Top 5 Best and Worst Brazilian Chocolates by Lacta

by   |  May 9, 2014

It’s such a treat to explore the chocolates of other countries.   Not only is it exhilarating to savor the unique flavors, but it’s also fun to analyze the branding messages.

Kraft Foods Brazil

Lacta chocolates account for about one-third of Kraft’s total annual revenue in Brazil.

After sampling a variety of Brazilian chocolates, I have ranked them according to taste, texture, and how well the products measure up to their branding promises.   For your reading pleasure, I have even included some additional commentary on distribution, which, as you know has everything to do with supply chain.

You may notice this list is very Lacta-specific.   In fact, each one of the chocolates analyzed comes from the Lacta brand by Mondelez International (a subsidiary of the Kraft Foods).   This is not my intention, nor do I have some hidden agenda.   Someday when I visit Brazil, I will sample a much broader selection of chocolates.   On this occasion, however, I was only given a selection of Lacta chocolates, which are extremely popular in Brazil.

Ranking Lacta chocolates is not entirely inappropriate, seeing as the company boasts at least a 37% market share of Brazilian chocolates.   According to the President of Developing Markets Sanjay Khosla, Lacta revenues recently doubled and “the brand grew more than 22% on average annually”.

 

The products of this Brazilian chocolate powerhouse are worth evaluating for many reasons.   Now that your mouth is watering to find out more, this is how the Lacta chocolates measure up:

 First, the Winners in the

Best Brazilian Chocolates Category

Lacta Chocolates, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods in Brazil

Lacta chocolates boast a 37% market share in the Brazilian chocolate industry.

#1: Lancy

The Lancy chocolate is the winner in every way.   The bonbon—in this case a chocolate center encased in wafer—is to die for.   The center is a smooth hazelnut chocolate with tiny chunks of hazelnut.   A yummy layer milk chocolate enrobes the bonbon.   The texture is a perfect balance between crispy and creamy.

The Lancy shape is engineered to maximize a pleasurable taste experience.   From a bird’s eye view it is rectangular, but the two bonbons give the chocolate a nice curvy shape.   I read an excellent article recently on how round shapes taste better than angular shapes as they melt in the mouth.   An added bonus of Lancy is that it’s a nice size for most mouths, too.

The packaging is attractive and easy to understand, even for one who doesn’t speak Portuguese.   The swirly blue background goes nicely with the White embossed Lancy logo.   The picture clearly communicates the anatomy and contents of the chocolate.

A subscript underscores the picture so there is no mistaking, “Bonbon stuffed with chocolate covered hazelnuts. Contains synthetic flavoring identical to the natural [ones].”   Okay, that last part makes me chuckle, but the marketers get points for honesty.

For its delectable taste, enjoyable texture and clear and attractive packaging, this chocolate wins the prize in all categories.

Taste: 9.5

Texture: 9

Branding: 10

Total Score: 28.5

 

#2 ““ Bis

Lacta Chocolate Varieties

The Bis milk chocolate wafer is Lacta’s top-selling chocolate product in Brazil.

 

The Bis is Kraft’s top-selling chocolate in Brazil.   The product features milk chocolate-covered wafers, individually wrapped.   The texture and flavor are quite enjoyable.   The package features the classic Lacta blue shades, but with an angular design to denote the wafers’ crunchy texture.   The enlarged illustration shows the crispy wafers interlaced with chocolate, enticing the consumer to try.   The inscription appropriately reads, “Filled wafer covered with chocolate” in Portuguese and Spanish.   This gives me the impression that the Bis product is popular in Brazil and Spanish-speaking countries, and after tasting them, I can see why.

The crispy, yummy wafers live up to the package’s promise.   This chocolate earns high scores in the taste, texture and branding categories.

Taste: 9.5

Texture: 9

Branding: 9

Total Score: 27.5

 

#3: Amandita

The Amandita chocolate is identical to Lancy but without the hazelnut chunks.   I think the creamy center of the bonbon is smooth hazelnut chocolate, but there is nothing on the package to support my theory.   As aforementioned, the shape and texture make eating this candy a delight.   The taste is very sweet and appealing to the pallet.

The individual package looks pretty good.   It has a cross-sectional picture of what you are about to eat, which is nice so you know what to expect.   The actual chocolate lives up to the picture, which is also nice, because that means the product lives up to the expectation created in your mind of the brand’s promise.   The subscription reads, “Wafer filled with cream topped with cocoa covered with chocolate.”   Perhaps not the most gracefully constructed sentence, but it paints a valid picture.

Since this chocolate tastes so similar to Lancy, but I still don’t know if it’s supposed to taste like hazelnuts or not, it doesn’t score as highly on the branding scale as Lancy does.

Taste: 9.5

Texture: 9

Branding: 8

Total Score: 26.5

 

#4 ““ Sonho de Valsa ““ “Dream of the Waltz” or “Waltz Dream”

The branding of this chocolate is cute though rather kitschy.   That’s probably because this is one of Lacta’s oldest products.   The cartoonish look probably hearkens back to its original 1938 design.   Until you cultivate an appreciation for this Lacta classic, the design seems rather amateurish compared to those of Lacta’s newer products.

The packaging has an illustration of musical notes on a staff that encircles the yellow and black logo.   The background is a metallic pink with four identical drawings of a woman in a yellow dress dancing with a man in a black tux with tails.   On the outer fringes of the candy, a wavy musical staff is punctuated by yellow violins.

It’s kind of cute.   Yet being the Austria and dance snob that I am, I scoff somewhat at the historical inaccuracy of the waltzing woman’s dress and the improper form of the dancers’ poses.   And being the music snob that I am, I’m somewhat put off but the half-hearted notes strewn haphazardly on a clef-less and meter-less staff, but no matter.

I’m slightly less bothered by the lack of inscription to let the consumer know what to expect with the candy.   This appears to be a common theme with Lacta’s metallic candy wrappers, whereas the more plastic wrappers are more descriptive (and well-designed).

By insulting the branding of Lacta’s older products, I’m probably undermining years of intensive market research that helped Kraft determine their designs.   But I can’t be blamed because all I can do is give my impressions and reactions as a consumer.

The considerably ugly wrapper is forgiven once the consumer bites into the enormous and yummy bonbon.   Due to the lack of inscription, I had to research what I was eating to discover that the creamy inside is cashew-based.   As cashew creams are rare, I am delighted as I devour Sonho de Valsa.   A milk chocolate exterior surrounds a crunchy wafer filled with the cashew cream with chunks of cashew nuts.   Yum!

In a taste contest, Sonho de Valsa would perform better in relation to the other chocolates.   However, it loses points in this competition because its wrapper is kind of hideous.   I think the wrapper does the chocolate a huge disservice by failing to describe what’s inside, but that’s just me.

Taste: 9.5

Texture: 8

Branding: 7.5

Total Score: 25

 

#4 ““ Bis Laka

Bis Laka is the white chocolate version of the Bis chocolate wafers.   The description on the package reads, “Filled wafer covered with white chocolate”.

Bis Laka is pretty good if you’re bored and have nothing better to eat.   The flavor of the white chocolate is supposed to be the same as that of Laka, Lacta’s standard white chocolate.   For some reason, though, the flavor tastes slightly different when coupled with the wafers in Bis Laka.

The packaging is comparable to that of the milk chocolate Bis, which was a real winner in this competition.   The difference between this white chocolate version and the standard Bis also parallels the differences between the Lacta chocolate and white chocolate bars.   The branding is consistent and the texture enjoyable, so this chocolate scores highly in those two areas.   As such, its total score ties with that on Sonho de Valsa.

Taste: 7

Texture: 9

Branding: 9

Total Score: 25

 

#5 ““ Lacta Au Leite ““ “Lactation Milk” (Milk Chocolate)

Ignore the horrendous English translation of the name.   Just trust me that it sounds better in Portuguese.   This product is the most basic milk chocolate that Lacta makes.   The bite-size portions come in an interesting, asymmetrical shape that is pleasing to eat.   The larger white chocolate bar is just a massive versions of the bite-sized variety.

The wrapper looks pretty cool.   The background includes attractive shades of blue and a swirling, melted milk chocolate illustration around the logo.   The packaging makes the chocolate look yummy and even slightly refreshing to eat.

The texture is as simple as one could expect milk chocolate to be.   I like that it tastes lighter and not as waxy as some American chocolates.   The taste isn’t bad; it’s just not very high-quality chocolate.   It’s so sugary that it kind of burns the back of your throat as you eat it.   For this reason, it doesn’t score very highly in the taste category.

Lacta Au Leite is not quite as tasty as the next chocolate on the list, Laka.   However, its branding is superior, so these two tie for the #5 spot.

Taste: 7.5

Texture: 8

Branding: 9

Total Score: 24.5

 

#5 ““ Laka ““ (White Chocolate)

Laka is Lacta’s standard white chocolate.   The shape and texture of Laka are comparable to the Lacta Au Leite milk chocolate, so they score the same in the texture category.

The packaging is nothing special, but it effectively conveys the product’s meaning and what the consumer can expect.   The wrapper is white—appropriately—with a melted white chocolate swirl around the Laka logo.   There is an enlarged illustration to show texture.

I love the disclaimer on the side of the package that says, “Merely illustrative image”.   This is comparable to the US disclaimer, “Enlarged to show texture,” on cereal boxes.

The package looks enticing enough and it doesn’t get the consumer’s expectations up too high.   The chocolate lives up to its not-too-exciting promise, because it tastes decent for white chocolate but isn’t the best-tasting stuff on earth.

Taste: 8

Texture: 8

Branding: 8.5

Total Score: 24.5

 

And Now, the Winners of the

Worst Brazilian Chocolates Category

The Best and Worst Brazilian Chocolates

The Best and Worst Brazilian Chocolates

 

#1 – Diamante Negro ““ “Black Diamond”

The Diamante Negro boasts a fancy name that means “black diamond”.   The package is a stark black with white and grey on the logo.   Shiny silver circles surround the logo, accented by a dark diamond.   The inscription reads, “Milk chocolate with crunchy.”   Crunchy what?   It’s very mysterious and intriguing.

The label really looks cool.   When I first saw it, I was intrigued as to what kind of chocolate was hiding inside.   It seemed so enticing and forbidden.   The wrapper looks intense and signals to the consumer, perhaps, that this chocolate is not for the faint-hearted.   This is for serious chocolate consumers only.

At least, that was my impression as a consumer from the US.   Perhaps my assumptions were somewhat skewed by my years of experience as a skier.   On the ski slopes, a black diamond is the most difficult kind of terrain, and a double black diamond is for “Experts Only”.   The dark, intense appearance of the wrapper did signal the “experts only” in my mind, and perhaps this had something to do with it.

Personal experience aside, I thought at least that the dark packaging might have something to do with the dark chocolate inside.   Upon opening it, I realized that it was just milk chocolate.   For that, the marketing instantly lost points.

If only the “milk chocolate” were the same as Lacta Au Lait.   Unfortunately, Lacta seems to vacillate between two of its typical milk chocolate flavors.   The first is the original Lacta au Leite flavor, which isn’t the highest quality chocolate but is sweet and pleasant.   Then there’s this awful diarrhea milk chocolate flavor that is unpalatable.   In all of Lacta’s worst chocolates, this diarrhea milk chocolate flavor abounds and I don’t understand why.

As if the bad milk chocolate weren’t unpalatable enough, Diamante Negro makes itself even more grotesque by throwing in little shards of sugar—presumably little chips of “diamond”.   I would give them points for creativity, but just thinking about how gross it was to eat makes my stomach turn while writing this.   The texture was very disturbing.

Whatever Diamante Negro’s wrapper attempts to convey, it has little to do with the chocolate inside.   I was not just misled by the packaging and disappointed by the actual chocolate inside; I was disgusted.   I couldn’t stand the taste or the texture.   I took one bite and asked a friend to finish the rest of the chocolate for me.

When I learned that Diamante Negro is also one of Lacta’s oldest chocolate products, I was even more baffled, confused, and upset by the branding.   The wrapper looked pretty modern and updated, which made me wonder why Kraft Foods had not updated the ugly wrapper of Sonho de Valsa (created in the same year as Diamante Negro).   Clearly, some thought had gone into the packaging of Diamante Negro since the chocolate’s introduction in 1938.   Maybe the enticing wrapper was the only way the company could compensate for the chocolate’s awful taste.

I can’t say enough negative things about Diamante Negro.  I’m surprised anybody eats this chocolate product.   Perhaps Lacta can only sell it in variety packs, like the one I found it in.   The product must be Lacta’s equivalent of licorice-flavored jelly beans.

Taste: 3

Texture: 4

Branding: 5

Total Score: 12

 

#2 ““ Amendoim ““ “Peanut”

As you eat Amendoim, it becomes clear that peanut butter is not popular in Brazil.   If you know what good peanut butter candy is supposed to taste like, you start to wonder if the makers of Amendoim have ever tasted real peanut butter in their lives.

The wrapper has a mixture of cool and nasty-looking elements.   You see the Lacta logo in the center, flooded with the pretty blue color you associate with Lacta milk chocolate.   Around that you see the familiar melted chocolate swirl that Lacta lovers find so endearing.   But the background colors change from blue to yellow-orange to red in a rather gross-looking manner.   After tasting the gross chocolate, my aversion to the colors only increases.

This candy is a poor excuse for chocolate-covered peanut butter.   The only thing pleasant about eating it—besides being finished once you’re done eating it—is the decently smooth texture.   Aside from that, you must stomach some not-really-peanut butter filling covered in diarrhea milk chocolate.

Taste: 5

Texture: 8

Branding: 7

Total Score: 20

 

#3 – Ouro Branco ““ “White Gold”

Much like the Diamante Negro, the Ouro Branco sports an illustrious jewelry-themed name that means “black diamond”.   And much like the Diamante Negro, the Ouro Branco severely disappoints.

The name is clever, though a bit confusing in relation to the actual chocolate.   The “white” in the name points to the layer of white chocolate that surrounds a crispy wafer that encases delicious, nutty milk chocolate.   The packaging is a metallic yellow as if to give the semblance of yellow gold.   The logo is brown and white, which complement the yellow.

If I had designed the packaging, I would have included much more metallic white with just a touch of yellow gold around the logo.   This would give it a more consistent “white gold” sort of feel, only referencing yellow gold but not overdoing it.   The overemphasis on the yellow gold is confusing to the consumer.   It loses further points for omitting a subscript to help the consumer understand what he or she is about to eat.

The white chocolate has a kind of a nasty, bitter taste.   It’s a shame because it ruins the rest of an otherwise delicious piece of candy.   The bonbon has the same delicious wafer and milk chocolate you come to expect from Lacta.   What a shame to brand the entire chocolate around the nasty outer white chocolate layer.   With a name like “white gold”, you expect the white chocolate part to be especially enjoyable.   But upon eating the chocolate, one becomes instantly disappointed.   This makes it lose major points of both taste and branding scales.

Ouro Branco has been around since 1960.   It was Brazil’s first white chocolate-coated candy.   I don’t understand why its revolting outer layer doesn’t taste like Laka, the normal white chocolate.   Again, Ouro Branco makes me even more puzzled as to how and when and why and under what circumstances the Lacta marketers choose to update their packaging—or not.

Taste: 6

Texture: 8

Branding: 7

Total Score: 21

 

#4 ““ Bubbly

Bubbly by Lacta, a Brazilian Chocolate

Bubbly by Lacta in Brazil (and Cadbury in the UK) bears striking resemblance to Aero, a chocolate sold in the UK. The two distinct chocolate products have very similar taste and texture.

 

Bubbly has a unique texture, nice packaging, but a rather mediocre flavor.   The slightly bitter taste is the same as that of Cadbury, another brand of Mondelez International.   I know people who are just mad about Cadbury chocolates, but I’m not among that crowd.

Speaking of British chocolates, Bubbly reminds me a lot of Aero, a chocolate distributed in the UK.   Aero is manufactured by Nestle, whereas Bubbly is a Kraft product.   I wonder if the developers of one product copied the originators of the other, or if their similarities are just coincidental.

The Bubbly wrapper features lovely metallic blue shades that go well with the brown, white and silver accents throughout.   I appreciate the illustration of the chocolate’s shape and texture.   The packaging is beautiful and appropriately simple; no inscription is needed to clarify what’s in the wrapper.

The texture is interesting and worth exploring for the sheer novelty of eating bubbly chocolate.   The eating experience, however, would be more enjoyable if the chocolate actually tasted good.   Bubbly is the frothy version of the diarrhea flavor of Lacta milk chocolate.   I’m not a fan.

Taste: 6

Texture: 7.5

Branding: 9

Total Score: 22.5

 

Summary

 

5 Best Brazilian Chocolates

(Lacta, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods)

Rank

Name

Description

Score

1

Lancy Bonbon stuffed with chocolate covered hazelnuts

28.5

2

Bis Filled wafer covered with chocolate

27.5

3

Amandita Wafer filled with cream topped with cocoa covered with chocolate

26.5

4

Sonho de Valsa Cashew cream-filled bonbon

25

4

Bis Laka White chocolate wafers

25

5

Lacta Au Leite Milk chocolate

24.5

5

Laka White chocolate

24.5

 

4 Worst Brazilian Chocolates

(Lacta, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods)

Rank

Name

Description

Score

1

Diamante Negro Milk chocolate with crunchy sugar shards

12

2

Amendoim Chocolate covered peanut butter

20

3

Ouro Branco White chocolate covered chocolate bonbon

21

4

Bubbly Milk chocolate with bubbly texture

22.5

 

Analysis of Lacta Chocolate Products in General

Mondelez International says that the Lacta brand is over 100 years old now.   It was originally inspired by Swiss chocolates.   I don’t think these products taste anything like authentic Swiss chocolates.   My first impression while sampling them was that they had more in common with chocolates I’ve seen in Argentina and the US.

On the other hand, I started to note more similarities between Lacta and Swiss-like chocolates when I learned that the European brand Milka was another Mondelez International brand.   This altered my initial perceptions that Lacta had little in common with authentic Swiss chocolates..

There are a few plausible theories to explain why Lacta doesn’t taste much like Swiss chocolates today.   Since Lacta is made in Brazil for Brazilians, it is not entirely surprising that after 100 years, it would come to taste quite different from authentic Swiss chocolates.   Products change over time according to consumer preferences, supply and demand, and the relative rates of success that incremental changes yield to sales.

The other theory is this: perhaps Lacta chocolates never tasted like Swiss chocolates in the first place.   Being so geographically separated from Europe, Lacta creators probably lacked the means of comparing their concoctions to authentic Swiss chocolates in any real-time fashion.   Luckily for them, they could get away with not having their chocolates taste quite Swiss because most Brazilian consumers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.

I had lots of fun sampling Lacta’s chocolates and learning more about their company.   I hope you found my analysis to be enlightening.   If nothing else, I suspect it put you in the mood to eat some sweets.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried Lacta or any other Brazilian chocolates?   Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

The Lancy shape is engineered to maximize a pleasurable taste experience.   From a bird’s eye view it is rectangular, but the two bonbons give the chocolate a nice curvy shape.   I read an excellent article recently on how round shapes taste better than angular shapes as they melt in the mouth.   An added bonus of Lancy is that it’s a nice size for most mouths, too.

More on: Branding, Business, Consumer Packaged Goods, Food & Edible Products, Marketing
About the Author:

Mimi West is a consummate entrepreneur, brand and marketing expert. This retired opera singer and Founder of My Dream Teacher is now pursuing her MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Administration. You can follower her on Twitter: @MimiGuynnWest.
Publshed: May 9, 2014  | 
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