The year is ending, and while it may be bittersweet for some, for many it is about to get sweeter. Confectionery leader Mars Wrigley is showing its bright colors as part of its new push in the region.
Mars Inc only recently bought out Wrigley in late 2016 before rebranding itself to become Mars Wrigley Confectionery, using 2017 and most of 2018 as time to completely merge the two companies. At the time of the buyout, a spokesperson from Wrigley Americas said that there were no decisions made on how the merger would affect regional locations.
After all this time, looks like the company is ready to sink its teeth deeper into MENA, starting with the release of its popular international products.
Earlier this week, Mars Wrigley Confectionery launched its rainbow candy brand Skittles alongside its famous Doublemint Gum in Egypt. They are only the first of the Wrigley flavors and brands to officially make its way to Egypt, the company is planning to launch several of its other candy brands next year.
Ghada Fouad, Mars Wrigley’s Corporate Affairs Manager, stated that “in 2019, we’re planning to introduce Starburst, Juicy fruit gum and Extra sugar free gum.”
Changing how people shop for candy
During an event, the company announced that they are aiming to improve the shopping experience of the confectionery industry. We sat with Sally El Guindi, Mars Wrigley’s Regional Customer Marketing Director to ask how they planned to do it.
She stated that
“Right now, with the integration of Mars and Wrigley, we are acting as one global confectionery leader, and this is why, in Egypt, we are launching Skittles and Doublemint Gum. In order to not only grow our share of the confectionery category, but to grow the confectionery category as a whole [alongside] the whole segment.
We really do focus on making the in-store experience across the whole path of purchase for the customer [enjoyable]… Starting with their shopping experience up until they exit at checkout to make sure that we are really driving the right communication… [Making sure] we are driving a nice and fun experience, because at the end of the day, we are all about the confectionery which should be fun and exciting.”
When asked about how the company plans to fix issues about bad in-store placements, she said that the company already had a plan in action.
“We’ve started with some key customers where we’ve done, for example, the confectionery factory… what we do is we come in as the leaders and players, and we try to organize how the category should look, how the branding should be, how we should segment [candies and sweets] according to the consumers’ needs and according to different occasion in which they consume the category.
So, we are very concerned and very involved in terms of where the category is placed, the layout of the category, the amount of space it gets, the branding and everything when it comes to the picture of success or the perfect store you could say.”
According the company, the confectionery category is the biggest snacking category, worth over 172 Billion USD worldwide.
They also stated that the category has approximately 95% penetration, but with only 3-8% conversion, insinuating that this is because the shopping experience is dull and somewhat overwhelming for customers. Saying that only 2 out of 10 shoppers go to the sweet’s aisle. Unfortunately, it looks like the data leans more towards American stores than MENA.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Egyptian factories supply to over 30 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. Ghada Fouad states that the company has also invested heavily into their local factories and introducing new lines to Egypt this year, most likely to prepare for a strong push in 2019.