Lindt unwraps vision for category growth powered by consumer insights

By Faye Bartle |


TRBusiness’ Faye Bartle and Peter J. Zehnder, Head of Global Travel Retail at Lindt & Sprungli, attend a chocolate making class at the Lindt Chocolateria, following the category vision reveal.

ON LOCATION: Lindt has revealed the details of its new category vision, which sees the company striving to transform confectionery into the top category for driving traffic and conversion in global travel retail (GTR) through a strategy underpinned by its largest ever research project to date.

The vision, which was presented to members of the travel retail press last week at the Lindt Home of Chocolate in Kilchberg, Switzerland (following a ‘sneak preview’ during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes in 2022), calls for stakeholders to grow the confectionery category together to make it as accessible and versatile as possible.

The strategy has been heavily informed by Lindt’s category research, titled Project Polaris, which to date encompasses insights from over 100,000 consumers around the globe, covering all channels including duty free.

As a result, Lindt has been able to pinpoint what consumers are seeking when it comes to purchasing chocolate.

The company has identified five growth drivers that represent the key overarching needs as follows: Treat, Indulge, Recharge, Connect and Delight.


Pillars driving chocolate consumption, as identified by Lindt’s extensive category research, Project Polaris.

Each of these can be broken down further to understand in greater detail how and why people shop for, buy and consume chocolate and, in turn, the types of products and formats that are most likely to appeal at different moments in time.

The result is a value map of purchase drivers across the GTR landscape, which Lindt is leveraging to tailor its offer to maximise its appeal to travelling consumers primarily at airports, on a case-by-case basis by location.


Lindt is aiming to recruit more buyers into the category and increase the volume purchased per buyer through price and multi-buy promotions, backed by research that shows that 55% of people are willing to pay more for premium chocolate.

As a first step, the Lindt assortment is being refined at its various points of sale to present travelling consumers with a portfolio of products that meet ‘all need states’.

Shoppers will also see a switch from functional set-ups to more relevant and engaging experiences. This ties in with the ‘Be Seen’ strand of the strategy, which drives greater visibility and capitalises on the appetite for impulse purchases.

The first incarnation of this is the ‘art of gifting’ high profile promotion (HPP) for Lindor, which is active at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 until 26 April 2023.

A grand statement of what’s to come, the HPP offers freshly made Lindor truffles from a Lindt Master Chocolatier, and dedicated gifting extras, such as wrapping, cards and bags.

In essence, it flies the flag for how diverse the art of gifting can be, nodding to the variety of consumer needs identified by the research.

Activations such as this, says Lindt, can also drive penetration to the main duty free store, delivering a win-win situation not only for confectionery but potentially other categories too.

There is huge scope for growth. M1nd-set research shows that footfall into the confectionery category is 21%, and conversation is 49%. Furthermore the purchase rate (% of buyers out of total passengers) is 10% – higher than perfumes (9%), alcohol (7%), tobacco (5%), make-up (2%) and skincare (3%).

High-profile promotions to drive footfall

Peter J. Zehnder, Head of Global Travel Retail at Lindt & Sprungli, reveals that Lindt has more HPPs active in the channel now than before the pandemic.

“We are above 2019 levels in terms of bringing premium alive,” he said,  highlighting how premiumisation is highly relevant for the brand across all pillars.

“What has started, and what we are in the process of now, is having category management workshops with retailers to see what some of the specific issues are, perhaps, and opportunities that Lindt can address to drive category growth,” he added.


Members of the travel retail press with (from third from left) Lindt & Sprüngli Marketing Director GTR Stefanie Schmidle, Peter Zehnder, Category & Trade Marketing Manager Duty Free Florence Benguerel and Faye Bartle, Managing Editor, TRBusiness (far right).

Providing tailor-made solutions for each individual retailer is an important part of the plan.

“Space is very important and, in our vision, one element is to drive footfall as currently there is only one out of five travellers entering [the category],” said Zehnder, referring to the m1nd-set data.

“As chocolate is so accessible, and everybody loves it, it’s really important to have multiple touchpoints or, if it’s not a walkthrough store, that confectionery is seen from the outside by transit passengers. That’s not always the case, as we are competing with other categories. But this is where confectionery can play an important role and space is absolutely key as we have a very high level of impulse purchases.”

The ideal solution is maximum space allocation with a specially curated product assortment that taps into those key desires and HPPs boosting visibility and drving traffic where possible – all working together to elevate the offer.

“Space is always limited so with the high-profile activations you have a bit more flexibility to showcase,” said Zehnder. “But of course, the goal is also how to establish confectionery within a duty free store to have multiple touchpoints. This means creating the right offer in the confectionery area, but also by the checkout counter and even taking it a step further to cross categories to see if there is something that fits well with alcohol or wine, for instance. That is definitely a potential area where confectionary can drive more purchases and help make the [consumer] journey more indulgent.”

The HPP at Heathrow is scalable so it can be brought to life in other markets with other retailers, including in smaller formats that can be placed within the confectionery area.

Key to this, says Lindt, is ensuring a low barrier to purchase and leveraging confectionery’s universal appeal and popularity as an impulse purchase. Ultimately, the company wants to see confectionery added to every basket.

Making travel more indulgent

Lindt’s category vision announcement follows an impressive performance in 2022, with the company’s GTR operations achieving triple-digit growth (109%), which it credits largely to the return of global tourism and the quick reaction of the supply chain to get its products to the points if sale (POS) in the channel.

The travel retail sector outperformed the company’s overall results for FY22 (Jan-Dec), with Lindt & Sprüngli reporting double-digit growth in 2022, with CHF 4.97 billion in group sales – an increase of 8.4% on 2021.

With the new category vision in place, Lindt is on a fast-track to supercharging its performance in GTR in 2023 and beyond.


Lindt’s GTR operations achieved triple-digit growth (109%) in 2022.

As already touched upon by Zehnder, creating a more indulgent travel experience for consumers is at the heart of the vision.

Delving deeper into some of the key trends that are highlighted, the movement toward wellness, and how indulgence is part of that, is well noted.

Self-care is now seen more holistically, says Lindt, with those seeking to ‘enrich their lifestyle and nourish their body’ investing in indulgent moments, such as having a massage or splashing out on a delicious treat (with high quality ingredients) that makes them feel good.

As premiumisation is seen as an important growth engine in established categories such as confectionery, even during challenging economic times, little indulgences to lift the mood or unwind while travelling are firmly on the radar.

This is of course in building upon the lavish gift boxes and sharing packs that are enduringly popular in the channel.

Behind the scenes, Lindt wants to move from transactional to strategic partnerships with its retailer partners, based upon growing value. With fellow suppliers, the vision sees a move from ‘stealing share’ to growing the category and its overall value.

In summary, by converting its deep understanding of the role chocolate plays in people’s lives and the love they have for the category into products and experiences that shoppers may be willing to pay more for, Lindt is inspiring a brand new way of working.


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