Perfetti Van Melle India, the maker of Alpenliebe, has given a new twist to the humble éclairs by making its offering a concoction of two chocolate flavours. The 2Choco Eclairs, the company says, will serve two purposes — it will differentiate the product from similar offerings from Cadbury, Nestle, ITC and Parle Products, and, at the same time, offer the consumer something she can relate to.
Yes, relate to. Here’s the logic: Perfetti introduced Chocoliebe, its premium offering in the éclairs segment, way back in 2006. Choco-liebe is a ball filled with chocolate and was positioned as a non-sticky eclair. But, as per Nikhil Sharma, director, marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India, the Indian consumer identifies éclairs with a cylindrical chocolate in a twist wrap. 2Choco Eclairs will help plug the gap.
Observers see the launch as Perfetti’s way of making deeper inroads into the eclair category. Its share (the share of Chocoliebe, that is) currently stands at around 4 per cent. As per Nielsen data, the segment stands at around Rs 1,000 crore, constituting almost 20 per cent of the Rs 5,000 confectionery market and is growing at a healthy 18 per cent per annum. The category is led by Cadbury’s Eclairs (with a share of around 21 per cent). With close to a 30 per cent market share, Perfetti is among the leading players in the organised confectionery business in India today.
The 2Choco Eclairs will compete at the Rs 1 price point, which drives the bulk of the eclair market (around 51.6 per cent, compared to the 50 paise price point that has a 45.9 per cent share). “Eclairs is still a very urban phenomenon,” says Sameer Suneja, MD, Perfetti Van Melle India. “Once you move to upcountry or rural markets, you find competition from local players who sell candies for as low as 15-25 paise. Our focus would therefore be to upgrade the consumers to the Rs 1 price point by offering quality products.”
The thing to remember is that it is an impulse-driven category and one can’t push the price upwards beyond a point. Last year, for instance, Cadbury introduced a Rs 2 rich brownie éclair, which, say industry players, is trying to create a space for itself in the market.
Given the inherent limitation of competing on price points, brands must look elsewhere to stay ahead. Suneja says “visibility and availability are key” for a product category where consumer involvement is low. Which makes distribution and display very important.
Nonetheless, the role of a memorable campaign in giving a brand top of mind recall cannot be denied. Perfetti knows this quite well; it has chosen Hindi movie star Kareena Kapoor as the brand ambassador. “As a category, eclairs appeals to kids and adults alike. With her (Kapoor) as the face of the brand, we hope to capture the attention of both these consumer sets,” says Sharma. And of course a white bear with a samurai like ponytail that transforms into a brown bear in the 2Choco Eclairs ad will play its part too.