The new variant of the Nestlé Milkybar has crispy cocoa balls. We spoke to director - foods and confectionery, Nestlé India about a product Indians have had extreme reactions to.
Adding a twist to the classic milk-based bar, Nestlé has yet again experimented with its Milkybar, its white chocolate confectionery. The new variant - Milkybar Moosha Cocoa Crispies - from the 83-year-old chocolate brand, now includes cocoa flavoured 'crispies'. The bar has been launched in top tier towns across the country and will be expanded further into other markets. The new product will be sold online as well as in offline stores across the country at a price point of Rs 45.
Milkybar has, in the past, played around with the format of the product on multiple occasions. During the noughties, the brand launched a couple of new variants - Milkybar Choo (chewy centre covered in a milky layer), Milkybar Munchies (bite-size pieces aimed at adults), Sharing Block (bar aimed at sharing), and Milkybar White Moments (white chocolate wrapped in a crispy sugar shell). The brand also launched a Milkybar Raisin and Biscuit Bar (a mix of raisins and biscuit pieces coated in white chocolate), Milkybar Eclairs (caramel-based candy with a Milkybar centre), and Milkybar Giant Buttons (large round buttons).
In 2017 Nestlé India reintroduced the Milkybar with 'increased milk' and 'less sugar' (something Mondelez recently tried with Cadbury Dairy Milk). According to Nestlé, the percentage of milk in the bar was increased by close to 8 per cent and the sugar was reduced by about 10 per cent.
Commenting on the launch of the new variant, Nikhil Chand, director - foods and confectionery, Nestlé India, tells afaqs!, "Milkybar Moosha Cocoa Crispies builds on to the familiar creamy taste of Milkybar and has added cocoa crispies - giving it a combination of creamy and crispy. In the last quarter of 2017, we launched Milkybar Moosha, a sub-brand of Milkybar with varied textures, flavours and other inclusions. Moosha Cocoa Crispies is an addition to the portfolio for consumers who seek something new, exciting and multi-textural."
Speaking of the challenges in the chocolate market today, Chand says, "The chocolate and confectionery category sees a lot of innovations and limited edition launches, but the challenge is sustaining them."
The brand plans to build on the new product by launching a media and digital campaign.
The white chocolate brand sees competition from Mondelez's Cadbury Dream, Amul Super Fruit, Ferrero Raffaello Coconut and Almond White Chocolate, Hershey's Kisses, Godiva Chocolatier White Chocolate, Lindt & Sprungli White Chocolate.
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Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy, a brand and consumer expert, believes that there is always some amount of risk involved when a big brand decides to experiment with the taste or ingredients of a well-accepted product.
She says, "A majority of new product launches fail in the marketplace. However, in the case of the Nestlé Milkybar Moosha Cocoa Crispies chocolate launch, I would say that the risk is fairly minimal, especially because it is an additional variant and not a replacement for the original Milkybar. If a consumer prefers the original, he/she can still get it at a retail store. I reckon they are trying to increase their consumer base with this variant and catering to those people who do not like a chewy centre yet prefer milk chocolates. The innovation seems like a good idea."
Commenting on the dos and don'ts when launching a new variant of an established product in the market, she states, "Brands should be careful about ensuring that products in their innovation pipeline appeal to potential customers. Most experienced companies do extensive consumer research to ensure this before going to market. However, we must remember that the chocolate/snack market, despite being highly competitive, will be, by its very nature, filled with variants and new product launches whether or not they succeed in the marketplace."
She explains, "This is because of two reasons. Firstly, it mainly targets kids and youth, which is a huge audience, especially in India. And this target gets easily bored. Secondly, it is a category that involves the palate. And consumers do enjoy variations in taste and texture. So, the very essence of the category is innovation and renovation."
According to Lloyd Mathias, business and marketing strategist and former marketing head of HP, Asia-Pacific, brand innovations like Nestlé's Milkybar Moosha Cocoa Crispies are an interesting way to energize the core Milkybar and build excitement. He comments, "Consumers today, are looking for innovation and change and such extensions help build and sustain relationships with the audience. So, in a sense, the variant serves as an extension that is distinct yet related to the main brand."
He adds, "I think, as in all brand variants, it is important that the variant adds positively to the main brand and does not detract. An extension that strays away from the core offering is likely to create dissonance. The Moosha Crispies, does this effectively and flows from Nestlé Milkybars' core.