Indeed, they’ve toyed with all manner of unique flavors for their KitKats. According to this article, wasabi and melon flavors , among others, have made their presence in the bars, so a pink, fruity chocolate like ruby would be an ideal fit for the Japanese market.
That may be why it is debuting here, rather than in the US, where consumers are very passionate about KitKats and may be less receptive to anyone messing with the tried-and-true favorite. If wasabi-flavored KitKats can work, wasabi-flavored bars are probably a shoe-in. The mass market in the US may not welcome neither. Time will tell, and I’m sure the ruby KitKats will find their way here eventually.
A delayed US debut may be a marketing strategy: Get a buzz going overseas about a new version of one of America’s favorite candy bars that someone else has and they don’t. Time will tell.
Here’s the link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-18/nestle-debuts-natural-ruby-chocolate-in-kitkat-crazed-japan
If you read the articles there are other cultural reasons for the success of KitKat in Japan and the fact that sales are increasing overall in Japan while they are decreasing in the UK. This line from the Telegraph article sums that up, “KitKat is regarded as a premium confectionery brand in Japan – as reflected in its KitKat Chocolatory stores.” If B-C’s customers can make these sorts of associations with Ruby (as well), then there is a bright (pink) future for Ruby.
“Kit Kat has been a tremendous success in Japan, partly because the name when pronounced in Japanese, sounds like “Kitto Katsu (きっと勝つ)” which translates as “you (he, she) will surely win.” The company, through clever marketing, convinced Japanese consumers that Kit Kats were auspicious gifts to give to those applying for college or seeking jobs.”
The Ruby KitKat is currently only available in Japan, which is home to a flavor mashup catalog – wasabi, yes – but also matcha, sake red bean, toasted white chocolate, and many more, some of which are only available regionally.
I was one of about 20 invited guests to the Ruby launch last September and I received tasting samples of Ruby KitKats prior to the launch on 1/18. I am not a huge candy bar fan (except for a very few childhood favorites around Halloween), and I am not a real fan of plain KitKats. But I am a huge fan of Japanese KitKats because of the fun flavors.
The Ruby KitKat is an inspired first product introduction, especially given the packaging, which appears to be inspired by glamor makeup (over on Instagram, someone responded to the photo wondering why I was posting about lipsticks).
The price is an astonishing ¥450 (about $4) _per piece_. I have no doubt the first purchase will be an easy one. We’ll have to see about repeat purchase patterns. But Japan is the place to make this work and I can see it being a huge hit. Someone will incorporate it into some popular cosplay scenario and sales will skyrocket and be sustainable — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.