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New Zealand’s “most trusted” chocolate brand expands to Malaysia

Family-owned chocolate maker Whittaker’s has announced it is expanding into the Malaysian market allowing its New Zealand-made chocolates to be sold by major retailers.

The family business, founded in 1896, has previously only supplied its chocolate range to Malaysian duty free shops.

Fourth-gen Matt Whittaker, head of international markets, says flavours being introduced have not previously been available in the Malaysian market, such as such as peanut butter, macadamia nut and dark peppermint fondant.

Whittaker said because the chocolate maker controlled the production process “from bean to bar” it could guarantee the Halal status of its products for the largely Islamic country.

He added that control over the manufacturing process has ensured high levels of quality and all products are made in one factory located in Wellington, ensuring no deviations of recipe from country to country.

The company said it would use major retailers, such as Tesco’s and AEON Big, as its initial trade channels with the view to expand into further channels in the future.

The 118-year-old business promotes its family ownership through its advertising and website, and last year won the top honour in the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand survey for the second year running.

The third generation brothers who run the company, Andrew and Brian Whittaker, are notoriously private, but the fourth generation has held a more public role with Matt and his sister, Holly, both fronting as brand spokespersons for media. 

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