The firm will roll out the product in KitKat Chocolatory stores in Japan and South Korea as well as online in both countries from tomorrow (January 19).
KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby’s launch is timed for Valentine’s Day. But Nestlé will only sell 5,000 units for a limited period for ¥400 ($3.60) each.
Nestlé Japan will also launch a Kitkat Chocolatory Sublime Valentine’s Assortment containing a ruby wafer for ¥1,800 ($16.18) for a five-piece mix and ¥2,400 ($21.60) for a seven-piece assortment from February 1.
Nestlé ruby KitKat will use ingredients supplier Barry Callebaut’s ruby chocolate – which was heralded the fourth variety of chocolate after milk, dark and white, when it was introduced in September last year.
The chocolate has a pinkish color and berry-fruity taste, but no colors or flavors are added.
The effect is derived naturally by isolating specific compounds in cocoa beans, according to Barry Callebaut.
Nestlé evaluating launch in other markets
Sandra Martinez, Nestlé global head of confectionery, said Japan was selected due to KitKat’s luxury positioning in the market through its own stores.
“The market for KitKat in Japan is mature and consumers are keen to try new and interesting flavors - that makes it a natural choice for us to launch KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby in Japan, including Korea,” she said.
“As for the launch in other markets, we are evaluating all possible options in terms of markets, formats, packaging and we will be closing our plans over the next few weeks,” she continued.
Barry Callebaut: Nestlé quick to spot the trend
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said: “I am very pleased that our innovative breakthrough Ruby chocolate has come to life so quickly through our partnership with Nestlé and the pioneering KitKat brand in Japan.
“Nestlé was very quick in spotting the trend and in introducing a Ruby chocolate version of KitKat, which will entice consumers across Asia and beyond.”
Nestlé said it was committed to global confectionery this week after it sold its US confectionery business, including brands such as Butterfinger, to Ferrero for $2.8bn.
Further reading… Ruby chocolate: New gem in confectionery crown or pink misfit?