Beech's Fine Chocolates truffle 'hat boxes'

The brand recently launched a four-strong range of truffles in a 140g ’hat box’

Beech’s Fine Chocolates is putting the final touches to a lower-sugar milk chocolate bar made with sustainable Madagascan cocoa.

The family-owned Preston brand is eyeing a launch in time for Christmas of the product, made with cocoa farmed in the Sambirano valley of north west Madagascar, where farmers receive a higher-than-typical income through the Raise Trade sustainability scheme.

Beech's Fine Chocolates truffle 'handbag' box

The new truffles also come in a 100g format

The new bar would most likely be available in a 100g format, said Beech’s operations & marketing director Peter Whiting. It would contain 50% cocoa solids, making it darker than the brand’s regular milk chocolate with 35% solids – and it would also be significantly lower in sugar: 23g per 100g as opposed to the standard bar’s 52g.

The NPD will join Beech’s recently added four-strong range of truffles. They contain 35% cocoa solids and are available as champagne, pink champagne, prosecco and salted caramel variants.

Aimed at gifting occasions, the truffles come in a 100g ‘handbag friendly’ box (rsp: £6.99) and a 140g ‘hat box’ (£11.99). A third format features a ‘handbag’ box with a 20cl bottle of Da Luca prosecco (rsp: £15-£20).

The new truffles – and a design overhaul for the brand’s portfolio – followed a drastic improvement in fortune last year for Beech’s, said chairman Andrew Whiting. “Just a few years ago, the company was struggling, but 2016 saw an astonishing turnaround,” he added, crediting shoppers’ renewed appetite for premium chocolate and “significant new business”.