The Homegrown Chocolate Master in Hong Kong: 50 years of Craftsmanship and Uniqueness


When it comes to chocolate, the first thing that pops up in mind are always the classical European brands from Belgium and France. However, more attention should be given to Lucullus, a homegrown chocolate mastery brand with a half-century of history. Christopher Lai (Chris), Executive Director of Lucullus Alliance Group Limited, commented that Hong Kong chocolatiers are no less superior than their foreign counterparts, and are better at understanding local consumer tastes. That is why Lucullus regularly introduces new products, such as the “Lucky Dragon Chocolate Mahjong” launched for the Year of the Dragon and the "Tramway Chocolate Signage" created in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tramways. The aim is to bring pleasant surprises to the discerning customers, showcase local excellence, and promote baking craftsmanship while nurturing new talents for the industry.


Grasping Market Pulse: The Makeover of a Traditional Bakery

The confectionery market is flourishing, and more customers have learnt to appreciate the charms of fine chocolates. Chris believes this actually helps Lucullus stand out from the crowded market. “Import chocolate makers typically don’t craft their recipes for regional markets. In contrast, we craft our chocolates to cater local market. For example, we provide low sugar dark chocolates, as well as vegan chocolate options. Lucullus source finest ingredients from suppliers in proximity and tailored products for consumers in Hong Kong and China.”

While preserving the Hong Kong heritage behind the 50-year-old brand, Chris understands that it is equally important to innovate and inject new vitality into the brand. To rejuvenate its image, Lucullus underwent a series of rebranding activities in 2020, which included store renovations to add more exquisiteness and modern brand elements. They also launched the Lucullus Cacao Chocolate cafes, expanded into the bakery market, and developed a full range of “3C” bakery products (Chocolate, Cookie, Cake) to retain existing customers and attract younger ones.

“We also introduced a membership program, and to date, we have accumulated nearly 100,000 active members. Our members can accumulate loyalty points using the Lucullus app and enjoy special discounts during festive seasons. Data shows that 60% of our customers are women aged between 30 to 40. Moving forward, we hoped to expand our customer base to include the Gen Z (those around 20 years old) to allow a wider range of consumers to enjoy Lucullus's craftsmanship and its rich local culture.”


From Pioneer to Tenacity 
From Standardisation to Digitalisation

Lucullus’s history can be traced back to 1976 when it began as the central kitchen of the Peninsula Hotel. The following year, it spun off to develop independently, then the business took off as its became a supplier of pastries, desserts, red wine, and meat to retail, hotels, airlines, and caterers across Hong Kong.

The group has been a digital pioneer since 35 years ago, being one of the first companies to use barcodes and electronic means to identify and obtain product information. With the popularity of the internet and smart devices, the group continues to enhance its online shopping experience using barcodes, providing convenience for users to search for their products and tapping into consumer trends more easily through data analysis.

Dragon Island, the gourmet food factory based in the mainland, was established by the Lucullus Alliance Group in 1995 and has been using the ezTRADE electronic commerce platform for paperless transactions with major supermarkets such as PARKnSHOP and Jusco in Hong Kong all the way until now. The EDI system had significantly reduced manual data input and improved order and data accuracy during the initial years of implementation, while ezTRADE has allowed Lucullus to maintain smooth trading activities with buyers from both China and Hong Kong for all these years.

The Lucullus retail stores have also adopted GS1 Hong Kong’s Digital Coupons in recent years. The results are multifaceted, including saving printing time and costs, allowing for the distribution of promotions through social networks and email, enhancing the effectiveness of promotional activities and enabling the measurement of marketing activity results.


Diversifying and Assuming Social Responsibility

Lucullus’s “3C” products have attracted more corporate clients to place customized orders for company anniversaries and festive corporate gifts. Chris mentioned that besides retail, wholesale, and corporate businesses, the group also provides production consultancy, cold chain, and brand management services. “The group has a total of about 500 employees working in the mainland factories, offices, and 23 Hong Kong retail stores. I am proud to say, we have undergone a profound transformation from central kitchen to multi-sector company.”

In 2021, the group acquired a 35-acre land parcel in Heshan, Jiangmen, and invested HK$200 million to establish the Lucullus Food Industrial Park (Lucullus Park), significantly increasing its production capacity in mainland China. The group also developed the Lucullus Park into a tourist attraction and invited domestic and international businesses for site visits to better understand the chocolate production process.

“The Lucullus Park is equipped with solar plant and advanced sewage treatment systems to support sustainable development. It is also designed and inspected regularly by professional to ensure production lines are operated to maintain best practices in energy-saving and carbon reduction. Many businesses expressed interest in collaborating with Lucullus Park at the end of the tour, brought us unforeseen business opportunities.” Chris aspires to develop Lucullus Park into industrial tourism based in the Greater Bay Area.

As an industry leader, Lucullus Park actively collaborates with educational institutions in Guangdong and Hong Kong to promote baking culture and nurture industry talents, empowering the younger generation to pursue their dreams of becoming professional bakers. Chris believes that this is Lucullus' corporate social responsibility, in which they not only contribute to industry advancement, but also help the company go further.