Cho’clair - a praline in the form of an éclair - was developed around a year ago by startup Fairy Chocolates.
It was named runner-up at the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM’s) ‘the most innovative’ new product awards.
Rising interest overseas
“I am overwhelmed – we never expected it would be such a big success for us. We are a very new company,” Ann Van Acker, manager of Fairy Chocolates, told ConfectioneryNews.
“A lot of people told me it could be the new macroon because you can also sell it by piece and it’s interesting….It’s something brand new”
Cho’clair currently only has distribution only in Belgian but is eyeing expansion. “Now we have a lot of [interest from] clients in Germany, France, Australia, Austria, also lots of Japanese people, China, Demark,” said Van Acker.
Realistic export growth
But Fairy Chocolates plans to take a conservative approach. “We will start with Germany, France and Europe then take it slowly – step-by-step,” said the company manager.
The patent-protected concept is made by hand near Antwerp in Belgium. Van Acker said her company was the smallest at ISM with just three employees.
“I think we have to be realistic. We are brand new and we want to do it step-by-step. We are going to screen every firm very carefully and we think it’s better to find one very good distributor for one country.”
Producing at scale ‘not a problem’
She continued: “Volumes will not be a problem…we want to export to Japan but we have to find a reliable firm to work with because we don’t know the market there. And I think it’s especially important for Japan that you chose the right one.”
Fairy Chocolates has partnered with Abu Dhabi-based Chocolatier UAE to produce in greater volumes if required.
“Before ISM we said If there will be a lot of people like in Saudi Arabia and Japan we cannot do it ourselves in Belgium - it’s not possible,” said Van Acker.
She said the company would target high-end retailers such as department stores. “We don’t want supermarkets because it’s a product with a very nice packaging and it’s a higher price than an average praline.”
The company produces Cho’clair in 12-pieces pack for a retail price of around €17 ($18). It also sells boxes of four and will soon produce and eight-pack.
Van Acker said she had received a lot of help from visitors and exhibitors at ISM.
“A lot of people gave us good advice, so maybe we could have transparent packaging so people can see the product.”