Beatriz de Otto Méndez Head of Customer Marketing World Travel Retail, Mondelēz International, spoke of a ‘bright future for confectionery’ during a TFWA-hosted webinar on the category this morning, sharing that 88% of those they surveyed believe a balanced diet can include a ‘little indulgence’.
In the first of a two-part Confectionery Webinar hosted by the TFWA on its 365 platform, panellists discussed the paradigm shifts for the category – pre-Covid to now – and how additional food items could soon be on the menu at travel retail locations worldwide, as the industry looks to leverage consumer demand for local and authentic goods. See coverage on m1nd-set’s presentation here.
Méndez suggested that the category is ‘here to stay’ and that its consumption and global footprint is growing. After launching a new category vision ‘Delighting Travelers’ in 2012, the company has been tracking its developments.
‘The category of the future’
According to Méndez, powered by data and insights from partnering research firms, in the last decade Mondelez WTR has increased penetration for the category by 5%, which equates to an additional 200 million shoppers worldwide. It has also observed a +60% growth in category spend during this time.
More on these developments were revealed at a breakfast event attended by TRBusiness at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes (2-6 October).
During the TFWA webinar today, Méndez said that consumers’ attention to their personal wellbeing, had shifted from physical considerations to mental health.
“As we know, wellbeing is not any more a niche topic. When it comes to our physical health we are all now taking more personal responsibility on this – counting our steps per day etc.
“But our mental health has also become a priority and indulgent moments have grown in importance.”
Experiences and social responsibility
She also confirmed that experiential retail is now expected from consumers when they travel, in addition to efforts from brands and retailers to operate more sustainably.
“Social responsibility; fighting against climate change; offering recyclable packaging; diversity; inclusivity….We need to integrate these values into our DNA. Engage with our shoppers and together have a positive impact on the planet and people.”
Providing Neuhaus’ perspective, Alexandra Bevernage, Travel Retail and Business Development Director, spoke candidly about the challenges the Belgian chocolate company had faced in recent years.
After providing a comprehensive summary of the current state of premium chocolate in travel retail, Bevernage outlined the changes in consumption and emerging trends. She confirmed that consumers had shifted in their shopping habits; preferring to self-treat rather than gift.
She also said that consumers were looking for products containing less sugar and opting for chocolate with higher cocoa percentages.
Products on promotion had become more attractive, while shoppers were looking for sustainability in packaging. “More importantly, sustainable cocoa is no longer an option – it is a must do,” she said.
Challenges felt by manufacturers in 2022
Concerning difficulties with its supply chain, Bevernage said that shortages of ingredients started in Q2 2022 – one of the many consequences of the devastating conflict in Ukraine – which had a direct impact on the production of pralines.
She chimed with other suppliers in commenting on the shortage of containers from Asia to Europe (mainly packaging) due to lockdowns in China. Interestingly, she also highlighted a salmonella contamination crisis at the end of June this year, caused by Barry Callebut, which brought major production and capacity issues for some large Belgian chocolate suppliers.
Finally, Fabrizio Canal, Founder and CEO of Italian fine food specialist Food Accademia, spoke about the potential of the broader food category, echoing m1nd-set statistics presented earlier in the webinar.
However, as his fellow panellists also mentioned, the rise in price of raw materials and shipping had made business more challenging for Food Accademia in 2022.
“The price of raw materials and supply chain affected everybody,” he said. “This was the case with glass. There was a shortage and crazy price increases. The price of simple shipping boxes increased 35-40%. The future is uncertain here.”
Importantly he also highlighted that a rise in temperature of 1.5-2 degrees in Italy was concerning for producers. While they are looking for solutions to the temperature rise, he did say that Food Accademia was fortunately not affected by the olive oil shortage.
“We use four different manufacturers in olive oil and wine only…2022 was a fantastic year for olive oil. We didn’t struggle from a quantity perspective either.”
Regarding sustainability, he advised companies to operate with ultimate transparency, offering partners and consumers the chance to observe all parts of the production and manufacturing processes.
The Confectionery in Travel Retail webinars will be moderated by TFWA Conference Manager Michele Miranda and DFNI- Frontier Editor Kapila Ireland.