incredibly important that whatever snack I came up with was also gluten-free and made in a gluten-free facility.

I know quinoa is having a moment and has been popular for a few years now. Why choose that grain?

My older daughter, Arielle, claims it was all her idea. She came home a few years ago raving about the nutritional qualities of quinoa and how delicious it is in salads and as a side dish. I tried every grain I could get my hands on and for whatever reason, Quinoa just tasted the best, is gluten-free and also an incredible natural source of protein, fiber and nutrients.

Your product is available at Whole Foods, Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond. Where else can we get our hands on Undercover Quinoa?

We are in the Northeast and Southwest regions of Whole Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond Gourmet Markets, CIBO Gourmets (in airports), Fairway Marke

t, Kings, Balducci’s, Zabars and more than 200 other specialty food stores and college campuses on the east coast. We also sell Undercover on our website www.UndercoverQuinoa.com and on Amazon.

How have you been marketing yourself to garner attention for your products?

Our main source of marketing has been through in-store demos. We noticed right away that as soon as people try Undercover Quinoa they are shocked by how delicious it is, become huge fans, post about it on social media and persuade their friends and family to try it as well. There are some people who are initially skeptical of eating chocolate with quinoa—but once they taste it they realize it tastes like a more delicious, healthier version of a crunch bar or rice crispy treat and become obsessed.

Do you have any upcoming products that you can share?

We’ve had lots of requests for both single serving sizes and larger bags. In the next few months we will start selling a single serve “cookie” version that I think will be a huge hit. We will also continue to offer new flavors on a regular basis and have been working on some other snacks that are based on using healthy ingredients “undercover.”

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