In 2012, on a cold December day in Duluth, Minnesota, Dean Packingham’s then 9-year-old daughter, Jen, asked for hot cocoa after playing in the snow.
Dean noticed that the ingredients list on the cocoa mix he had on hand was extensive, with many unfamiliar, complicated names.
An epiphany occurred: Dean, who was a meteorologist at the time, was determined to make “the best cocoa mix in the world,” he recalls saying.
With the help of his best friend, former co-worker and now business partner Amanda Cunningham, Dean created a chemical-free cocoa powder with just five simple ingredients: whole-milk powder, pure cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and sea salt.
After discovering that friends and family loved the mix, Dean began selling Mike & Jen’s Cocoa Mix (named for his now-grown children) to the public via a food truck lovingly named the Cocoa Mobile! The business grew fast, and is now in over 1000 retail stores as well as all Minnesota Costco Wholesale Locations.
Mike & Jen’s Cocoa Mix—is OU Kosher Dairy, a Women Owned Business and National LGBT Chamber of Commerce certified.