“It’s time to build on our momentum”: Nestlé tackles challenges facing confectionery in travel retail

“We have the products, we have the campaigns; we are on to something here”: That was the upbeat message from Nestlé International Travel Retail (NITR) General Manager Stewart Dryburgh at TFWA World Exhibition, as he considered the confectionery specialist’s prospects for 2019.

Dryburgh said he is “super excited” about the near future, following the company’s introduction of new products and campaigns at the event.

As reported, NITR is focusing on three key travel retail brands: KitKat, Smarties and Nestlé Swiss. Its new range of travel shopping-exclusive lines and supporting campaigns link to NITR’s  SOUL (Stories, Occasion, Unique, Local) strategic framework.

“The concept is based on a great deal of research and it’s working,” Dryburgh said. “We are now able to build on what we have already started. It’s time to build on our momentum; time for some fine-tuning.”

“Travellers need to be offered something different and how we bring our brands to life and offer that ‘something’ is vital. Just consider the Unique aspect of travel retail-exclusive lines such as KitKat Senses or Nestlé Swiss. These products are not available on the domestic market. Consumers will not find them online as they search for ‘best buys’. They are available here, now and only in travel retail.

“That’s what the confectionery category is all about,” Dryburgh said. “We are on to something here. And we are going to keep going, keep improving our products to make them even better.”

Nestlé International Travel Retail General Manager Stewart Dryburgh: “It’s time to build on our momentum; time for some fine-tuning.”

He believes all brands have to move to meet challenges facing the confectionery category. “Confectionery is growing but it is not as buoyant as perfumes & cosmetics, and it’s not as buoyant as alcohol.”

One core reason, Dryburgh believes, is because the outbound Chinese consumers, who continue to drive growth in other categories, are not yet as focused on chocolate or confectionery purchases.

“We need to be introducing our Chinese customers to the pleasures of confectionery. It’s a fun category but a confectionery habit has not been part of their general upbringing.

“I believe we have work to do especially considering the super job that many of the cosmetics companies are doing to establish their brands on the domestic market in China. We all have to ensure that brand knowledge in confectionery continues to evolve.”

Dryburgh said NITR has identified four regional consumer groups – Western Europe, Middle East, the Americas and China – for targeted development in travel retail. He suggested a Rubik’s Cube approach to matching market demands of customer and shopper, with brands and product appearance, flavours and portion sizes.

“You have to move the ‘parts’ about to fit each market need and ensure that your overall goal – in our case delivering on the SOUL framework – is achieved.”

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