When Nestlé entered the low-carb market with variants of Rolo and Kit Kat, it sent a clear message that it believed low carb had a future. And while it continues to assert this, the departure of Kit Kat Low Carb this month could be seen as a warning shot against low carb’s bows.
Nestlé is replacing Kit Kat Low Carb with Double Chocolate Low Carb, which it says is in response to a growing demand for more indulgent products. “The feedback from consumers is they are missing out on an indulgent treat,” says Graham Walker, head of communications at Nestlé.
Nestlé is not the only company trying to raise the profile of low-carb chocolate. Xcarb recently launched a range of Belgian chocolate bars, called Arousal, citing similar reasons.
Paul Beresford, at consumer research company Cambridge Fast Foodfax, says that low-carb confectionery has fared badly in taste tests because of the category’s indulgent nature and high consumer expectations. The higher prices charged for low-carb chocolate are also often disproportionate to their
taste, he suggests. “Some products are quite pricey and people are a bit cynical about paying the extra margins for products that don’t deliver on taste.”
In Cambridge’s consumer research, Kit Kat Low Carb scored badly. The bar has also fallen out of favour with some retailers, being delisted by The Co-op in February and with Woolworths saying it did not intend to renew its listing.
Yet Walker is confident Double Chocolate will satisfy low-carb consumers’ hunger for better-tasting products, and that the category would continue to grow, driven by Rolo and Double Chocolate Low Carb. “We would not continue to make low carb if there was no mileage in the category.”