Mars vocal on sustainability milestone; new activation approach beckons

By Luke Barras-hill |

As expected, Mars Wrigley ITR (MWITR) outlined its refreshed category vision and strategy for travel retail confectionery and shared its latest product launches during this month’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference (2-6 October) in Cannes.

In a milestone moment, Marcus Hudson, Global Sales Director, confirmed that as of 2023, 100% of the cocoa bought by Mars for its direct factory operations in Europe will be verified as responsibly sourced.

This means the responsibly sourced cocoa that is procured equates to the volumes used for its European operations, though a ‘small amount’ of the ITR portfolio made by third party suppliers or produced in factories outside of Europe is ‘out of scope’.

However, Mars expects that gap to close ‘well before 2025’.

As of the end of 2021, 61% of Mars’ global cocoa is sourced through its ‘Cocoa for Generations’ programme, part of the ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ plan.

‘Moments’ as drivers of growth

Mars’ s goal is for 100% of the cocoa used globally to be sourced under the programme by 2025.

“Everything we do in travel retail within sustainability is embedded in our ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ plan, which is a commitment by the Mars family over 10 years to invest $100 million a year,” commented Hudson.

“We are committed to creating a sustainable cocoa supply chain where human rights are respected, the environment is protected, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. “I am extremely proud we can share this important milestone, which is also extremely relevant for travel retail as almost 90% of our portfolio is produced in our European factories.”

Marcus Hudson, Global Sales Director at MWITR said that while sharing and gifting have traditionally dominated purchasing motivations within the confectionery category, understanding key shopper ‘moments’ and responding with a suitable portfolio offer is key to unlocking conversion and category growth.

During the press briefing, the company reiterated its ambition to be the number one contributor in driving confectionery category growth in travel retail.

“We are in a really good position with the retailers; during Covid we had some very constructive conversations and are now moving towards exciting growth for the future through great relationships with our partners globally,” said Hudson.

Unlocking this growth, believes MWITR, can be achieved by focusing on the key moments within the consumer journey.

The ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ plan helps increase farm productivity via coaching, training and support, and diversify cocoa farming and overall household incomes and resilience, among other measures.

According to MWITR, shoppers consume snacks and treats at specific moments and they relate to such moments at shelf point in shops.

As such, consumption is said to drive purchase and these moments generate conversion.

Enjoying travel time together (Connect) and gifting (Celebrate) are characterised as the most dominant moments for travellers with a combined share of 89%, according to MWITR. Following is unwind & indulge – Reward (7%) and refresh & energise – Recharge (4%).

The category vision is built around three pillars: a portfolio relevant for all moments, elevating traveller moments with unique fun, and growing in a sustainable way.

MWITR also took the opportunity to present its latest product portfolio innovations, while emphasising the importance of a new activation approach moving into 2023.

In the Connect space, Twix is outperforming the category, claims MWITR, after the introduction of Twix Salted Caramel.

Meanwhile, core medium pouches for the likes of M&M’s, Maltesers, Mars and Bounty are enjoying positive momentum.

MWITR believes in the significant potential to develop the tablets segment, which takes a 14% share of the travel retail category versus a substantially higher 40% in domestic markets.


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