Our sports bars are handcrafted in Belgium. We’re proud of this unique know-how. We started from scratch and fine-tuned product formats, flavors, ingredients and packaging based on feedback from our first customers. Our story is presented below.
The chocoroc sport, the chocolate bar from Wild&Run
Did you know? The 30g chocoroc sport bar is the result of a transformation: the recipe we use is inspired by that of the 60g square, called “chocoroc classique”. Many of you have magnificently renamed him ” chocoCROC ” : we love ! We’d like to tell you more about his background.
The classic chocoroc
Our activities kicked off in 2018 with a gourmet square in a 60g version. Prepared without baking, the square is made up of two layers: a raw base with dried fruit, and a dark chocolate coating obtained by tempering. Yes, we use the chocolatier’s technique to obtain that gourmet, crunchy layer under the tooth. The result is sublime: 60 grams of happiness and a super-regressive taste.
A recipe with an Uncle Sam flavour
But where does this idea come from? Our inspiration comes from the United States. Since summer 2014, we’ve been looking for ways to feed ourselves better. How to eat intelligently? The revelation came in 2015, during our trip to Colorado and New York. We’re amazed that in the land of the burger, intelligent eating can be the norm. Our preconceptions about this land of junk food take a hit. The click is immediate and obvious : common sense invites us to eat naturally, doesn’t it ?
The first productions
The first batches are produced in the family kitchen in Céroux, in compliance with all the requirements imposed by the AFSCA, the Belgian agency for food chain safety. This is a first opportunity to systematize production, with the help of professionals like the Smart Gastronomy Lab in Gembloux. It was a first step towards the professionalization of our activities, which we remember with great emotion.
To each his own
Then, to ensure impeccable quality, we entrusted our recipe to two professional bakers, Françoise Bernair in Genval and Marie Van Cangh of MApatisseRIE in Limal. These two kind-hearted women relieve us of the heavy responsibility of producing a professional, identical result every week. With the time now freed up, we’re concentrating on promoting our product to sportsmen and women.
Raw materials are one of our primary requirements. We don’t compromise on quality. The organic label remains an essential criterion. Anne-Christine is a bio-engineer by training : she verifies production methods with primary producers. Everything goes through : the production of ingredients with respect for plants and soil, the harvesting and storage of raw materials.
Then comes the freshness
Buying raw materials harvested within the year remains a challenge : these ” fresh ” ingredients contain the most nutrients – as you instinctively know, some vitamins and minerals naturally diminish over time, rather like in tomatoes or peas. This is precisely where we stand out from the competition : our bars are made from the freshest, least processed raw materials possible. Our ingredients are optimally stored, based on scientific studies in agronomy. And we release the stock required for each weekly production run. Bingo !
Local and European origin
We work with Belgian partners on a regular basis, but their low volumes mean that we can’t work on a year-round basis. We’re always on the lookout for local nuggets, especially walnuts and hazelnuts. If you need a good address…
Fairness and respect for the South
Climate change may one day enable us to produce Belgian dates, pistachios and raisins. In the meantime, we buy these raw materials at fair prices from producers in the South. We go through agricultural cooperatives that facilitate customs procedures to enter the European Commission.
We aim for zero waste in production. We produce just the right amount : we have no overproduction. We have virtually no waste. Paper and cardboard are recycled. And then there’s the plastic packaging of certain raw materials, which also contributes to maintaining ingredient quality, but over which we have very little influence.
We’ve already achieved this for the production of chocorocs : the packaging is environmentally-friendly and compostable in the garden – the ultimate in eco-friendliness.
Transporting raw materials also remains a challenge, which we can’t solve on our own scale for the time being, because we’re dependent on the upstream chain. But we’re already thinking about it, when we become bigger players.
Field-tested and approved
The original square, your ChocoCROC, has been field-tested and abused by two experts: our Ambassador Xavier Massart on the BikingMan Corsica (the ultra-cycling equivalent of the Ironman). Blogger Youri Catinus(Trail Hysteria) took him along the coastal paths of the Belle-Ile-en-Mer trail. Their feedback is identical: ultra-efficient and very well tolerated in the field.
The only snag: the packaging. The square is packaged in the Japanese style : a simple piece of toast paper closed with an elastic band. No glue, no excess. But let’s face it : this packaging is insufficient for ultra formats. I had tested it in all weathers during my outings, which are far from being extended formats. That’s why we suggest you take our squares along with eco-friendly solutions such as waxed sheets or fabric packaging.
Bar or square format?
More and more of you were also asking for the bar format. At first, we were rather reluctant. Why should we be like the competition? We’re unique ! That’s precisely where our difference lies. Mmmmh mmmh… We had to face the facts: the bar format is quite practical. The bar can be portioned into small pieces with the fingers.
Reinventing recipes and production
Either. We love a challenge, so we’re giving this version a try. We’re thinking about creating this bar, based on the recipe for carré. Two months will be needed to adapt the recipe (how to integrate liquid chocolate into the dried fruit mass?), check the technical aspects (the bar must be rigid and supple in the mouth, and not break), and guarantee the delicious taste and energy content…
Selection of ingredients
We don’t buy ingredients from just any supplier. Since 2018, we’ve been sourcing raw materials, which means that we scrupulously identify and select partners upstream.
There’s pistachio and pistachio
As you can imagine : a pistachio is not a pistachio. There’s the provenance, the blends, the size of the seed, its variety, its freshness. And then there’s the method of production, the respect and love the producer shows for his crop, the way it’s harvested and stored, whether or not preservatives are added… All this makes a pistachio a different pistachio…
We check everything
As a bio-engineer, Anne-Christine checks these aspects beforehand, and makes sure that the batch is from the latest harvest, so that it contains the precious nutrients you need for sport. These ingredients are accompanied by nutritional and microbiological analyses that meet our strict criteria.
The definition of “short circuit” is sometimes disputed, but we can assure you : the fact that we order directly from agricultural cooperatives means we can say we work in a short circuit : we have no other intermediaries in the food chain. Even if they are located outside Belgium…
Storage of small quantities
To ensure the freshness of our raw materials, our strategy is to buy small batches, so that we can always keep up with the seasonal nature of our ingredients. Did you know ? Pistachios are harvested every two years in September in the Mediterranean. Hazelnuts and walnut kernels are harvested between October and November in Europe, and date paste is made in December in the Middle East. We keep these harvests in stock to ensure production for one year at the most.
Tolerance testing and digestion
Since 60% of ultra-runners have digestive problems, we worked on the recipe to make it as tolerable as possible. It’s too bad that the energy we offer you is not digested by your body.
First, there’s the chewiness : we want our bars to melt in your mouth effortlessly, possibly with a little water when the mouth is too dry. We worked on the palatability of the bar, i.e. its texture. This one is compact, but not too compact. The result is : the bar breaks easily between the fingers, and you can choose to feed in tiny pieces.
A clean-label product
Secondly, we work with ingredients that are as unprocessed as possible : no preservatives, additives or artificial flavoring. No unnecessary added sugars. Nor puffed products. We track down the main allergens and try to work with as little gluten and lactose as possible : no cereals, no milk. Traces are possible, but if so, these are indicated on the label.
The bar is a bit like a chocolate bar, but with more energy content (mixed dried fruit). The pieces in the mouth warm up and literally melt. It’s a real pleasure, because the taste is comforting. It’s a chocolate bar ” plus plus “…
Rising Belgian trail star Géraldine Cornet has won the women’s trophy for the 2019 Dernier Homme Debout (78 kilometers). Guess what she had with her ??
We’re obviously proud that our bars were able to support her in this victory, and Géraldine isn’t the only one to come back to us : the testimonials of efficiency are numerous, our mission is accomplished.
A range with several flavors
The first candied orange-chocolate flavor will soon be complemented by other flavors : in December 2018, we’re marrying the same 72% min dark chocolate. in cocoa with Madagascar pink berry, a faux-pepper that adds a subtle touch of pep. In early 2020, we’re launching two new flavors with cocoa : hemp protein, with a delicious nutty taste, and caraway seed with a hint of salt. And at the end of 2020, the fifth flavor is in place, after a demanding sourcing process : we offer spirulina mixed with white chocolate made in Belgium.
Ecological, compostable packaging
The final concern is packaging. How are we going to package our 30-gram bars in compliance with our environmental charter ? The search for packaging took a long time. We finally found it. Since the bar is pretty, we’re happy to unveil it !
Keep calm and carry on
So we set out to find THE packaging of our dreams, with non-negotiable requirements: environmentally friendly, sustainable and compostable in the garden. We looked in Belgium, then in cross-border countries, in Europe, in Israel, and finally we found our happiness in the UK (before Brexit had its way..). Yes we did it!
Our current case is of natural origin : it’s made from corn and potato cellulose. It can be composted in the garden : it’s the ultimate in compostability : in 6 months, phew, it disappears into your compost heap ! This case is certified compostable.