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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review:  Whittaker's Kiwi Fruit

     
Whittaker's Kiwi Fruit 
Posted: 10 July 2014    8.0 
Whittaker's Kiwi Fruit from New Zealand Whittaker's has always been very generous with their fillings. The Kiwi Fruit is no exception. There is ample dried kiwi along with pureed apple, and the fruits balance very well with Whittaker's top notch 33% milk.   With this bar, Whittaker's comes up with something which firmly pins it to New Zealand, but also sets it apart from the competition.   Whittaker's doesn't need to win some meaningless trust distinction from Reader's Digest. Whittaker's should be trusted and sampled because they make superb chocolates for extremely reasonable prices.   
Avg price/gram: USD 0.02   Cocoa %: 33  Size: 250g  New Zealand chocolate 
       


It should be taken as a foregone conclusion that a bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer based in New Zealand would have to offer a chocolate product with the country's national fruit, the kiwi, included.   I am sure there's a law on the books somewhere requiring it!  

To me, Whittaker's is the story of an underdog, but it's not your usual underdog story.  An underdog, by definition, is the long shot who has little chance of winning the competition.  Imagine a few horses in a horse race.  The oldest, most ragged horse, walking with a limp, is the underdog.       

Whittaker's may be old -- it's been around since 1896 -- but it's not ragged or walking with a limp. Whittaker's is the second biggest chocolate brand in New Zealand, right behind Cadbury.   In 2012 and 2013, it was considered one of New Zealand's most trusted brand in a Reader's Digest survey.          

Because Cadbury's is not an indigenous New Zealand company, but a multinational operation, one could almost say Whittaker's isn't an underdog in New Zealand.  It's Top Dog.      

So where do I come up with the underdog angle?     

Whittaker's sets itself up to be the underdog. I have seen commercials where Whittaker's compares itself to Cadbury's.   The commercials are cut and dried.  They'll show how much better value Whittaker's is than an Australian Cadbury's and assume that because it costs the same to buy each, the consumer will always go for the bar offering more chocolate for the money.        

$200 might get you an 80 square meter suite at the one-star Flip Flop Hotel.   That same money might only score you a 25 square meter room at the five-star Hilton or Hyatt.  So do consumers always flock to places like the Flip Flop because they apparently offer better value (if value is measured in room size) than the luxury hotels?  You already know it doesn't.  Some consumers want to pay more for less if it will buy them into a brand perceived to be exclusive, different, better.    

I already know Cadbury carves up Whittaker's like a Thanksgiving turkey within the Australian market.  But to hear Whittaker's is the second best selling chocolate in its native New Zealand, when, at the same time, it's supposedly one of New Zealand's most trusted brands?  If the brand is so trusted, and such better value, why isn't it the number one selling chocolate in its native land?  The choco pieces here don't fit together so neatly, do they?         

Don't get me wrong.  Whittaker's is great chocolate.  I have a lot of experience with it.  Only a few of the many Whittaker's varieties I've tried have been losers.  Their 33% milk chocolate blend, the same which was used in this Kiwi Fruit bar, is superb.  And it is better value -- and quality -- than Cadbury's.  You'll get more chocolate, better chocolate, and larger quantities of fillings with a Whittaker's bar.        

So, I posit, why ever compare yourself to Cadbury's?  Whittaker's bars, in the Chocolate Republic's opinion, are better than many a Swiss  brand I've tried.  Whittaker's cheapens the perception of its quality by looking at mainstream Australian Cadbury's as its key competition in its two main markets.  Outside those markets, Whittaker's is but a speck on the wall.  In Bangkok, there was a very brief period of time where small Whittaker's bars were available on the very bottom shelf of the chocolate aisle of a gourmet supermarket, almost hidden from view.  Crappy Romanian Heidi's enjoys more premium shelf space!  Today, Heidi remains, and Whittaker has been deported.  In Malaysia back in 2010, I spotted a few bars in a chocolate shop.  As far as I could tell, Whittaker's never got its due. Every other brand, most inferior, was kicking its ass.     

It was quite the surprise when I was leaving Korea a couple of weeks ago that I spotted three Whittaker's blocks on the shelves of a local e-Mart store.  Koreans now appreciated fine chocolate? Since when did that ever happen in the land of Korjap chocolates?  It's quite the coup to get placed in e-Mart, the largest retailer in Korea of 140 scores scattered about the country.  I sincerely wish Whittaker's well, but based on past performance, it seems like Whittaker's has the charm to get its face shown, but thereafter not get any respect.  Consumers shun the fresh faced bars and they eventually get yanked.   At close to $10 for a 250 gram block, Whittaker's is twice the cost it would be in its native markets -- without the cachet value abroad with it.      

Enough back story.  Of the three Whittaker's bars I spotted on e-Mart's shelves, the Kiwi Fruit was the one I'd never tried.  Aussie Dave, my chocolate benefactor Down Under, had trouble sourcing this bar in Sydney.  My wife put up no argument to us tossing one of the bars into the grocery cart, and we packed it up, along with $300 of other Korean groceries, to bring back to Thailand.         

Whittaker's has always been very generous with their fillings.  The Kiwi Fruit is no exception.  There is ample dried kiwi along with pureed apple, and the fruits balance very well with Whittaker's top notch 33% milk.  Whittaker's isn't always successful with dried fruits.  Their Rum & Raisin is horrendous.  Their Dark Orange is slightly better than horrendous. 

Whittaker's finally stops putting itself in battles it can't win.  With this bar, Whittaker's comes up with something which firmly pins it to New Zealand, but also sets it apart from the competition.  There aren't many competitors offering kiwi in a chocolate bar.   I tried searching for kiwi chocolates on the internet and didn't come up with much.  That 'not much' consisted of Whittaker's.       

Whittaker's doesn't need to win some meaningless trust distinction from Reader's Digest.  Cadbury's made the final's list as well, in case you care.  Being a familiar brand New Zealand consumers trust doesn't mean s--t!  Colgate made the list for Christ's sakes! Common additions to mainstream toothpastes include sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol (an ingredient in anti-freeze, which also makes it way into Corona beer), and diethanolamine. Consumers can trust a brand, but it doesn't mean the brand is worth trusting.

Whittaker's should be trusted and sampled because they make superb chocolates for extremely reasonable prices.  And the Chocolate Republic should be at the top of your own list of trusted brands.  Do yourself a favor.  Combine your trust of the Chocolate Republic with a Whittaker's Kiwi Fruit bar.            

You're welcome.

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