Mars Wrigley Confectionery International Travel Retail (ITR) is adopting an ambitious approach to managing change in the confectionery category within travel retail.

New innovations and redesigns to ensure its brands move “at full throttle” were revealed by the Mars ITR team at last week’s TFWA World Exhibition.

“Our biggest challenge is to drive conversion and the growth of the confectionery category,” said Mars ITR Category Director Raghav Rekhi.

He said confectionery was well-placed to unlock growth in travel retail. “It is, after all, the most impulsive category with universal appeal. Shopper dynamics are changing. We are not looking at a luxury market any more as our customers look for value rather than premium offers. There are more travellers but the average spend is decreasing. Yet confectionery can still grow basket sizes.”

Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s insights revealed why travellers shop for confectionery and underlined the importance of offering a rounded product range, not just chocolate but also sweets, gum and mints.

“When purchasing confectionery, consumers generally shop for one of four different reasons: to Recharge, to Reward themselves, to Connect with others, or to Celebrate,” Rekhi said.

“In global travel retail, purchasing is primarily to Connect, with Celebrate coming a close second. However, our insights indicate there are opportunities in the Recharge and Reward space across all price points.”

“Our portfolio – with global and regional brand leaders – is designed to address all consumer needs and reasons for purchase,” Rekhi added.

He underlined Mars Wrigley’s focus on universal appeal, its intention to create new usage occasions to address travellers’ needs and to convert more transactions by maximising visibility.

Rekhi described M&M’s as the company’s fastest-growing brand. “We are going full throttle to grow the category in 2019 with a fantastic new campaign designed to unlock travel connect moments.”

Dressed to travel: Exclusive lines feature refreshed packaging.

New products for 2019 include a 370g limited-edition M&M’s Salted Caramel Pouch, M&M’s Mixed Pouch (400g), novelties to target gifting and seasonal lines, including Christmas and Easter tins. Travel shopping-exclusive lines feature new packaging.

Mars ITR is ready to take the wraps off its M&M’s campaign for 2019.

Mars Wrigley ITR Sales Director Christophe Bouyé commented: “Together with our other blockbuster brands Snickers, Twix, Extra, Skittles and Maltesers, Mars ITR is firmly in the driving seat of total confectionery growth within global travel retail.

“We will continue to work with our retail partners to execute the best possible environment for connecting travelling consumers to our brands through disruptive display and merchandising techniques, promotional support, and maximising purchase opportunity from the shop floor through to the checkout and point of sales.”

New lines for 2019 include an Extra ten-pack and Skittles Tropical 400g pouch. Packaging for Snickers, Maltesers and Celebrations has been refreshed.

A new limited-edition Skittles pouch features in the 2019 line-up.

Bouyé outlined Mars ITR’s ‘step-change’ in 2019. “Seasonal products to target the Middle Eastern market, Chinese New Year, Christmas and Easter are part of our big plans for next year,” he said.

Mars Wrigley ITR General Manager Gary Clarke touched on the range of products available in the confectionery category. “To increase conversion we all need to look at the offering, which can be overwhelming.”

He emphasised the strength of major brands offering good value, prominent displays and the ability to make shopping simple.

“We must consider the type of traveller and the type of spend. The category is quite flat so it’s up to us to do something about it. The sky is not the limit for us in 2019,” Clarke concluded.

Footnote: Gary Clarke will deliver a keynote address at The Trinity Forum 2018 in Shanghai (31 October-1 November).