High-end Swiss chocolate brand to finally hit U.S
Nestle announced on Wednesday that for the first time it will begin selling its Cailler chocolate beyond Switzerland, as the company attempts to make headway into the super-premium chocolate market.
The company will now sell Cailler chocolate, a nearly 200-year-old Swiss brand, in the United States, Britain and Germany with the help of Amazon starting Thursday. Nestle will also begin selling the Cailler brand for the first time at airport shops in Geneva, Zurich, Dubai and Singapore. The company said it is on track to introduce the high-end chocolate in China by mid-November.
“It is a very unique brand and very unique product,” Sandra Martinez, head of the confectionery strategic business unit at Nestle, said in an interview. “It has strong Swiss heritage and it’s the oldest chocolate brand in existence.”
The nuts used in the chocolate are roasted in-house. The company says milk for Cailler chocolate brands comes from “1,800 of the world’s happiest dairy cows grazing the lush, green grass” near the Nestle factory in Broc, Switzerland. Martinez said some factory workers even joke they know the cows by name.
The chocolate bon bons are available in 16 and 25-piece boxes ($24.90 or $34.90), and come in four assortments: the signature selection, milk chocolate, praline, and dark chocolate.
Callier also makes chocolate bars. The Art Du Brut variety (which feature various nut and fruit combinations) are $17.80 for two bars. The L’Encorce variety (plain chocolate bars) are $13.50 for a pack of three bars.
Nestle plans to launch a vigorous social media campaign to introduce the chocolate in the new markets. The company will also launch a marketing blitz at Grand Central Terminal in New York in mid-October.
By using Amazon as opposed to introducing the chocolate in the mass market, Martinez said that Nestle officials will be able to more quickly understand how consumers are responding to the product in the U.S. and other new markets.
Nestle, which also is the maker of baby food, Nespresso and bottled water and other consumers goods, hopes the move in chocolate — one of the behemoth’s oldest businesses — will help it gain ground on leading global confectioners Mondelez International and Mars.
Premium chocolate accounts for about 8% of all U.S. market chocolate sales, and the segment has seen double-digit growth in recent years, according to Candy Industry, a publication that covers the confectionery industry. But Nestle has been shut out of this market.
The super-premium brands are usually made with higher cacao content and often include exotic flavors. (The independent Vosges Chocolate sells a Guajillo & Chipotle Super Dark Chocolate Bar, while Hershey’s sells Scharffen Berger chocolates which they tout as being made with “an artisan process, honed with a wine-maker’s attention to craftsmanship.”)
“Premium chocolate is my small intimate frustration,” Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke told an investors conference last year in Boston.
Bulcke’s comment in Boston spurred speculation that Nestle, which is best known for mass market chocolate like Kit Kat, Crunch and Butterfinger, might try to buy a high-end chocolate maker in the United States.
But Nestle ultimately decided that Cailler could be its way into the high-end chocolate market.
Martinez declined to comment on whether Nestle may still be looking to buy a smaller high-end chocolate company as it tries to gain ground in the super-premium segment.
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