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Lewis Road and Whittaker's launch chocolate butter

The chocolate butter will go up against the long-established hazelnut spread Nutella.

Fiona Rotherham
Thu, 20 Oct 2016

Dairy brand company Lewis Road Creamery is launching a chocolate butter in the first collaboration with Whittaker's since its up-market chocolate milk sent Kiwis into a sugar-laden frenzy in 2014.

The four-year-old Auckland-based company said the chocolate butter, which will be stocked in the two main supermarket chains and leading speciality food stores, is the first of its kind – combining Lewis Road butter with Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana chocolate and sunflower oil to achieve spreadability.

Lewis Road's product range already includes butter, cream, fresh milk, flavoured milk, ice cream, and bread and it has two other dairy-related innovations it hopes to launch before Christmas.

Lewis Road founder and majority shareholder Peter Cullinane said the idea for chocolate butter emerged over an afternoon tea of French pastries at the company's kitchen table.

"The French, who know a thing or two about butter, chocolate, and pastries, have always had a soft spot for pain au chocolat and it got us thinking. 'What if we combined the world's best butter and best chocolate in an easy-to-spread blend that would be good with almost anything?'"

As a school child, Mr Cullinane also had a teacher who used to talk about French children having chocolate on their sandwiches and "that always appealed to me."

The new product should appeal to "anyone who likes chocolate", he said, but it was unclear whether it will achieve the unprecedented social media frenzy that hit the launch of its chocolate milk two years ago, sparking queues in supermarkets, security guards to oversee allocation, counterfeit bottles on sale, and corporate competitors.

The chocolate butter will go up against the long-established hazelnut spread Nutella which has been in the market since the 1940s.

Mr Cullinane said other so-called chocolate spreads are loaded with palm oil and sugar and no real chocolate. "This is New Zealand's answer to that. We have kept it as simple as possible."

The product hasn't been easy to get right, he said, and will be made by Tauranga-based Constantia Foods, a contract processor for dairy and food products. It will be packaged in a gold 200gm pottle and sell for around $8.99.

The company will consider exporting chocolate butter if demand in New Zealand proves strong enough.

Whittaker's Holly Whittaker said the chocolate butter showcases both brands' commitment to innovation.

"Our customers love it when they see their favourite chocolate used in new ways," she said.

When asked how fattening the chocolate butter was, Cullinane said, "Only if you eat too much. Our answer to that is 'everything in moderation'."

(BusinessDesk)

Fiona Rotherham
Thu, 20 Oct 2016
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Lewis Road and Whittaker's launch chocolate butter
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