After intensive consumer testing and product development, global snacking giant and the largest producer of quality chocolates in North America, Hersheyâs, has made a strategic entry into the large chocolate category in India — with its iconic brand, Hersheyâs Kisses Chocolate. The very same brand Â of which 70 million pieces are made every day, and sold in nearly 60 countries.
Hersheyâs India Pvt Ltd launched the much loved chocolate in three varieties â Milk chocolate, Almonds, and Cookies ânâ Creme in Mumbai today. The chocolates are made in India, in Gujarat, to Hersheyâs stringent global standards of quality control.
During the first phase of the launch, Hersheyâs Kisses will be available only in South India in Modern Trade, Large General Trade and E-Com at attractive price points of Rs 50 for the small pack of 36g, and Rs 140 for a larger, take-home pack at Rs 140 for 108g.
The Hersheyâs Kisses Chocolate launch is perhaps the most iconic brand of chocolate launched in India, after Mars launched its M&Ms in August 2017, targeting the small but quickly growing bite-sized chocolate category
The Hersheyâs Kisses range in India is the result of intensive R&D and consumer testing to develop the right taste profile for discerning Indian consumers who seek premium chocolate. Â Hersheyâs Kisses chocolates are distinct because of their unique shape and for delicate wrapping.
Hershey makes nearly 70 million Hersheyâs Kisses every day that are sold in nearly 60 countries
Consumers in India can enjoy Hersheyâs Kisses in three exciting variants: The all-time classic creamy Milk Chocolate, the popular Almonds â which has creamy milk chocolate and real almond bits, and the unique Cookies ânâ Creme flavour â which has creamy white chocolate with enticing cookie bits.
Michele Buck, President and CEO – Â The Hershey Company, who flew down for the launch, said, âThe Hershey Company has a rich chocolate heritage and we have built our expertise over the past 125 years. Hersheyâs Kisses is one of our most iconic chocolate treats and a symbol of how our company has spread its goodness around the world.â
On the importance of the Indian market, Steven Schiller, President, International, The Hershey Company, said, âThere is a lot of potential for The Hershey Company in India. This market is an important part of our International growth model. The Hersheyâs brand has been leading our India growth and Hersheyâs Kisses is a wonderful way to continue that growth by tapping into the growing chocolate segment.â
Herjit Bhalla, MD – Hershey India, said, âWe are delighted that consumers are increasingly loving the Hersheyâs range of products â be it Hersheyâs Syrups, Spreads, Milk Shakes or Cocoa Powder. I am very excited about Hersheyâs strategic entry into the large chocolate category with Hersheyâs Kisses. We know from our intensive consumer testing and product development that Indian consumers will love Hersheyâs Kisses, and I am sure Hersheyâs will now spread smiles and happiness to many more homes.â
Hersheyâs India journey
The journey of the Hersheyâs brand in India started a decade ago with the introduction of the Hersheyâs Chocolate Syrup.Â Today, Hersheyâs is a clear market leader in Chocolate Syrups and Cocoa Powder. Its products in Milk Shake and Chocolate Spreads were so well received by consumers that they have raced to claim the No. 2 (Chocolate Spreads) and No.3 (Milk Shakes) spots amongst the best known chocolate brands in India, and that too, within just two years of launch.
The launch of Hersheyâs Kisses should further fuel the growth of the Hersheyâs brand in India. And incidentally, The Hershey Company brings almost 125 years of chocolate-making experience to the launch of Hersheyâs Kisses in India. Today, it is a Fortune 500 company with world-class manufacturing expertise and innovation capabilities to deliver great tasting chocolates. The company makes nearly 70 million Hersheyâs Kisses every day that are sold in nearly 60 countries.
Hershey has approximately 17,000 employees and more than 80 brands around the world that drive more thanÂ $7.5 billionÂ in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hersheyâs, Reeseâs, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and SkinnyPop.
India Chocolate Market Insights
TheÂ India Chocolate marketÂ is expected to reach USD 5.01 billion by 2023, witnessing a robust CAGR during theÂ forecast period.Â Chocolate consumption volumeÂ in the region surpassed 193 million Kg in 2017, with Moulded Chocolate registered the largest volume sale.
The Hersheyâs brand has been leading our India growth and Hersheyâs Kisses is a wonderful way to continue that growth by tapping into the growing chocolate segment: Steven Schiller,Â President, International, The Hershey Company
Rising per capita income and westernization trend is the key driver for the market, says an indepth report from Mordor Intelligence (available here, and quoted extensively in this overview). Expanding retail channel and impulse purchase are further driving the market. Growing demand for premium varieties gives a potential opportunity for foreign brands to tap the market.
Premium Chocolates are gaining popularity in India, and the risingÂ demand for premium and dark chocolateÂ is as a result of growing affluent middle-class purchasing power coupled with marketing and promotional activities triggered theÂ chocolate demand.
Consumer demand for high cocoa content in chocolate and consumer awareness related to cocoa benefits are driving theÂ dark chocolate market.
Moulded chocolate dominates the Indian chocolate retail sale followed by countlines.
The sale of boxed assortment is growing at a faster pace driven by increased in occasional gifting trend. Heavy price and discount offered at supermarkets / hypermarkets and healthy eating habits are another factor boosted sales.
Booming Online Retail
Online shopping that provides exciting offers and brands is attracting Indians. There is a strong appeal for imported goods in India that are widely available in online channels eliminating the need for physical stores.
Growing new internet user population in tier-II & tier-III cities offers a promising growth in the rural areas. Convenience, ease of searching, billing, wide selection of products and discounts and promotion fueled theÂ online chocolate sale. Online retail recorded an impressive CAGR of 57.9% during 2012-2017.
Convenience Stores led the sale with a share of more than 70% in the distribution channel. Expanding retail chain in the country offer a potential growth opportunity to the market. Supermarkets and Hypermarkets is another growing retail channel in India.
The India Chocolate market is lucrative and fiercely competitive, with top five multinational players accounting for the major share. These are Mondelez International Inc, The Hershey Company,Â Mars Inc., Ferrero, Nestle SA and Lindt & SprÃ¼ngli Ag.
Seeing that The Hershey Company has made a well-timed move at festive-season-eve Â and with its truly iconic Kisses brand to grab a significant piece of the chocolate category in India, one is inclined to believe that Hersheyâs Kisses will find cholocate lovers puckering up, and will grab a decent share of the market. How big, depends upon how Â quickly after its first phase launch in South India, Hersheyâs Kisses can start flying off the shelves to woo chocolate lovers across the rest of the country.
One sees sweet times ahead.