Ferrero to expand into new categories
With plans to double sales in China within five years, Italian confectionery group Ferrero will expand into new categories including biscuits and snacks, according to general manager of Ferrero China Mauro De Felip.
The second largest player in China’s chocolate market is exploring new opportunities and new business fronts, with biscuits among one of them, following the US$1.3 billion acquisition of Kellogg's biscuit brand Keebler and other snack brands in April.
"We want to make sure we have appropriate ingredients and recipe so that apart from responding to the needs and tastes of consumers, (the new products) will also stay in the market," he said at an interview in Shanghai.
Ferrero China has grown its chocolate business by 4.3 percent in the latest 12 months, more than doubling market average, according to Nielsen data as of March 2019.
China's chocolate confectionery market rebounded in 2018 after dipping in 2015 and Euromonitor International estimate chocolate confectionery market size in China to remain modest growth and reach US$3.65 billion by 2022.
“Fully grasping the opportunity from the digital transformation in China would give us competitive advantage in the future and we will also seek to keep growing our share in the e-commerce business through joint efforts with online partners as well as traditional distributors," he added.
"These new channels and digital capabilities also help us to adjust communication platforms accordingly to target consumers more precisely."
Recent ideas includes packaging its flagship Ferrero Rocher chocolate with Chinese lucky knots at Lunar New Year, as festive celebrations and gifting are important aspects of chocolate sales.
The brand has strengthened partnerships with JD and Alibaba's retail divisions to develop new distribution channels to penetrate lower tier cities. E-commerce channels has also allowed the family-owned business to stay flexible, providing personalization options as tailor-made packages and new stock keeping units.