They launched a second crowdfunder in April this year, raising $50,000 on day one, and $120,000 to date. They are now going into production of three new chocolate bars – a wafer, a caramel cookie and a classic milk chocolate bar, made with coconut milk.
The animal-loving pair are giving ten per cent of their annual profits to animal sanctuaries.
“We’re trying our best to make chocolate that benefits people, animals and the planet,” said Charlie, now also a proud Bachelor of Science. “People, because we use only fairly traded cocoa; the planet, because our packaging is compostable, and animals, because we’re vegan, but also because we’re giving ten per cent of our profits to animal sanctuaries.
“I think everyone’s excited about our product because we are one of the first vegan milk chocolate companies, and we stand behind our values, which is being a company that doesn’t harm anyone.”
Brian works on recipe development and production, working with a factory in California, while Charlie looks after social media and promotion from Scotland. They will be bringing Trupo Treats to the UK in the autumn.
“It was certainly difficult to balance studying with Trupo Treats, especially during my final year,” said Charlie. “But I wanted to study environmental science at Stirling because climate change is a really important topic, and something I want to combat. And I love Scotland.” Eventually he hopes to combine Trupo Treats with a career in environmental film making.
Charlie became a vegetarian when he was seven, whilst waiting for his Thanksgiving turkey to be served at a family dinner in Maryland. “I asked where all the dads were, and was told they were out hunting for our dinner! That was the first time I made the link between animals and the food I ate. I don’t think I ate my dinner that night.”
Brian quickly followed suit, and the pair went vegan seven and two years ago respectively. They ran a VeggieBrothers Instagram account dedicated to their love of animals, and then Brian had a business brainwave.
“Brian was always calling me with ideas, being an entrepreneur, but this one seemed like one that could actually work!” said Charlie.
Charlie joins over 2,300 students graduating from the University of Stirling this summer, including from its partnership institutions in Vietnam, Singapore, UAE and Oman. The University announced earlier this year that its in-person graduations in 2021 would be postponed due to COVID-19.