Sweets & Snacks Expo

Ferrero North America builds US manufacturing facility, expanding chocolate production for the first time outside of Europe

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Ferrero North America
Source: Ferrero North America

Related tags Ferrero Chocolate Confectionery Premium chocolate

The company’s manufacturing plant in Bloomington, Ill.n will feature a chocolate processing facility and a Kinder Bueno production line. The plant is expected to strengthen the company’s presence in the US, while showcasing its diverse portfolio, Hugh McMullen, corporate communications, Ferrero, told FoodNavigator-USA during the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, May 22-25.

Along with the new facility, the company will continue building momentum of the Kinder brand by launching Kinder Chocolate to the US market. The facility includes Ferrero’s own proprietary machinery and will be the “the first time Ferrero makes chocolate outside of Europe—and the first time a legacy brand will be made in the U.S.,”​ McMullen stated. As the 164,000 square foot facility wraps construction, McMullen estimates it will bring in 200 jobs.

Kinder for all ages

The company’s US chocolate portfolio consists of legacy brands like Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Crunch and its premium brands, Ferrero Rocher and Fannie May. Its US launch of Kinder Joy in 2017 and Kinder Bueno in 2019 were met with noteworthy success from consumers of all ages, McMullen emphasized.

Kinder Chocolate bar was created in Alba, Italy, in 1968 by Michele Ferrero and the brand’s portfolio has since seen significant popularity in Europe. Retail sales for Kinder Chocolate reached more than $500 million since its arrival in the US five years ago, McMullen explained.

With a milky filling, Kinder Chocolate’s small, manageable portions and soft texture are ideal for parents to share with kids, but the candy is suited for all ages as well, McMullen noted. With smaller portions, Ferraro is focused on offering better portion control for consumers who prefer smaller sizes.

McMullen mentioned, “People of all ages want a better portion control now. They may not want a giant, share size​.”

Kinder Joy’s egg-shaped chocolate is filled with cocoa, milk cream and topped with two wafer balls and includes a toy and a plastic spoon; while Kinder Bueno, which saw more than $209 million in sales, was marketed as “a premium everyday candy bar experience​,” features a crispy shell, creamy hazelnut filling, and milk chocolate coating, McMullen explained.

Along with Kinder Chocolate, Ferrero debuted five new products at the Expo:

  • Kinder Chocolate Mini Friends: Available for 2023 holiday and 2024 Easter seasons, the individually wrapped chocolates with festive seasonal imaging on the packaging are ideal for sharing and decorating.
  • Ferrero Rocher Golden Eggs: Also available during the Easter season, the eggs are layered with hazelnut pieces, chocolate and a creamy filling and offered in milk, white and dark chocolate.
  • Ferrero Rocher Hollow Egg: Made of milk chocolate and hazelnut pieces, the eggs are also seasonally available for Easter.
  • Keebler Chips Deluxe Fudgy: Made of chocolate chips and fudge chunks, the cookies are set to launch nationwide this summer.
  • Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies Carton Box: Available in January 2024, the mixed compilation of butter cookies include pretzel, vanilla, coconut and country style flavors.

Over the past five years, Ferrero has launched several disruptive, top tier innovations in the market, such as Kinder Joy, Kinder Bueno, Ferrero Rocher Tablets, as well as seasonal products that have delivered incremental sales, units and profitability to the confections category​,” Jim Klein, chief customer officer, Ferrero USA, said in a press release​.

With this year’s lineup, our customers and consumers should expect the same level of disruptive innovation that will continue to deliver incremental sales and units by attracting new consumers, enabling Ferrero to continue growing the confections category​,” Klein stated.

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