There are a few recognised global brands in chocolate confectionery; however, the main selling point for the category is price. Most chocolate tablets are sold through limited-time price promotions.
Chocolate confectionery has a strange habit of showing sales dynamics in contrast to general FMCG trends. In fact, while the economic downturn was in full force, chocolate confectionery fared better than the rest of the market.
Professionals following this category are curious about the outcome of the great number of product combinations currently available in chocolate confectionery. The variety of new chocolate products, especially tablets, with biscuits and fruit may be detrimental to sales of chocolate confectionery by confusing the consumer.
Kraš dd not only leads in chocolate confectionery but also in sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks. It can easily be said that this local company is the reference point for sweets in Croatia.
Players in chocolate confectionery want to prevent declining interest in their products. Therefore, they resort to ideas such as co-branding.
There remains a distinct possibility that any of the three big local chocolate confectionery manufacturers could be acquired by a major global player. In a category this small with companies not exporting as much as they would like, their situation would seem untenable and strategic partnerships are sought for those companies to survive long term.
Gum remained a fairly uneventful category in 2019, with no significant change in price and a distinct lack of new launches or news. The trend of packaging becoming bigger continues as gum is sold in pellet form in large jars.
Bubble gum is the smaller of the two gum formats, which clearly shows that the most important gum feature is the utilitarian one of tooth health. Nevertheless, bubble gum has a small but resilient target group, which is mostly the younger population or children, and its sales growth will continue to outperform that of chewing gum over the forecast period.
While disposable household incomes have started regaining their strength, consumers show little excitement about gum as an overall category. With only a modest volume CAGR expected over the forecast period, gum will be far from its peak 2008 sales.
Despite losing slight value share over the review period, William Wrigley maintains the upper hand in gum. Now with nearly three quarters of all value sales, the company still has a significant advantage compared with the other competitors.
The main cause for the leading player’s weakening position is the same one previously used by the leader to achieve its domination of gum. Namely, favourable shelf positioning saw William Wrigley reach the top spot thanks to the skilful negotiation tactics of its local distributor.
Croatian gum consumers tend to be very brand loyal and wary of unknown economy brands. This is not only seen in discounters, but in other retail channels as well.
Sugar is the main threat to the sugar confectionery category. Its negative impacts on health and increased possibility of diabetes worry parents who want to protect children from the detrimental effects of indiscriminate sugar consumption, which include teeth damage and obesity.
Consumers tend to prefer traditional products in sugar confectionery and are reluctant to explore innovations. They are loyal to local companies that have years of tradition in the country, selling established “cash cow” products.
Pastilles, gums, jellies and chews remained the biggest category within sugar confectionery in Croatia in 2019. Its popularity is partially due to a Croatian peculiarity, from the enormous popularity of the powder concentrates drink Cedevita, owned by Atlantic Grupa dd, which offers additional health values through functionality and added vitamins.
The traditional leader in several snacks categories, Croatian company Kraš dd also led sugar confectionery in 2019. Relying on traditional brands such as Kiki and Bronhi, which are the most popular sugar confectionery brands stretching back several generations, the company has built a strong presence in Croatia.
International companies do not generally try to challenge the dominance of domestic companies in sugar confectionery. Instead, they seek niches and unoccupied positions to launch their products and try to grab sales share in this way.
Despite the general preference for local companies, a significant number of cost-conscious Croatians are not brand loyal as they have insufficient budgets to continually purchase the same mid-priced brands. This has skilfully been used by producers of economy sugar confectionery, which have managed to account for a respectable quarter or so of total value sales.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.