Chocolate players have expanded their portfolios with new launches targeted at the gifting segment and reconfigured offerings in line with the evolving consumer trends, backed by e-commerce strategies in this pandemic year.
Analysts pointed out that in the first half of the year, the chocolates and confectionery segment witnessed challenging times due to lower discretionary consumption, weaker demand in urban regions and disruptions in the modern trade. But companies said they are seeing positive consumer sentiment and demand has seen an uptick in second half of the year.
Anil Viswanathan, Senior Director, Marketing (Chocolates), Insights and Analytics, Mondelez India said, “Over the years, Mondelez India has come to be an intrinsic part of festivals in the country with Cadbury Celebrations redefining the joy of festive gifting. Pandemic or not, we are here to continue spreading the joy of gifting and make sure that the celebration season remains unhindered. We have reconfigured our offerings to suit the new normal, whether it is expanding our gifting portfolio with different SKUs and brands or accelerating our efforts in the e-commerce space while complimenting it with focussed marketing strategies.”
He said that company has seen personalised and premium gifting picking up even as consumers are operating with 50-70 per cent of the budget compared to last year. “The sentiment is definitely positive and we believe this festive season will be as blazing as it has always been as consumers gear to rejoice the festivities,” Viswanathan added.
Over the years, companies have been betting on the shift in consumer preference from traditional sweets to chocolate gifting. In a bid to grow its penetration and distribution, Ferrero India launched its more affordable gifting brand Ferrero Rocher Moments ahead of the season.“We are expanding our gifting portfolio with three brands, we will have special Kinder Joy Diwali packs to encourage the concept of kids’ gifting. Ferrero Rocher and Ferrero Rocher Moments will provide consumers with a wider choice across price points in formal and informal gifting,” Stefano Pelle, Managing Director, Ferrero India told BusinessLine last month.
With acceleration in adoption of digital platforms, industry players have also been looking at innovative strategies to ramp up focus on e-commerce. This festival season, Hershey India has launched its e-gift voucher initiative in collaboration with digital gifting player, GyFTR and Grofers. Herjit Bhalla, Hershey India MD, said, “In this new normal, the launch of the Hershey’s e-gift voucher offers a perfect solution for contactless gifting, so our consumers can gift the deliciousness of Hershey’s products to their loved ones despite being apart.”
Nikhil Chand, Director, Foods and Confectionery, Nestlé India added, “With the new reality and changed lifestyles, e-commerce as a channel has continued to grow. We have seen increasing interest during the year particularly for brands like Kitkat Dessert Delight, as well as in ‘home’ packs of Kitkat, Munch, Milkybar Eclairs and Nestle Polo.” The company has recently launched Kitkat “Glow in the Dark Packs” for the festival season.
This season saw the entry of new players. Zydus Wellness has forayed into the premium dark chocolate category with the launch of Sugar Free D’lite chocolates. Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness said, “Sugar Free is a name synonymous to the sugar substitute category and we have used this very experience to enter the chocolate category. This launch is extremely important for us given the current consumer demand and is in line with our company’s vision to innovate products that will pave the way to a healthy life.”