Mars Wrigley India general manager Andrew Leakey.
Mars Wrigley India general manager Andrew Leakey.

Chocolate maker Mars to expand portfolio with local products

  • Mars is developing more local products for the Indian market, says Mars Wrigley India general manager Andrew Leakey
  • Leakey indicates Mars will bring more of its global products to India but declines to specify which ones

New Delhi: Mars Inc., one of the world’s largest confectionery, chocolate and pet food makers, is developing more local products for the Indian market, a top executive at the maker of M&M’s and Snickers said.

“The first phase for us has been what are the big global brands globally that we can bring to India. And there’s another piece of work going will see some of them (products) coming into the market quite soon, which are the ones with India influence," said Andrew Leakey, general manager, Mars Wrigley India. “We will locally develop and locally produce products," Leakey added.

Recently, the local arm of the American food company launched an almond Snickers specially for the Indian market. In 2013, the company launched an egg-less variant of the brand, again made only for India.

Leakey said more such innovations are in the pipeline.

“In some cases the brands are global and in some cases they will be well-known brands but they might be a bit more relevant to India," Leakey said of launches expected to hit the market in the next 12 months.

These developments are underway at the firm’s Bengaluru research and development centre.

Mars made a late entry into India’s chocolate market in 2012 with the launch of Snickers chocolate bars; it subsequently introduced Galaxy and Twix. In 2016, the company started manufacturing Snickers locally.

Mars sells Snickers, Galaxy, Mars, Bounty, M&M’s candy, Doublemint and Orbit in India. Last year it also launched the Skittles brand of candy.

In the past five years, the chocolates and candy maker has invested close to $150 million in expanding its business, Leakey said.

Last year, India emerged as its fastest growing market, he added.

Between 2011 and 2015, India’s chocolate confectionery market grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9%. This is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.6% from 2016 to 2020, shows data from research agency Mintel.

Mars has still gained in a market where per capita consumption of chocolates is low.

Leakey indicated that India will continue to see big launches planned for this calendar year but declined to name any global brands that it is bringing to the market.

Maltesers, Dove, Milky Way, are some of the company’s popular global brands that are not sold in the country.

Headquartered in Mclean, Virginia, Mars is among the world’s largest confectionery and candy makers.

The $35 billion company is among the largest privately-owned family businesses in the US.

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