July 27th: Nestle Milkybar Raisin & Biscuit

Kcal 189 Fat 10.1g Carbs 21.9g

Just a few weeks ago in Edition 47 of '7Days of Chocolate Reviews' I brought you all the news (via ChocolateMission reader Alan) that Nestle were bringing a new Raisin & Biscuit bar to their Milkybar range. If you read the several press releases flying around the Internet, this new bar is a bid to appeal to 'adult consumers', and is being backed by a £7 million pound 360 marketing campaign. Also included on all these announcements are some pretty bold statements such as 'over 75% of consumers like white chocolate', and that 'over 60% of Milkybars singles are bought by adults for their own enjoyment'. I don't wish to dispute either of those two facts too much, but I would be interested to see the sample of consumers they used to determine both of those snippets - they strike me as pretty high ... do 75% of your friends like white chocolate!??

A full week ahead of it's July 26th launch I found these on sale in my local Boots drugstore, priced at 65p each for a 37.0g bar. On the wrapper the bar was described as 'white chocolate with raisins (11%) and biscuit (15%) and held no surprises in terms of the ingredients listed - 'sugar, milk, cocoa butter, whey powder, vegetable fat ...'. What did surprise me somewhat about the packaging was that despite trying to appeal to a completely different consumer, they chose to keep it pretty consistent with the rest of the Milky bar range. Although I think the wrapper looks decent enough, I personally think there was scope for Nestle to have been a little more clever here. Since they are trying to attract older consumers back to the brand, why didn't they roll out a retro looking Milky bar wrapper and play off the nostalgia factor!?

Taking the chocolate out the foil wrapper I was a little more impressed by what I saw and smelt. The sweet dairy smells offered minor biscuit hints, which wasn't surprising giving the volume of raisin and nut pieces that were visually evident throughout the bar. Handily the bar was split into eight small sized blocks that broke pretty evenly despite the heavy portioning of the inner ingredients. I have to admit that it has been a pretty long time since I ate my last Milky bar, but from what I tasted today it is pretty obvious there have been some adaptations to the recipe since my last experience. Milky bars have always been very sweet tasting and sugar led in taste, but if my tastebuds are anything to go by it has become increasingly more so. The smooth milky flavours I'm so used to from my younger years seemed to be less prolific in the overall taste, and were dominated by a sharper, almost throat burning sugary flavour bursts. To be honest the chocolate was so sweet already the added sugaryness from the fruity raisins wasn't particularly welcome, and it simply culminated in the biscuit pieces not factoring in the taste at all. On the more positive side the raisins and biscuits did add decent textural elements with their respective chewy and crunchy influences, however the totality of the sugar led taste meant I could barely stomach more than a few blocks of this at a time making it for me a pretty unsatisfying snacking option.

Overall a little part of me does feel bad awarding one of my childhood favourite brands such a poor mark, but to be honest I have a little choice given the changes made to the recipe and the missed opportunities that this product presented. It will be interesting to hear from my readers as to whether they think that Milky bar white chocolate has changed down the years!? From what I can tell the product they offer now is significantly different to what it was a few years ago. Since Nestle don't give %'s of ingrdients on the wrapper there will be no way of telling, but I would be confident placing a vast sum of money on the level of milk solids depreciating and the level of sugar rising as time has gone on. In regards to the actual 'new' flavour enhancing raisin & biscuit elements, despite their generous implementation I didn't feel as if they added much to the taste given the dominance of the sweet white chocolate they were based in. Speaking of the missed opportunities, if Nestle are truley serious about going after the adult market, I would suggest they should have gone about it in an entirely different manner. I think that producing a limited edition Milkybar with an old school retro looking wrapper would probably have got the attention of the older consumers more, than this pretty kiddie sounding raisin & biscuit offering. Hey I just work in marketing - what do I know :D

6.7 out of 10