Product and brand life cycles in the chocolate confectionery market are shortening, partly due to the intense competition in the marketplace. One of the ways in which companies are extending the life of their brands is through line and brand extensions.
New products in this category have to prove themselves very quickly or be de-listed, although the greater risk of failure is the potential dilution of the core brand image. Some brands are certainly doing things right; however, others occasionally falter.Growing global trend
Premiumisation is a growing global trend and as such it is predicted that the niche will continue to develop for super-premium snacks and confectionery, products that have a high degree of exclusivity and are not easily duplicated.
In most instances, the emphasis will be on indulgence with very minor or no consideration for health benefits. This is certainly apparent in the chocolate confectionery industry, where we are likely to see activity gearing up moving into winter, traditionally one of the peak sales periods for chocolate!
Lindt has driven innovation in the premium end of the chocolate slab market with a stunning range of Petits Desserts chocolates. Rumour has it that it is only a matter of time before these fine delicacies reach our shores, and while they will no doubt command a hefty price premium, one little square will surely deliver more chocolate ecstasy than any whole slab equivalent, making this a value for money self-indulgence.
Judging by the latest slab line extension from Cadbury's this winter, it has attempted a local version of Petits Desserts in the form of a range of four ‘Local n Lekker' dessert slabs. While the concept of local desserts is great and full marks for that, it would appear that execution has let it down. Compared to the prestigious look of the Lindt Petits Desserts range, the Cadbury's “Local n Lekker' range look far from “lekker”, doing the actual taste of the chocolates no justice.
It is unfortunate that, with global research trends indicating premiumisation as a significant opportunity, and given the imminent arrival of Lindt, it took this direction. And if ‘Local is indeed so Lekker, why no “Proudly South African” logo? After all the range is manufactured in South Africa!
Cadbury has adopted numerous extension strategies on its core Dairy Milk brand over the past two decades, and it is clear that due to the intensely competitive nature of the chocolate confectionery market, those extension strategies are necessary in order to extend the life of a brand and drive growth in this sector.Potential effects of dilution
Brand managers seek to utilise brand extension for relative lower-cost brand launches as these build on already established brand equity and present almost immediate consumer awareness, simple market entry and transferable customer perceptions from the parent brand. However, potential effects of dilution of the core brand image as a result of a poor line extension can occur. It would be unfair for this to happen to the Dairy Milk image as a result of its latest introduction.
Should Lindt also decide to introduce its Creations range into this market, it will give the local players a run for their money; that is, unless the marketers at Cadbury's can redeem themselves and deliver a premium-looking, great tasting, innovative range of flavours, at an affordable price. Perhaps we shall soon see a Bournville range of Cherry and Chili, Pepper and Lime, Ginger and Lemon Grass etc?
If you are a chocaholic, then life is much too short to give up all your vices, certainly chocolate. Nestle have tapped into premiumisation with its Heaven range of slabs – melt in your mouth centers that ooze flavours to die for. We can only hope that they too will finally arrive in this market, giving chocolate lovers a much-needed boost in what has become a rather disappointing category of late for the local favourites.