NEW DELHI: Indian consumers are becoming choosy when it comes to buying chocolates and this is enabling foreign chocolate makers to bring in their billion-dollar brands into the country . A current example is M&M's, the iconic colourful button-shaped chocolates, from the US-based candy producer Mars, the maker of Snickers, Twix and Wrigley and its namesake chocolate.
"The chocolate category is getting sophisticated in India," said Andrew Leaky, GM, India & Indian subcontinent of Mars Chocolate. "Consumers are becoming more demanding of the right brands and the right marketplace. They want to see somet hing new and fresh."
Mars ente red India in 2004 and cur rently sells con fectionery brands such as Twix, Bounty , Mars and Galaxy here. India contributes around 5% to Mars' revenues globally, according to industry estimates.
"India is one of our top ten focus markets," said Leaky ."We want to grow the bite-sized chocolate segment, in which M&M's falls, from1% currently to around 35%." Globally , the Rs 7,000 crore Indian chocolate market is one of the few that is witnessing growth. Consumption in the US, the world's largest chocolate market, declined 3% on an average over the past decade, according to UBS.
"The chocolate market in India is growing at around 6-7%," said Leaky. "We will be introducing more brands from the Mars portfolio." India consumed around 2.2 lakh tonnes worth of chocolates in 2016, according to London-based firm Mintel, and along with Poland, was among the only two markets to witness growth last year.