Sugar Confectionery Report
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Space isn’t the only area of concern among sugar suppliers. For Mars’ Geerbex, the subject of conversion – turning passengers into shoppers – is a pressing issue. According to travel retail data specialist Generation, sales of the confectionery category as a whole have been flatlining in the past few years, with little or no growth. The suppliers we spoke to think this is an issue that must be addressed. Geerbex says the issue of non-conversion is not going away. “In the next few years there will be a lot more passengers, but more will travel with low-cost carriers. We need to think about how we drive confectionery. There might be more opportunity for confectionery as it is a lower-priced product – but how do we really transform the category so that that can happen? It’s not a new challenge, but we have not addressed it. The fact is: the amount each passenger spends on confectionery is not going up.” PVM’s van Veen reports that in general, the sugar confectionery market is showing slight growth, but in the Asian region the confectionery market dipped by 0.2% last year. This was a topic people were talking about at the TFWA Asia Pacific show in Singapore, she says, adding that PVM itself showed “very good growth” in the region of around 10% in 2018. “We grew in a declining market, but we believe there is a great potential for sugar confectionery in the region.” Another challenge for sugar manufacturers is the issue of labeling on product packaging. Driven by the obesity epidemic, regulations are being passed in many domestic markets to try to tackle the problem. For Mars’ Geerbex, this is also a matter For confectionery giant that the industry needs to take in hand, Mars, whose biggest sugar line is Skittles says gum has a lot of potential in the travel retail channel
24 JUNE 2019
and she warns that travel retail is not being taken into account when these regulations are being made. “No-one really thinks about travel retail or about the specifics of the category. We won’t be able to comply with hundreds of regulations in different countries – we need to start talking about that.” She continues: “The measures governments are taking will only continue – we need to act as an industry, and consider how do we speak up? How do we sell in a responsible way and tell the regulators this is what we are already doing, were not oblivious to the issue. We’ve excluded trans fats and saturated fats, for example, and we do not market to child under 12, etc. We need to sell confectionery responsibly – this industry is not immune and we need to wake up to that. Up to now we haven’t responded strongly enough.” Geerbex notes that the European Travel Retail Council has a confectionery group that meets for regular discussions and has initiated a labeling pilot. During the TFWA Asia Pacific fair in May, the Duty Free World Council confectionery group kicked off. In Latin America, the industry body ASUTIL is also tackling the issue. Despite these concerns, suppliers agree that there is also a bright side to the story. It’s a fun category that can drive excitement on the shop floor, and they all agree: everyone loves confectionery and we shouldn’t forget that.