Ross Chocolates, a longtime corporate partner of JDRF Canada is generously providing a matching gift in honour of National Diabetes Awareness Month. All donations made throughout November will be matched by Ross Chocolates, up to a maximum of $20,000.
JDRF Canada sent their CEO Stefano Urbani some questions regarding the inspiration behind their support of the diabetes community and commitment to diabetes research.
JDRF Canada: Tell us a little bit about the history of Ross Chocolates.
In 1995, Bob Ross, the founder of Ross Chocolates and a devoted chocolate enthusiast, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Despite the dietary restrictions imposed by his condition, Bob was determined to continue to enjoy eating chocolate.
At that time, the availability of no sugar added chocolate (sugar-free) was scarce, so many people with diabetes ate chocolate made with carob rather than cocoa. Carob chocolate lacks the smoothness, depth, and unique flavour of cocoa chocolate. Bob decided to create his own cocoa chocolate sweetened without sugar to feed his need for that real chocolate taste and embarked on a mission to craft high-quality chocolate without any added sugars.
Starting in his kitchen, Bob meticulously experimented with combinations of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and diabetes-safe sweeteners to create high-quality, tasty, diabetes-friendly milk and dark chocolate. By 1998, Ross Chocolates was offering consumers their No Sugar Added Chocolate bars, catering to people with diabetes and those seeking to eliminate sugar from their diet.
The popularity of Ross Chocolates surged, with millions of bars sold across North America, Europe, and other continents.
Today, Ross Chocolates remains committed to crafting the exceptional chocolate that Bob Ross pioneered. Staying true to their founder’s vision, Ross Chocolates continues to innovate and develop new No Sugar Added chocolate treats for those looking to eliminate or reduce their sugar consumption. In 2022, a research study at the University of British Columbia determined that Ross No Sugar Added Dark Chocolate has no noticeable effect on blood sugar levels in those with any type of diabetes (https://rosschocolates.ca/ubc-study-results/)
JDRF Canada: What drove Ross Chocolates to make sugar-free chocolate safe for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Bob Ross’ story remains a driving force behind Ross Chocolates’ desire to provide people with diabetes safe alternatives to regular chocolate or sugar-free chocolate sweetened with alternatives that continue to minimally affect blood sugar levels. Our goal is focussed on creating the most delicious chocolate available that does not affect blood sugar levels at all (with our dark chocolate flavours) or as minimally as possible (with our milk chocolate flavours).
With heightened consumer awareness about diabetes and carbohydrate intakes, there is a growing market demand for high-quality, sugar-free (no sugar added) chocolate treats. Health and wellness trends are also leading many to Ross Chocolates as they seek alternatives to high-sugar options.
Ross stays at the forefront of both adhering to regulatory guidelines and utilizing technological advancements in alternative sweeteners as we create new products. Creating sugar-free chocolates using the latest research and availability of alternative sweeteners safe for people with diabetes to consume without requiring extra insulin is constantly occurring at Ross Chocolates. Ultimately, the food industry plays a pivotal role in promoting the well-being of individuals managing diabetes through the creation of safe and enjoyable sugar-free options.
JDRF Canada: What does your support of JDRF Canada mean to you as a company?
Ross Chocolates is committed to supporting diabetes research by donating a portion of every sale to organizations like JDRF Canada. Our goal is to make a positive societal impact by helping to fund T1D research, which ultimately improves the lives of those living with T1D and ideally will lead to a world that is free from type 1 diabetes.
Aligning with a reputable organization like JDRF enhances the Ross Chocolates brand image, demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility. Additionally, supporting JDRF provides opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful volunteer work, fostering a sense of community within the company. This, in turn, boosts employee morale and satisfaction.
Supporting JDRF leads to valuable networking opportunities and collaborations with researchers, healthcare professionals, and advocacy groups focused on diabetes. Ultimately, supporting JDRF is a meaningful way for us to contribute to a vital cause, positively impact the lives of individuals with T1D, and demonstrate our reputation as a socially responsible and community-oriented organization.
JDRF Canada: Is there anything else you would like to share with the type 1 diabetes community.
Over the years, Ross Chocolates has been able to help support diabetes research, with a portion of every sale going to diabetes research organizations. We are proud of our support of JDRF and the work that they do to help those living with T1D. We know life with T1D is not easy, and we hope to help by offering chocolate treats you can easily enjoy daily without worries of blood glucose levels rising, while supporting JDRF in its mission of finding cures for type 1 diabetes.
To learn more about Ross Chocolates visit www.rosschocolates.ca/about-us/