Mon | May 27, 2024

Tara Shoucair creates vegan chocolate For Goodness Graze

Published:Thursday | March 21, 2024 | 12:09 AMShanel Lemmie/Staff Reporter
For Goodness Graze is Shoucair’s solution for people who want to indulge in a chocolatey delight, without sacrificing their diet.
For Goodness Graze is Shoucair’s solution for people who want to indulge in a chocolatey delight, without sacrificing their diet.
For Goodness Graze Chocolate is available at 19 locations islandwide.
For Goodness Graze Chocolate is available at 19 locations islandwide.
For Goodness Graze Chief Executive Officer Tara Shoucair poses with her creation, the For Goodness Graze Dark Chocolate.
For Goodness Graze Chief Executive Officer Tara Shoucair poses with her creation, the For Goodness Graze Dark Chocolate.
For Goodness Graze is made from Jamiacan cocoa with a monk fruit sweetener.
For Goodness Graze is made from Jamiacan cocoa with a monk fruit sweetener.
For Goodness Graze Dark Chocolate.
For Goodness Graze Dark Chocolate.
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Jamaica is often referred to as a gastronomic hub, lauded for not only our innovative cuisine but also the natural ingredients that make such innovations possible. Hoping to highlight a product that she believes has gone unrecognised for far too long, Tara Shoucair is calling for Jamaicans to pay attention to our cocoa plant.

Shoucair, 35, is a media veteran who has always had a hand in cultural industries. Through her role as managing editor at Kuya Magazine, a local luxury real estate publication, Shoucair has kept her finger on the pulse of culture from a property standpoint. In July 2023, she decided to use her eye for luxury to create a sweet treat that also excludes the surfeiting sugars, and For Goodness Graze Vegan Chocolate was born.

“I call it the bar with benefits. My tagline is ‘Kicking the sugar but keeping the craving’, so it’s a bar that is enjoyable for everyone, not just for one person but for every person. Kids like it, adults like it and why I chose 70 per cent is because it hits that sweet spot where its not turning certain people off because you know Jamaicans don’t really love butter chocolate. It’s like that sweet spot between that mid-area where it’s not too bitter and it’s not too sweet but it’s just perfectly aligned with taste buds for anyone,” she explained.

Pulling on her own experiences she told Food, For Goodness Graze is meant to create a healthier alternative for people who don’t want to deprive themselves of the sweeter side of life.

“Because I have had really bad gut issues and stuff from disordered eating, I started having to explore different options of things that I wanted to cut down or cut out of my diet like gluten, etc.,” she began. “So that’s why I kind of leaned towards not doing too much sugar. It’s not something that we typically push in the Caribbean, although it’s gaining a lot more popularity, which I’m glad to see.”

Priced at $1,200 to $1,500 Jamaican dollars, For Goodness Graze claims to be diabetic friendly, while having no added sugars, no genetically modified organisms, no gluten and is vegan. Aiding the cocoa plant, Shoucair has employed monk fruit as a sweetener.

“Rather than just creating a bar and using cane sugar like other bars on the market, I wanted to use something that I think would benefit people overall in terms of their taste buds, as well as their health.”

She continued, “With my bar, it doesn’t have an impact on your glucose level. The sugar is being replaced by monk fruit, and monk fruit is a fruit originating from out of Southeast Asia and it’s gaining more popularity because of the fact that it has been shown not to cause a spike in glucose.”

Available at 19 retailers islandwide, Shoucair says this brand is an opportunity for Jamaicans to invest in ourselves.

“I feel like we need to start really investing and looking into what we can offer people overseas. We don’t capitalise on the resources that we have locally enough and I think that’s something we need to start pushing. We pay a lot of focus and attention on our rum, we pay a lot of focus and attention to our coffee but we don’t pay enough focus and attention to our cocoa, which I think could have huge export potential for Jamaica.”

“We have a lot of tourism as well. Can you imagine if we had a tour centred around cocoa farming and all that stuff. It’s just so many different ways that we can elevate the things that we have locally, we just keep tripping over the same stone in Jamaica.”

Counting her first seven months as a success, Shoucair told Food, “A year from now I would like to be at the stage where I have been able to export, and I want to be able to gain the support from our Jamaican people who do have the ability to make that happen, like Jamaica Tourism Board, Tourism Enhancement Fund, just other investors that see the potential in it and are willing to fund that call and that need.”

shanel.lemmie@gleanerjm.com