BOSTON — Mondelez International, Inc. executives see three ways to further develop its presence in the chocolate market.
“Well, chocolate, first of all, is a very interesting category,” said Dirk Van de Put, chairman and chief executive officer of the Chicago-based company, at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on Sept. 6 in Boston. “It’s a $120 billion category, growing about 7% over the last four years. I think in the whole world of indulgence, it takes a unique space. It is an indulgence that most consumers do not have a major problem with. They eat it in relatively smaller quantities, and it’s sort of a daily indulgence that they are fine with. So if you look at snacking and you think about health and wellness, I think chocolate is quite unique in that space, a very interesting category to be in.”
The company’s chocolate brands include Cadbury, Milka, Toblerone, Hu, Green & Black’s, Daim, Lacta, Marabou, 5 Star, Alpen Gold, Freia and Côte d’Or. Mr. Van de Put said Mondelez is one of the biggest players in tablet chocolate and has room to expand through sizing and revenue growth management, in addition to developing new products and brands within the segment.
“And in general, I would say there is an opportunity to increase the per capita consumption of chocolate all around the world,” he said.
A “big growth tool” for the company is seasonal gifting, he said.
“So think Easter, think Christmas, think you're going to visit somebody, you want to bring them a box of chocolate,” he said. “That’s one-third of the market. We were underdeveloped about 10 years ago. We started to work very hard on this space. We’re still catching up, but it’s a huge area of growth for us. And every year, we get more sophisticated and take more market share.”
The third opportunity is premium chocolate, which represents about 20% of the market, Mr. Van de Put said.
“We have a number of brands that play there, Toblerone, Hu, Green & Black's,” he said. “But I would say, overall, it’s an underdeveloped segment for us. So we are relaunching Toblerone with significant increase in advertising. We’re launching Toblerone pralines doing a major online effort. And so we are going to push those brands that we have.
“We are working also quite strongly on Hu here in US. But we remain open for acquisitions there to reinforce our presence in the premium space.”The combination of the three opportunities “will give us the momentum to become the leader in chocolate, and on top of that, drive the growth of the category,” he said.