Hershey’s India is also working on consolidating its chocolates portfolio under the Hershey’s brand.
Global confectionary and chocolate company Hershey India is all set to roll out its popular 'Kisses' chocolates and bars on pan India basis. In 2018, Hershey’s had launched kisses chocolates in South India. This large-scale roll-out comes in the backdrop of a consumption slowdown playing out in India. Despite the subdued environment, Hershey’s sees chocolates as a category doing well.
The company is also working on consolidating its chocolates portfolio under the Hershey’s brand. For instance, it is transitioning its Brookside brand to Hershey’s Exotic Dark.
Without giving exact revenue numbers, Herjit Bhalla, MD, Hershey India, said that the focus is on growing core brands, “Hershey's, Sofit and Jolly Rancher brands have been growing ahead of 30 percent over the last two years.”
The company had announced an investment of $50 million in India to build supply chain as well as ramp up manufacturing. Hershey’s says that a “sizable” amount of this investment has been used to build core brands like Hershey’s, Sofit and Jolly Rancher.
At present, Hershey's has one manufacturing plant in Bhopal. The other two are run by contract manufacturers in Gujarat and Telangana. To cater to the demand from the pan India rollout of chocolates, Bhalla said, “Have invested behind doubling the production capacity of Kisses to meet the estimated demand. We are committed to India and will look at expanding capacity whenever required.”
With this increase in presence in the chocolates space, Hershey’s aims to capture a sizeable portion of the market. The Indian chocolates space has been dominated by players like Mondelez, Ferrero, Mars and Nestle.
Competitive price points and distribution challenges have made it a tough market to crack for several global companies. Reports suggest that Hershey India’s net loss widened to Rs 109 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 85 crore in the previous year.