Chocolate, chewing gum and other confectionery maker Mars Wrigley India is expanding its product portfolio and footprint across the country to drive growth.
The company has entered the growing dark chocolate segment under the Galaxy Fusions brand and is expanding local production of its global chocolate range. An India-only variant, Snickers Berry Whip, a strawberry-flavoured bar, has just been launched.
Kalpesh R Parmar, country general manager, Mars Wrigley India, said 2022 was a great year for the industry with high double-digit growth, and India was one of the fastest-growing markets for Mars.
“This marks an important milestone for us as we expand our local manufacturing capabilities to make globally loved brands in India with the same quality and signature recipes. This undoubtedly allows us greater production and fresh availability to a larger number of Indian consumers,” Parmar said.
With the addition of the dark chocolate to the Galaxy portfolio, the brand expects to grow in double digits to consolidate its position in the top three chocolate brands in the molded segment in India.
Apart from expanding the product portfolio, Mars is expanding its footprint in the country and has now reached 6,000 plus towns. Growth for the company in India would come from these markets in the next five to eight years, Parmar said.
The biggest drivers for this expansion have been the price point of Rs 10 to Rs 20, which helped the company penetrate the market and made their products accessible. Parmar said rural is now a high double-digit contribution for Mars and it would look at sustaining the Rs 10 price point for the next two years.
This expansion is significant as around 75% of the country’s chocolate sales come from small shops and local grocers. Parmar said the company will hold these price points so that the products continue to be affordable and relevant. According to Parmar, the average global size of chocolate is 50 g, but in India it is 12 g.
The metro market and demand for premium products will continue but the sweet spot is the mass market where the company is keen on making its presence felt, Parmar said. In the gums, mints and confectioneries segment, around 75-80% of its business is at the Rs 1 price point.
Parmar said the company will hold on to the affordable price points despite inflationary pressures through a mix of price and grammage adjustments and absorbing some costs.
The Indian chocolate market is dominated by Mondelez with a 57.4% market share, followed by Nestle at 16.1%. The rest of the market is split between Ferrero Rocher, Mars Wrigley, Hershey’s and Amul.
According to the IMARC Group, the Indian chocolate market was worth $ 2.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $ 4.1 billion by 2028.
Mars Wrigley set up their chocolate factory in India at Pune’s Khed City in 2016 and started with making the Snickers brand of filled chocolates. It started making the Galaxy brand in India in October 2021 which has since become a `100-crore brand.
The company has launched many India-specific variants. Molded chocolates account for around 55% of the chocolate market in India, and with the local manufacturing of the Galaxy brand, the company is now competing with well-entrenched brands in the space such as Cadbury and Nestle.
Local manufacturing enabled correct size, variants and packaging suitable for the Indian market, Parmar said. Galaxy comes in three variants and to deal with the weather challenges in India, it also offers double packaging and is heat-resistant. Snickers fruit and nut is a huge franchise for the company in India. Snickers Cashew, Butterscotch and Snickers Kesar Pista are Indian-only variants and doing well in the market, he added. Paan (betel leaf) and raw mango candies are the other local flavours offered by the company.
Mars has invested around `1,000 crore in India. Apart from the chocolate factory in Pune, the company also makes mint and gums (Boomer, Orbit and Wrigley Doublemint) and fruit confectionery (Skittles, PomPom and Solano) in India in Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) and Bengaluru. The company has achieved 85% localisation of its portfolio. It also packs M&M’s and Skittles in India. Only Mars, Bounty and Twix chocolates are now imported into the country.
Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned global business with $45 billion in annual sales.