New Delhi: Candy sales are on the fast track, thanks to hard-boiled candies (HBC) such as Mango Bite, Pulse Candy and Alpenliebe that are pushing the Rs 6,000-crore sweet candy market to grow at 1.5 times the FMCG industry growth in the country .
Despite constituting a third of the total candy market, the hard-boiled segment is witnessing heightened traction due to entry of new players and innovation. For instance, Dharampal Satyapal (DS) Group’s Pulse Candy reached Rs 100 crore within just eight months of its launch, its maker said, equalling the record of Coca-Cola’s diet drink Coke Zero.
“Eclairs and soft toffees segment grew in single digits in 2015 in comparison to hard-boiled candy segment. Lollipops are the other segment witnessing healthy growth,” said Vijay Udasi, senior VP at Nielsen India.
While the overall sweet candy market is growing at 14% Y-o-Y, the HBC segment, pegged at around Rs 2,100 crore, is growing at 24%, revealed data from Nielsen. “The category has low entry barriers that results in numerous new players entering the market every year. At the same time, there are fairly quick exits too. Low entry-exit barriers facilitate innovation on formats and flavours in the category ,” Udasi said.
Industry experts said, Pulse Candy , a kaccha aam (raw mango) hard boiled candy with a tangy salt filled centre, was one such innovation. “We launched it at Re 1. Other companies followed suit. Before that, everybody was selling 4 gram hard boiled candies for 50 paise,” said Shashank Surana, VP, new product development, at DS Group, the maker of Rajnigand ha pan masala, Pass Pass and Catch spices.
Mandar Keskar, category head at Perfetti Van Melle India, agrees. “Although the confectionery category in India is highly cluttered and price-sensitive with nearly 40% of the category volumes still coming from 50-paise price point, an encouraging trend is consumers lapping up innovations at higher price points,” he said.
While Perfetti leads in the caramel category , a flavour which constitutes 20% of the HBC segment, Parle is the dominant player with its Mango Bite brand. Interestingly , kaccha aam (26%) and mango flavour (24%) put together command 50% market share in the HBC category , followed by caramel and orange (16%). Inbisco is the other big player with its Kopico (coffee flavour) brand.
“The HBC segment is growing fast due to marketing push and innovations,” said Pravin Kulkarni, marketing head at Parle Products. “The chocolate eclair and soft toffee category is struggling because margins are low due to the premium nature of the product. By selling a candy for Rs 1, an HBC maker will make more money than a chocolate eclair company .”
Mondelez India, which makes the popular chocolate eclairs (renamed Cadbury Choclairs), did not reply to an e-mailed questionnaire.