Natural, pink Kit Kats: the new chocolate for millennials

Nestle has released the first new type of natural chocolate in 80 years

Nestle will sweeten Japan’s Valentine’s Day with ruby-chocolate KitKats. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Nestle will sweeten Japan’s Valentine’s Day with ruby-chocolate KitKats. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

 

Nestle will sweeten Valentine’s Day with ruby-chocolate KitKats, choosing Japan,  one of the world’s most candy-obsessed markets, for the debut of the first new type of natural chocolate in more than 80 years.

Ruby KitKats will be initially sold in Japan and South Korea before being rolled out to the UK and other countires. This is part of the company’s efforts to boost chocolate sales by encouraging consumers switch to healthier snacks.

Nestle struck a deal with Zurich-based Barry Callebaut AG, the developer of ruby chocolate, giving it exclusive rights for six months to the breakthrough product with a pinkish hue and a natural berry flavor that’s sour yet sweet. The ruby chocolates go on sale at KitKat boutiques in Japan and South Korea as well as online beginning Thursday, ensuring chocolate lovers will have access to the treat before the February 14th.

Nestle chose one of the world’s most candy-obsessed markets for the debut of the first new type of natural chocolate in more than 80 years. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
Nestle chose one of the world’s most candy-obsessed markets for the debut of the first new type of natural chocolate in more than 80 years. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

“KitKat is a brand that’s modern and connects well with millennials, so it’s the right brand to put the first ruby chocolate in the world,” said Sandra Martinez, Nestle’s global head of confectionery.

Ruby chocolate, which is based on a special type of cocoa bean found in Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil, is naturally a pinkish color from the powder extracted during processing. Standard chocolate KitKats are made from a blend of cocoa liquor, milk and cocoa butter, and the colored varieties are produced using natural food dyes.

Nestlé’s efforts to “premium-ise” KitKat have been focused in Asian markets including Japan, Australia, South Korea and Thailand, where it has tested exotic flavoured KitKat bars ranging from green tea to strawberry cheesecake versions. It has also developed “KitKat Chocolatory” shops, where customers can snap up personalised KitKat gifts.

The ruby chocolate innovation comes after about a decade of development. Barry Callebaut, which works behind the scenes to produce chocolate sold by all the major producers including Hershey Co. and Cadbury, chose to introduce the product through Nestle, which invented white chocolate more than 80 years ago. 

Japan’s $5 billion chocolate confectionery market is Asia’s largest, according to Euromonitor International. It’s also one of KitKat’s biggest markets, creating enough demand that Nestle last summer built its first KitKat factory in 26 years. Meiji Holdings Co., a Japanese chocolate maker, is investing some 27 billion yen ($240 million) into extending two domestic factories amid growing chocolate consumption in the country. - Bloomberg

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