Finding a single taste that appeals to customers across all geographies has been the dream of every chocolate maker. But Bert Alfonso, president of international business at The Hershey Co, believes that it is equally important for companies to have products that succinctly blend local and international flavors, for sustained growth in key markets like China. The Pennsylvania, United States-based chocolate manufacturer has already taken the first steps in this regard by launching chocolate products with blended ingredients and also through acquisitions of Chinese confectionery brands that have established connections with customers. “The addition of Golden Monkey has really broadened the possibilities in China,” said Alfonso in a recent interview with China Daily, after Hershey acquired an 80 percent stake in the privately held confectionery company in Shanghai for $584 million in September…Full Article: China Daily Nov 2014

Key Points

  • The president of international business at Hershey expects his company’s sales to increase to US$500 million by 2015 due in part to Golden Monkey’s distribution system.
  • In 1995, Hershey established a representative office in China. However, the company was not able to obtain significant market share, with Hershey products reportedly “missing” from store shelves in 2004.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In May 2013, Hershey announced that launched a new chocolate product in China. The product, called “Lancaster”, is a “Nai Bei” styled candy made from high-quality imported milk (three flavors total).
  • From 2009 to 2013, mainland China imports (excl. Hong Kong & Macau) of “chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa” (HS 1806) increased from 16,624 MTs to 49,167 MTs, an increase of 196%. The top supplier was Italy (30% import share in 2013), followed by the USA (9% share in 2013), Belgium, Germany, and Singapore.
  • From 2009 to 2012, Hong Kong imports (excl. China & Macau) increased of “chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa” (HS 1806) increased from 17,875 MTs to 26,909 MTs, an increase of 51%. Like in mainland China, Italy was the top supplier (25% import market share in 2012), followed by the Netherlands (9% share), USA, Belgium, Australia, and Germany.

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