Cancer survivor invents healthy solution for sugar craving

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Jodie Jones, left, and her son, Sterling Jones pose for a photo shortly after Sterling Jones shaved his head in support of Jodie Jones during her illness. (Jones family)

BYU alumna Jodie Jones was diagnosed with Stage 3A Breast Cancer in May 2012. As she fought through a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and reconstructive surgery, she worked to invent a healthy snack that would satisfy her sugar cravings.

Today, Jones is cancer-free and the founder of JOJO’s, a business famous for its healthy chocolate bark. JOJO’s chocolate bark is designed to be a tasty, guilt-free snack, containing protein and antioxidants.

Jones was looking to do some dieting after chemotherapy treatment.

“When you go through chemotherapy it causes you to have cravings — at least, for me it did. Afterwards it leaves you with taste buds that are different than before the chemo. All I wanted was carbs during the chemo; anything to satisfy the nausea,” Jones said. “I craved comfort food.”

Thus began the hunt for different methods to satisfy her new cravings. Jones explained one day someone who had lost a significant amount of weight through the Paleo diet came into her work office. In asking more about this change, Jones learned that this person still ate dark chocolate every day.
“I have to eat chocolate every day, so I did some research on dark chocolate,” Jones said.

She discovered the key to her new creation was protein. The protein ensured there would be a balance between the highs and lows in energy sugar causes. Jones tweaked the recipe to make it low in sugar and carbs and high in protein. She also ensured that every ingredient had antioxidant properties.
“It sounds almost too good to be true, but preliminary research at West Virginia’s Wheeling Jesuit University suggests chocolate may boost your memory, attention span, reaction time and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain,” Marjorie Ingall said in a CNN Health article.

JOJO’s started in 2012 in Jones’ very own home kitchen as she worked to perfect the recipe. After some failed attempts, she created a bar of chocolate that not only tasted good, but more importantly, did not make her feel guilty after eating it.

JOJO’s outgrew the home kitchen and began to sell from Mrs. Cavanaugh’s in North Salt Lake. In early 2016, the business made another move and now is working out of a factory in Boise, Idaho.

Caption (Sterling Jones)
Sterling Jones prepares to talk about JOJO’s chocolate bark on national television. JOJO’s was featured on QVC in May 2016. (Sterling Jones)

Since then, Jones’ son and co-owner Sterling Jones has sold the product on QVC.

“It was awesome; so exciting. It caused a big spike for us just in that day,” Sterling Jones said.

Sterling Jones graduated from BYU in May. His wife, Elisabeth Jones, has two more years at BYU before she graduates, but has been able to see all the behind-the-scenes workings of JOJO’s and its dedication to its customers.

“Truth be told, I have never been a dark chocolate fan, but now I can’t go a day without JOJO’s,” she said. “It really does help me resist sugary treats that my body doesn’t need but often craves. I love being a part of this family-owned business.”

JOJO’s has found the market that best suits its product. After research and many hours, Jodie Jones decided to sell her product online at the end of 2015.

“Amazon Prime has our best channel,” Sterling Jones said. “That is where we have seen the most growth because of all the reviews.”

JOJO’s Chocolate has also been featured on Arizona Channel 12, Good 4 Utah, KUTV and health blogs.

Sterling Jones now runs the company and represents his mother and the chocolate that the Jones family has come to see as a beacon of light, hope and faith for the future.