Hershey cashing in on cacao

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chocolate, Us

US based confectionery maker Hershey has launched a new range of
chocolate, designed to offer consumers a more upmarket version of
the traditional indulgence.

Cacao Reserve is being lauded by the company as an all-natural, premium line of drinking chocolate and truffles.

The company is cashing in on a more ethical and health-conscious trend in the chocolate market as consumers switch to dark and organically grown products.

Last year Hershey acquired a major US producer of dark chocolate, Sharffen Berger and now owns 77 per cent of the world's dark chocolate market.

Dark chocolate sales have benefited from positive publicity as news of the product's health benefits as come flooding in.

Scientists have found that the higher the cocoa content, the higher the flavanoid levels and this means a greater concentration of antioxidants.

Cacao Reserve comes in both milk and dark chocolate varieties. The dark chocolate bar contains 65 per cent cacao and 'nibs', a crunchy part of the bean.

In December the line is due to expand to include bars with cacao beans harvested from different countries.

This range will include Arriba, containing a herbal flavour and 50 per cent cacao, and San Tome which will have 70 per cent cacao and spices.

Senior vice president Chris Baldwin said: "Consumers today are searching for new, premium experiences. Cacao Reserve meets this rapidly growing demand by offering consumers an indulgent chocolate made with carefully chosen, slowly roasted cacao beans, blended with the finest all-natural ingredients."

According to market research group Leatherhead International, Hershey, who produce Hershey's Kisses and have a licence to sell Cadbury products in the US, is the fifth largest confectionery company in the world with a turnover last year of $4.83bn (€3.8bn)

It is the holder of the largest chocolate market share in the US with around 40 per cent and holds 11 per cent of the global market.

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