Godiva enters ‘modern and alluring’ era at 90

By Charlotte Turner |

Godiva-90-Brussels-lead-2Although travel retail currently represents just 10% of Godiva’s global business, the channel is clearly a target growth area for the premium Belgian chocolate brand, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in Brussels last night.

 

Yesterday, the company’s CEO, Mohamed Elsarky, told TRBusiness at the event that he was very familiar with the channel and its potential as he actually headed up the travel retail division in the past, with a view to better understanding its complexities.

 

“For a period of time I personally headed up the travel retail business because I wanted to be personally involved and to know more about the business and how we can develop it, so that was a great time for me.

 

Godiva_90th-Elsarky-dinner

CEO Mohamed Elsarky addresses 140 guests during a dinner to celebrate the brand’s 90th Anniversary.

 

“The channel is very dynamic in terms of the opportunities. For me travel retail is the window to the world for our business. It is where consumers often get to see our brand for the first time.

 

Godiva-Mohammed-Elsarky-and-Chefs-90-Brussels

Godiva’s Chef Chocolatiers and the company’s CEO Mohamed Elsarky (centre).

 

“We have a presence in 110 countries overall….We often create new innovations and launch them first in travel retail before we launch in domestic markets, because we get a read on all nationalities that way.”

 

See below some footage from Godiva’s 90th Anniversary Celebration in Brussels.

 

When asked if Godiva has ever had to prove its brand power in the local market before it can be considered for that same region’s travel retail business, Elsarky says that the brand has never had a problem.

 

“It’s never been an issue for Godiva. We’ve not had an opportunity not happen because we’re not in the domestic market. In fact we’ve had the opposite situation because the brand is known and the brand icons are instantly recognisable around the world. In fact we get asked more times than not to be in places where we don’t always have local representation.”

 

‘GLOBAL RESONANCE’

Of course there have been circumstances where the brand has had to decline entering a new market; sometimes it’s because logistics get in the way and sometimes it’s simply not the right time, “but eventually we get there” says Elsarky.

 

“The brand has enormous resonance with people and consumers around the world. We think of ourselves not as a mass, large global brand, we are a premium brand and we have to do everything right and that’s important for us,” he adds.

 

Godiva-90-Brussels-freshly-made-chocolate

Sampling opportunities galore at the Albert Hall in Brussels for Godiva’s 90th Anniversary.

 

“So wherever we choose to go we need to be able to do it in the right way and as much as we have presence, as I mentioned, in 110 countries and in 650 stores, we don’t chase scale before quality.”

 

In celebration of Godiva’s 90th anniversary, the chocolatier hosted an immersive multi-sensory event in its home city of Brussels, yesterday evening (24th February).

 

Taking place at the historical Albert Hall – which used to be a theatre in the 1930s – the whole evening centred around the legacy, culinary artistry and innovation that Godiva says has shaped its evolution.

 

Godiva-90th-anniversary-gold-collection

TRBusiness understands that the new Gold Anniversary Collection will debut with Dubai Duty Free in March, be rolled out globally in travel retail in April and will be promoted actively in May. Another 90th Anniversary Collection – this time truffles – will be launched in September 2016.

 

Upon entering the venue, a path of fragrant hazelnut trees directed guests towards the first ‘layer’ of the experience – the Heritage Room. Honouring the history of the Draps family – who founded Godiva in 1926 – the room aimed to convey a celebration of the passion, craftsmanship and ingenuity on which Godiva says it was built.

 

Godiva’s Chef Chocolatiers were stationed in the centre of the room to demonstrate their skilled craftsmanship through a series of live, interactive demonstrations.

 

TRBusiness interviewed Chef Thierry Muret and Chef Jean Apostolou who explained that as the brand turns 90, it is entering yet another new era which Muret describes as ‘modern and alluring’.

 

Godiva's-Leen-Baeten-90-Brussels

Godiva’s Leen Baeten adds her puzzle piece to artist Oli B’s celebratory mural.

Muret also told TRBusiness that it was in 2007 when discussions with the brand’s patrons brought about an important step change for the business – encouraging a fresh approach to chocolate-making, which would widen Godiva’s appeal.

 

Chef-Jean-and-Chef-Thierry-Godiva-90-Brussels

TRBusiness interviewed Chef Thierry Muret (right) and Chef Jean Apostolou (left) who explained that as the brand turns 90, it is entering yet another new era which Muret describes as ‘modern and alluring’.

 

However, the event last night, was as much about looking back as it was about looking forward. Set amongst the historic facts and artifacts displayed around the room, an impressive ‘Aroma Organ’ offered guests another sensorial way to experience the variety of ingredients Godiva Chef Chocolatiers artfully blend together.

 

Raspberry-and-Rose-themed-Godiva-dinner

Raspberry and Rose themed dinner for Godiva 90th Anniversary celebration guests.

 

The evening’s second ‘layer’ was unveiled in a dedicated multi-sensory room, where guests gathered in over-sized chocolate pods to experience Godiva chocolate through the five senses.

 

Led by neuro-science pioneered by Oxford University, each chocolate pod was crafted to ‘dial up’ each of the selected chocolates’ defining characteristics. The chocolates selected for the experience form part of the new Gold Anniversary Collection, which celebrates Godiva’s most iconic chocolates creations.

 

TRBusiness understands that the new Gold Anniversary Collection will debut with Dubai Duty Free in March, be rolled out globally in travel retail in April and will be actively promoted in May.

 

Godiva-90-Brussels-oversized-choc-pods

The evening’s second ‘layer’ was unveiled in a dedicated multi-sensory room, where guests gathered in over-sized chocolate pods to experience Godiva chocolate through the five senses.

 

Culminating in a three-course dinner hosted in the third and final ‘layer’ of the event, the Innovation Room gave guests a glimpse into what we can expect from Godiva post-2016. The theme of the room was ‘Rose & Raspberry’ – a blend created especially for Godiva’s 90th anniversary.

 

The new flavour inspired each dinner dish, which was created by Michelin-starred Chef Christophe Hardiquest – from esteemed Brussels restaurant, Bon-Bon – in partnership with Godiva.

 

Godiva-Michelin-star-dessert

Raspberry and Rose Michelin-star dessert.

 

One of Godiva’s artistic collaborators for its 90th year, Belgian artist Oli-B, was also present in the Innovation Room – creating a bespoke technicolour mural. The artist’s partnership with Godiva is the latest in a string of artistic partnerships that have helped the chocolatier ‘push the boundaries of its art’, it says.

 

Godiva-Brussels-90-chefs-at-work

Godiva’s Chef Chocolatiers were stationed in the centre of the room to demonstrate their skilled craftsmanship through a series of live, interactive demonstrations.

 

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