Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Hershey’s Kisses Air Delight
Hershey’s has come out with dozens of varieties of Kisses over the past ten years or so. They’ve filled them with Peanut Butter, Cherry Cordial, Caramel and Coconut while others were flavored like Candy Corn and Mint. The new Hershey’s Kisses Air Delight are the first I can think of that are less than other Kisses. They’re not filled with chocolate, they’re filled with little air bubbles.
Aerated chocolate is nothing new, it’s actually quite popular in other countries like the United Kingdom where the Cadbury Wispa is popular and Japan where the Nestle Aero bar comes at least a half a dozen seasonal varieties. (Hershey’s says that aerated chocolate is a $500 million dollar market segment worldwide.) The new Air Delight line is a first for Hershey’s though. In addition to the new Kisses, there’s also a bar version which weighs the same as a regular bar (1.44 ounces) but has almost 20% more volume.
The Kisses are molded, but look like virtually all other non-classic Kisses. The foil wrapper is silver with brown dots on it. The little flag says Air Delight. They do actually feel lighter than a regular Kiss. The bite is soft or if you’re not a chewer, they do melt much quicker. The flavor isn’t quite the regular Hershey’s milk chocolate twang, but there are some sour notes in there. It’s not quite fudgy, but a little salty and milky. I have to say that just a half a dozen were very satisfying and they go nicely with other snacks like pretzels, nuts or Cheez-its. It’s rather smooth, but I wouldn’t call it rich. The melt is like a chocolate frosting - a little on the sugary side and not enough chocolate and certainly not enough cocoa butter. But it’s candy.
So the chocolate is lighter, because they put air bubbles in there, diluting the chocolate. The same “classic bag” of solid Kisses is 12 ounces. The Kisses Air Delight is 9.4 ounces. A standard portion size (200 calories) is 9 pieces (40 grams). For Air Delight it’s 11 pieces (41 grams). So each Air Delight Kiss is approximately 3.64 grams, while a classic Hershey’s Kiss is 4.44 grams, or approximately 18% lighter.
I like the idea of having an American version of a style of confection that seems to be available everywhere else. The addition of air does make the melt more pronounced and heighten the flavors. It’s also a darn clever way of giving consumer less for the same money. But sometimes we, apparently, want less for our money. The fact that chocolate can hold such a texture is a bit of a marvel, but like many molecular gastronomy novelties, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that it’s good. I’ve had my fair share of aerated chocolate products over the years and find that I’m not particularly enamored of them - but since Hershey’s pointed out that there’s a half a billion dollar market out there for the stuff, I guess it’d be silly of them not to try.
Hershey’s marketing information promises that this will be their largest Hershey’s Kisses Brand introduction in 5 years (I’m guessing the last was the now defunct Kissables) and the largest Hershey’s launch in 10 years. What that means for consumers is a greater likelihood that you’ll actually be able to find them in stores, if you’re looking for them. The Kisses Air Delight are supposed to be on shelves in early June 2011.
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