Hu Chocolate originates from New York restaurant Hu Kitchen

Hu Chocolate originates from New York restaurant Hu Kitchen

Hu Chocolate, a US-based clean label manufacturer, has sold a ''strategic'' minority holding to venture capital fund Sonoma Brands as it seeks to expand in the market for healthier snacks.

The maker of organic and vegan chocolate has its origins in the paleo-inspired restaurant Hu Kitchen in New York. Its products contain no dairy, soy or emulsifiers, and are non-GMO and gluten-free. The company uses unrefined organic coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. 

Jason Karp is one of the co-founders of Hu Kitchen and Hu Products, along with his wife Jessica and brother-in-law Jordan Brown, and is also the chief executive and owner of investment fund Tourbillon Capital Partners.

Karp said: ''With the support of Sonoma Brands, along with several other highly-strategic investors, we will accelerate the conversation around the need for more vegan, paleo and unprocessed foods and bolster our platform as a mission-driven health and wellness business. 

"We look forward to what this relationship will help us accomplish as we move to advance our distribution and exposure in the coming months."

Hu Chocolate said it has also attracted investment from other "notable strategic investors" including Dr Mark Hyman, Tim Ferriss, Nelson Peltz, and Dr Peter Attia. The size of the stake and terms of the funding from Sonoma were not disclosed.

Sonoma is a food and beverage incubator fund led by Jon Sebastiani, the founder of the artisan brand Krave Jerky, which is now part of the Hershey portfolio.

Sebastiani added: "Providing unique experiences with 100% vegan products, Hu Chocolate is a true category disrupter in the vegan/paleo world, showcasing ingredient integrity and culinary influence that resonates deeply with our team.

"We believe that Hu will change brand standards across a variety of product verticals by delivering its rigorous ingredient integrity and transparency, and we're excited to be a part of that future and the Hu story."