What do Red Bull and vegan, organic dark chocolate spread "Lekkco" have in common? Jennifer Lukas-Bourgeois, who was part of the joint efforts to launch both products into the American market.

When Red Bull entered the US market in 1996, Jennifer was part of the elite team that introduced the brand and the concept of energy drinks into the market. In '96, the market was untapped with Red Bull, which has now become every college student's staple. With Lekkco, another demand is now being met. Lekkco is a non-dairy, nut-free chocolate spread that’s got the heart and taste to win you over. 

The Health Benefits

Don't get me wrong. I love Nutella. I can finish a jar in a week. But I also am painfully aware that it's not the healthiest for you. Notorious for being high in added sugars and fat, it's best to eat in moderation. That doesn't stop me from eating it by the spoonful, though.

You don't have to worry about this as much when you're eating Lekkco. Inspired by her time in Europe (as well as her husband Bram's Belgian background), the Bourgeois family decided to bring over Belgian chocolate spread—a staple across the pond—to America.

Europe's definition of "chocolate" is very different than America's. In Europe, chocolate is a health food, composed almost primarily of cocoa. In America, chocolate is an indulgence, composed of both cocoa and sugar.  

Lekkco takes after European tradition. It's made of the highest quality Belgian dark chocolate so it doesn't need all the preservatives and additives competing spreads have. It comes out at just 70 calories per tablespoon in comparison to Nutella's 100. Plus, it's vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO, so everyone can enjoy Lekkco without worrying about dietary constraints.

The Message 

Cruelty free and health-conscious are just two philosophies Lekkco embodies. Another passion of Lekkco's owners is empowerment in many forms. The first—to promote awareness around dyslexia. The font for the packaging of Lekkco (a play on the Belgian word "lekker," which means "something delicious") is a dyslexia-friendly font, as it's an issue personal to Bram and Jennifer. Not only are they encouraging the consideration of dyslexic individuals in their distribution, they're planning to give to the cause in the near future (hint: October).

What I think is most commendable about Lekkco is that it's a small business run by a woman who is breaking the glass ceiling. Jennifer is an entrepreneur who was part of a team that launched Red Bull in the US and is looking to do the same with Lekkco. And she wants to do it right, with high-quality ingredients and a mission of authenticity.

The Taste

The health benefits and messages behind Lekkco are great and all, but what about the taste? Is it nearly as good? Actually, it's better—if that's even possible.

I have the biggest sweet tooth you will ever meet. However, I've been making conscious efforts to expand my palate and reduce my sugar intake. That's why I'm turning to Lekkco when the cravings are too real, or if I want a midday pick-me-up. It's got a thick, creamy texture and dark, rich chocolate flavor. Although it's sweet, it's not cloying, so you won't crash after consuming it.

As an added bonus, it's a lot more versatile than Nutella and other spreads, because its flavor profile is more mature. You can have it with a cheese spread or with some wine—even slathered atop some bacon.

Lekkco just launched this April, but that hasn't stopped its trajectory from skyrocketing. You can buy it at grocery stores across the Chicagoland area and online at Amazon, and you should. Not only are you one of the first to try this innovative product, but you're supporting a small business with an amazing story and remarkable people behind it.