HVC Lizard Chocolate has joined up with PepsiCo subsidiary South Beach Beverage Company to develop a range of 'good-for-you' chocolate bars with added taurine, ginseng and guarana to boost energy levels.
Aiming to capitalise on the brand recognition of the 'healthy' SoBe Beverages, the four varieties retain the SoBe name. The SoBe Chocolate Bars contain 65 - 70 per cent chocolate (compared to the 15 per cent of other chocolate bars), according to SoBe, and the milk or white chocolate bars have added flavours such as triple shot mocha, orange caramel or orange cream.
"Given the recent findings on the health benefits of chocolate, this is the obvious next step in the evolution of this important and beloved food," said Jim Walsh, CEO of HVC Lizard Chocolate.
The SoBe Chocolate Bars are being launched at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show from 6-8 October.
"The future of chocolate is functional indulgence," said Bill Meissner, vice-president of marketing for HVC Lizard Chocolate. "We expect SoBe Chocolate Bars to be the pioneer in leading this industry into a new tomorrow for chocolate products."
Chocolate bar sales are currently stagnant with only a 1.2 per cent sales increase in the past year, while energy bars sales have grown by 12.8 per cent, noted the company.
"The SoBe concept is simple: Bring a 'better-for-you' halo to indulgent commodity categories. When you combine great-tasting products, eye-catching packaging and premium ingredients with a playfully irreverent attitude, you win," said John Bello, CEO of SoBe Beverages. "SoBe Chocolate, with its healthy base, is a perfect candidate for a SoBe brand extension."
Retailing at $1.29, SoBe Chocolate Bars will be sold exclusively at participating 7-Eleven stores for three months starting in October. The retailer worked closely with HVC Lizard Chocolate on the development of the product. SoBe Chocolate Bars will be available to all c-store outlets from 1 January 2003.
The HVC Lizard Chocolate and SoBe Beverages product launch will involve radio and outdoor advertising, promotions, public relations and field marketing, to be carried out by HVC Lizard Chocolate "Zealots," who will offer samples outside retail locations nationwide. They will also attend events across the country to promote the new range.
Connecticut-based HVC Lizard Chocolate, founded in August 2002, also has a partnership with Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate, a developer of gourmet and functional chocolate.