Hershey, a sweet tooth of India

Oct 19, 2018

Hershey’s, largest and best chocolatiers one among the world, is gaming on India to increase its business in the future running along side by side is rival Mondelez’s Cadbury in the country.

“We really want to invest to leverage the huge population growth, the move of consumers into middle class and the increasing disposable income and that’s really about China and India,” Michele Buck, chief executive at The Hershey Company. “Those are really two of the places where we are betting on the future because if we look at the sheer population here, it’s hard to imagine a world where that doesn’t make sense going forward.”

Hershey’s began its ‘Kisses’ chocolate in the country recently, nearly 110 years after it was first introduced in its home, the US.

Drop-shaped bite-sized chocolate candies will be made in India twisted to the taste according to local palette. “Kisses” will be first launched in southern India, a market which accounts for a third of the overall chocolate category.

“It certainly is an area we focus on. Therefore, we took some of the decisions to really focus on the modern trade, the large general kind of stores and e-commerce,” said Buck, who became Hershey’s global CEO last year.

Indians consume roughly 120 grams of chocolate a year on a per capita basis, the least among emerging markets, and ten times lower than developed markets, but the sheer size of the market makes the country attractive for chocolate makers.

The chocolate category in India is valued at close to $1.2 billion, with Mondelez controlling two-thirds of the market, followed by Italian confectioner Ferrero, and Nestle. Buck is of the opinion that there is still room for few players. “With the market growing 11%, it is usually ripe for category expansion. A new player, if they invest in the market can actually help drive the category.”


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