I don’t remember when this happened but I will never forget how I felt the first time I’ve tried a Twilight chocolate bar from Go Max Go. Before going vegan, almost 16 years ago (will celebrate it this month!) I was a chocoholic for sure. Back then, in Brazil, there weren’t many options around, just the plain dark chocolate and I’ve got used to have just them. And I stayed like that at least on my first ten years vegan, until I came to Europe. After my first bite in that soft, sweet, creamy bar my first thought was “Is it vegan for real?”. I couldn’t believe. And at the same time I wish I could eat them every single day but they weren’t that available in Europe. So I was back to more basic options and just a few years ago I began finding other tasty chocolate bars around but still nothing has got my heart the way Go Max Go bars done it. They are the best vegan chocolate bars ever.
I have tried some of their other bars lately – Jokerz, Cleo’s and Thumbs Up (so far) – and they are all perfect. But they are still not available in Italy and I’m not sure about Ireland, so I still can’t have them all the time. It is still crazy how some countries have so many vegan options around, like the US, and others are still very limited. But I’m positive that we’re all getting there and with more vegan shops and supermarkets opening in Europe choices are getting better and better.
Then I realized I could love Go Max Go even more when I found out that the name of their company is a tribute to their “pound puppy” Max: “The memory of Max in motion, running with a fierce determination, inspired us to exercise that same tenacity when it came to developing a quality product and bringing our dream to fruition. In honor of all the great times we shared with this dog, we felt his favorite cheer, Go Max Go!, would be a fitting name for our company”.
I have contacted Go Max Go as a fan to ask them to team up with us for one giveaway for Vegan Package Swap and was really excited when Susan, founder and owner, got back to me interested in doing something together. So for OCTOBER edition of VEGAN PACKAGE SWAP we are giving away TWO BOXES OF GO MAX GO BARS to our US swappers.
For a chance to win, all you have to do is to JOIN THE SWAP (login in the website between October 3rd and 5th and click on the link “join the swap”) and be a US resident. Winners will be contacted on the 6th of October.
Susan also agreed to answer a few questions for AAVF so you all get to know more about the lovely vegan couple behind Go Max Go:
When and how did the idea of Go Max Go and its amazing treats came out? Do you remember the exactly moment?
We had been waiting for someone to come out with a vegan candy bar that really tasted great. We got tired of waiting and decided to do it ourselves. I do remember the moment the decision was made. We brought up every reason we could think of not to try this and we couldn’t think of a good reason to stay at jobs we didn’t like or a good reason to settle for the vegan chocolate that was available to us. We also knew that we wanted to start a business that would align with our personal ethics/lifestyle and giving the world a great vegan candy bar would do that and provide us with an opportunity to support our favorite cause…veganism/animal rights.
Go Max Go is also a vegan business. What inspired you to go vegan?
Susan (vegan 17 years) & Scott (vegan 16 years) both became vegan for the animals!!
Go Max Go is also a family-owned business and I deeply relate to this – considering that me and my husband run All About Vegan Food and Vegan Package Swap – and know how hard it can be. How do you feel about having a family business? Positive and negative aspects?
We can’t really think of any negatives. We’re very fortunate in that we’re in synch with the big picture. We don’t have outside investors so there’s never a question of keeping the integrity of our product in tact or which direction we would like to see the company take. Of course, there are “those days” when we just can’t agree on anything, but those are infrequent and if Scott cooks dinner, than all is forgiven
Your products are made with GMO free ingredients and ethical sourcing, such as Fair Trade Certificated cocoa. How important do you consider this choice of ingredients, specially in North America where GMO ingredients are all around?
Very important! We were able to source Non GM for the majority of our ingredients from day one. As of a year and a half ago we were finally able to source the one ingredient we weren’t able to source Non GM previously. Now you can see on our wrappers that our product is completely GMO free. YaY!
I’ve seen in the website your state about the use of palm oil and also the reproduction of a letter from Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of Orangutan Land Trust. How do you see all these issues regarding palm oil today?
The parent company of our vendor was sourcing ethically prior to our starting Go Max Go. We did a lot of research on this issue because of the animals involved. There are layers to learn here and this industry is continually evolving. Great strides have been made within the industry and there is still a ways to go. Just like any other crop industry, it has to be thoughtful of land use and well planned out, or the consequence is that the land will no longer deliver. The older companies are aware of this and have implemented and followed standards that will keep the land nourished so that they can continue cropping. What’s going on today is a greater push to have more businesses buying sustainable palm oil so that more farmers will follow regulations and not destroy peat lands & forests. If end users demand certified sustainable, fully traceable palm oil, the farmers will respond by providing that.
I’m assuming that your primary markets are the US and Canada but today it is easy to find your vegan candy bars in many other countries. Do you know where Go Max Go bars are more sold outside these countries?
Germany! Germany is probably the most vegan friendly country today.
Do you have a best-seller bar?
We do…it’s Jokerz
Could you tell us a little bit more about your daily life? How’s life in Portland?
Our daily life isn’t in Portland anymore, we’re in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s high desert and the landscape is beautiful. We try to get the dog’s out every morning with either a walk or a trip to the dog park. From there it’s just taking care of whatever needs to be done. With this business, we have different tasks to address each day, some of which are unplanned. We’ve come to find out it’s wise to expect the unexpected. We’re very casual people so we don’t adhere to a rigid schedule. Some work days are longer than others and if it’s a short day we might head to a movie or go out to eat. If it’s a long day we just relax in the evening and we each have our own way of doing that. Susan might read or watch bad T.V. or catch up on personal calls/emails & Scott is a musician so he’ll work on his music. Both of us like physical movement, so Susan does yoga (she started yoga at the same time she became vegan) and Scott likes going to the gym. One thing we do almost every Saturday night is have “game night”. We make up some snacks, put on some music, have a couple of beers (& a shot or two of tequila) & play a game. The dogs usually hang out in the kitchen, but when we have game night they come into the living room & stare at our food, so it’s a cozy little family night tradition:)
Which are your favorite vegan foods? Do you cook much?
There are so many great vegan foods, where do we start??? Of course we love the usual suspects… fruit, veggies, tofu, seitan…just what every non vegan thinks a vegan eats But add to that, delish vegan candy bars (Go Max Go of course!), American Flatbread Vegan Harvest Pizza, Sophies Kitchen Vegan Fishless Filets, Gardetto’s Snack Mix, Swads Garden Veggie Burgers, Ore-Ida Crinkle Fries, Tofutti “Yours Truly” vegan “nice” cream cones, Teese Cheddar Vegan Cheese, Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch Dressing (great with BBQ temphe!)… Oh, we could fill up a page with more but I think you get the picture. As for cooking, Scott is more ambitious than Susan and Susan doesn’t mind that… at all. During the week we do a lot of easy meals like a quick stir fry or mac & cheeze or marinated temphe with veggies. On the weekend if we don’t go out to eat we’ll do something that’s a little more involved. Or should we say, Scott will do something that’s a little more involved…