Food Reimagined – Ospree’s vision for food & confectionery in travel retail

Welcome to the latest instalment of a thought leadership column in partnership with Nestlé International Travel Retail that aims to raise the profile of food and highlight its potential as a key growth driver in the travel retail mix. In this issue newly named Ospree (formerly Mumbai Duty Free) outlines its view of the many category opportunities.

“Food & confectionery is a promising growth area within our business. Its [revenue] share exceeds 10%, reflecting its strategic importance.”

So says Ospree Duty Free – the recently rebranded joint venture between Adani Airport Holdings and Flemingo Travel Retail that was known as Mumbai Travel Retail Private Limited – as it addresses the potential of this key category.

The company underlines recent “positive results” in this segment, adding that it “continues to explore opportunities for growth and innovation”.

Among the key consumer drivers at Mumbai International Airport and beyond is the search for something different, says Ospree.

“We’ve observed a strong trend among consumers to purchase exclusive confectionery products available only at travel retail channels. Additionally, with increasing disposable income, the demand for premium chocolates has positively impacted our average transaction value (ATV) and overall basket size.”

Luxury gifting is also playing an increasing role as a shopper dynamic.

Food & confectionery has benefitted from and helped drive key campaigns such as the Shopping Carnival at Mumbai Airport

“Our luxury confectionery range is particularly favoured as a premium gifting option by Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Their appreciation for quality and exclusivity aligns with our offerings.”

The retailer says that the category can help engage, inspire and boost conversion among a new generation of travellers.

“A growing segment of young consumers is gravitating toward healthier food options, particularly within the confectionery category. This shift reflects their awareness of wellbeing and a desire for products that align with their lifestyle choices.”

Of travel preferences among Gen Z, Ospree says: “This cohort, known for its penchant for exploration and leisure travel, seeks convenient and portable food solutions. Their preference for ready-to-eat (RTE) products allows them to maintain their active lifestyles while enjoying flavourful treats.”

Meanwhile, Millennials, “characterised by their discerning palates”, are drawn to premium offerings from well-known global confectionery brands. “Brands like Venchi, Neuhaus and Valrhona resonate with this generation, as they appreciate exclusivity, quality and provenance.”

The prominent Indian tea display (above) delivers strong Sense of Place; below, Venchi builds on the drive for premium chocolate

Catering to a vast and diverse audience also means introducing newness to the offer – in particular that means adapting to interest in a localised offer.

“As part of our commitment to engaging with a wide range of shoppers, we have strategically shifted our focus toward Indian Indigenous products,” says Ospree. “These products not only celebrate our rich cultural heritage but also captivate attention through their distinctive and visually appealing displays.”

On developing Sense of Place, the company adds: “The significance of local and regional products cannot be overstated, especially in the context of departures retail. Over the past year, this category has witnessed remarkable growth, doubling its impact on our business.

”At Ospree Duty Free, we’ve taken a bold step by launching a brand-new Indian gourmet store – aptly named The Bharat Story. This curated space showcases an exquisite luxury assortment across various categories, including liquor, handicrafts and confectionery gifts. By doing so, we aim to deepen the sense of belonging for travellers passing through our departures zone.”

Innovation also extends to category and shop formats. In food, this means targeted sampling activations alongside its pick-and-mix concept. “This dynamic combination has yielded impressive results, particularly in launching new brands and elevating the overall shopping experience for our valued customers.”

Broadening the offer alongside brand partners can lift the category to new heights, says Ospree.

A value offer blended with premiumisation and a broad choice of brands offers a solid category platform

“Our confectionery category holds immense potential when positioned as part of the broader food category accessible to the masses. By embracing this shift, we can create a more inclusive and appealing experience for our customers.”

Under this umbrella, the retailer proposes the following sub-categories as opportunities:

  • Chocolates: “A perennial favourite, chocolates cater to diverse tastes and occasions.”
  • Waffles: “Delightful treats offering a blend of indulgence and convenience.”
  • Mints and gum: “Refreshing options that resonate with consumers seeking a quick pick-me-up.”
  • Biscuits: “A versatile category spanning everything from classic cookies to health-conscious options.”

Ospree also highlights emerging trends in Ready-to-Drink coffee and Vitamin Water, and recognises the growing significance of vitamins, herbs, minerals and supplements (VHMS) within the broader food vertical.

“These health-focused offerings not only enhance our product range but also contribute positively to our average transaction value. As wellness takes centre stage, health supplements are expected to play a significant role in our future offerings.”

Untapped potential also lies in dried fruits and nuts, a segment that remains “largely unexplored”, says the company. “However, its potential impact on the travel retail industry can be substantial. By curating high-quality selections, we can tap into this market and create a buzz among travellers.”

The biggest opportunity lies in luxury brand expansion given its appeal to existing and new consumer audiences. “Our category now boasts new luxury brands, including the esteemed Leonidas. These additions enhance our offerings and elevate the shopping experience for our discerning customers.”

The combination of emerging sub-categories from luxury chocolate to healthy treats with mass appeal offers Ospree Duty Free sizeable growth opportunities, especially with Indian travel on the rapid rise. As the newly named Ospree takes flight, the core food & confectionery business is primed to soar.

*Note: This article first appeared in The Moodie Davitt eZine. Click here for that version.

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