Global major Mars Wrigley Confectionery plans to accelerate its pace of growth in India with the introduction of new brands, expansion of its distribution network and launch of innovative formats.
In India, the company is known for its chocolate and confectionery brands such as Mars, Snickers, Twix, Galaxy, Bounty, Orbit, Boomer and M&M’s.
Andrew Leakey, General Manager, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, India told BusinessLine, “India is a high priority market for us at a global level. We are not just focussing on gaining a higher market share in India but also on growing the overall category. We believe India has a huge headroom for growth as the per capita consumption levels in our categories are still very low.”
In the past one year, the company has ramped up distribution network and product portfolio. Last year, it launched its iconic global brand M&M’s to tap into the bite-size chocolate segment. It also introduced affordable ₹10 price point for its chocolate brand Snickers, which has helped it double the brand’s distribution.
Leakey said, “We are next gearing up to bring another global brand to India before the end of this year. We will continue to expand through introduction of packaging innovations, bringing in global brands, where appropriate, and expansion of our distribution network for deeper penetration.”
The company is also expanding its portfolio with the introduction of a new product format under its brand Doublemint. “We are trying to create a new category with the launch of Doublemint Chewy Mints. It is not just a product innovation but also a packaging innovation,” he explained.
Leakey said the company is growing at a faster clip than the industry, which works out to be growth in double digits. “The confectionery and chocolate category growth is largely being driven by introduction of innovations and new pack sizes. Indian consumers are increasingly becoming discerning and looking for differentiated products and new consumption experiences,” he added.
Asked about the impact of the weakening of the rupee, Leakey said the company is leveraging on its manufacturing footprint in India to absorb these costs. “Our local manufacturing facilities and R&D centre in India, are helping us meet Indian consumer needs and to localise our global brands,” he added.
In India, for instance, the lack of cold-chain infrastructure has been a key challenge for distribution of chocolates in the tier 2-tier-3 markets. “ We piloted and launched heat-robust formulation of Snickers. We now plan to take it to other emerging market which have similar weather conditions,” Leakey said. The company is working with distributors to expand chiller infrastructure.