Nestle goes premium

Written by Anushree Bhattacharyya | Updated: Jul 31 2013, 00:15am hrs
Nestle has finally entered the premium chocolate category in India by launching Alpinothe chocolate bonbons made popular in Brazil. While the premium chocolate brand retains its classic taste, when it comes to appearance, Nestle has Indianised it so that it looks somewhat like the Indian laddoo, albeit wrapped in a golden sheet of paper.

The Swiss FMCG company is hoping that Alpino will be able to take on Toblerone which Cadbury launched in India last year as well as Ferrero Rocher. Cadbury also has Bournville and Cadbury Silk which it markets as luxury chocolates. While there are existing players in the market we believe that we have made a great entry into the category because of the uniqueness of the brand proposition which will helps us to create new consumption occasions in the premium category, said Mayur Bhargava, general manager, chocolate and confectionery, Nestle India.

According to industry estimates, the chocolate market is worth R 5,500 crore, of which the premium segment accounts for 30% share. Cadbury India continues to lead with 67% market share, Nestle has a market share of 23.5%, while other players including Ferrero International make up the remaining. Interestingly, the premium chocolate category is growing at a much faster rate that is, 30% annually compared to that of the regular category.

The chocolate category has grown at a healthy 21% over last year, and the premium segment with 43% value growth is the driving force behind it. The growth of the premium category is attributed to the manufacturers focussed efforts within modern trade, and the sustained used of investments in efficient cooling systems in traditional trade. said Vijay Udasi, executive director, Nielsen India. The premium segment is expected to continue its growth rate. This available opportunity as well as the entry of international players in the last couple of years, indicates an increase in competition in this space, and makes it a category to look out for, he added.

Alpino rides on the brand proposition of sharing and is targeted at couples in the 17-70 years age group, says the company. Interestingly, each pack, priced at R 25, comes with a tray that has messages such as Apposite attract, Awesome twosome, and Mine yours, written on it. The pack has two bonbons placed on a tray with a message written on it. Then when you open the sticker, once again each bonbon carries a different message. We have 150 different messages which we will continue to renovate and innovate with time, explained Bhargava.

Nestle is embarking on a high-decibel campaign to market the brand. The television ad campaign created by ad agency JWT will focus on relationships and the importance of sharing. Additionally, the company will roll out activations in cinema theatres which it feels is a perfect place to attract couples apart from creating displays at point-of-purchase (POP) and point-of-sale (POS). A digital campaign will also be launched and the brand will be promoted on Nestle Indias social media pages. Traders too will be made to sample the product as we believe that the trade needs to win and understand the product first, so that they can sell it to consumers. Alpino will be available across 30,000 outlets in 50 towns by the end of this month,added Bhargava.

According to Bhargava, the launch of Alpino is the companys first step into the premium chocolate category in India and it plans to expand on the brand to build its premium portfolio in the country.