It's the question many Kiwis ask about the chocolate company, especially at this time of the year: Why doesn't Whittaker's make an Easter egg?

The Porirua-based chocolate manufacturer produces mini slabs, king-size chocolate bars, snack-size chocolates and a hollow chocolate kiwi available around Easter but it has never created a traditional oval chocolate egg.

Whittaker's first introduced its dark chocolate and milk chocolate kiwi-shaped chocolate figurine in 2016 and since then have become a staple in supermarkets' Easter assortments.

The Herald asked Whittaker's to discuss the question and its views on the traditional Easter egg, but the manufacturer turned down the request for an interview.

Advertisement

Instead, the company said its hollow chocolate kiwi was its "own twist on the traditional bunny and egg".

"At Whittaker's we have always done things our own way. As a proud New Zealand company, we wanted to celebrate our national kiwi icon and create our own twist on the traditional bunny and egg."

Whittaker's Easter egg is shaped as a Kiwi. Photo / Whittaker's Facebook
Whittaker's Easter egg is shaped as a Kiwi. Photo / Whittaker's Facebook

Whittaker's said the chocolate kiwi is "nestled around an Easter egg", and that the shape was a link to its partnership with Kiwis for kiwi, a hatchery and charity that supports conservation, which it donates a portion of its profits to from the sale of the figurine each year.

Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group, said one reason Whittaker's doesn't produce a traditional shaped Easter egg like other chocolate manufacturers such as Cadbury was that the process for making eggs was complex.

"[It] often requires more manual inputs, while the market is limited to a short season. Issues of packaging and freight are also tricky for these products," Wilkinson said.

"Whittaker's is highly automated with its efficiency driven through specialisation into a limited format of chocolate-based bar products. Adding a line specific to a product of limited demand, would not make sense when the company continues to grow its market locally and internationally."

Whittaker's, therefore, may not be interested in creating an Easter egg-shaped product, which could get in the way of wider growth opportunities through exports, he said.

Costs associated with leftover product after Easter and difficulties around freight and transportation could also be determining factors, he said.

Advertisement

"For Whittaker's there may be demand, but they won't want to cloud their core ranges, or want to get into the competition for shelf space."

Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said there would be strong demand for an egg-shaped Whittaker's product but acknowledged the company had likely deliberately not created one.

"It's likely Whittaker's have chosen to stand out from the crowd with their chocolate Kiwi," Laird said. "It's highly likely we'd consider ranging a Whittaker's Easter egg if they went down that path."

Countdown operator Woolworths NZ said it would consider stocking a Whittaker's egg-shaped product if it decided to make one.