Mondelez and Lotus Team Up to Bring Biscoff to India

Tanushree Jaiswal Tanushree Jaiswal

Last Updated: 13th June 2024 - 03:41 pm

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Mondelez has teamed up with Lotus Bakeries, the Belgian company known for its biscuits, to introduce its renowned Biscoff brand to India. Mondelez will handle the sales and marketing of the popular Biscoff products in the region. According to the licensing agreement, Mondelez will receive royalties from Biscoff sales. The product is anticipated to be available in the market in the latter half of next year.

This partnership will enable the country's leading chocolate manufacturer to broaden its offerings into the premium cookie segment of the ₹45,000 crore biscuit market, which is presently led by Britannia, Parle, and ITC. 

"It is a partnership where both found merit and value in each other. From Biscoff's perspective, it is an entry to India, using the strength of Mondelez's manufacturing, distribution and branding and for us, we have a great product in the end," said Samir Jain, president of Mondelez India.

Lotus, a Belgian company founded in 1932, achieved international fame in 1986 when its signature Speculoos biscuit was rebranded as Lotus Biscoff, combining "biscuit" and "coffee". The spiced caramelized Biscoff's popularity has resulted in a threefold sales increase over the past decade, establishing it as one of the top five biscuit brands globally.

Although Lotus has already entered the Indian market, the company envisions significant opportunities for further expansion, leveraging its extensive network of millions of stores.

"To successfully operate here, an extensive distribution network, a strong local presence, effective merchandising, and an appropriate pricing strategy are key. And we believe that now is the right time to further accelerate Biscoff in this growing market," said Jan Boone, CEO, Lotus Bakeries. "I am therefore confident that Mondelēz International, with its strong commercial expertise, market-specific knowledge and its local presence, is the ideal partner to fulfil our ambition to make Biscoff a big success in India," she added.

At present, Biscoff is primarily imported into India and sold at a premium price. This cost is anticipated to drop once Mondelez starts local manufacturing. "Once we start manufacturing in India, the import duty, which is substantial, goes away. So, the pricing will come down significantly," Jain told The Economic Times.

Worldwide, Mondelez generates approximately 70% of its sales from non-chocolate products such as biscuits, gums, candies, and beverages.

In India, however, chocolates make up a significant portion of Mondelez's sales. Over the past decade, Mondelez has expanded into various categories, including cakes and breakfast cereals, as part of its strategy to establish itself as a leading snacking company. The biscuit market alone is nearly twice the size of the chocolate and confectionery market, highlighting a substantial growth opportunity in the cookies segment.

"With Oreo, we have demonstrated that we can build a premium portfolio in this country, despite many players being there. We were late entrants in the category but with understanding of the consumer with a great product, proven distribution strength on the ground, we were able to get a successful business out of Oreo," said Jain. India ranks as the third-largest market for Oreo biscuits, following the US and China. Cadbury Dairy Milk holds the highest market share for the US snacking firm in India.

Last year, Mondelez unveiled a ₹4,000 crore investment plan in India over four years, focusing mainly on manufacturing and supply chain improvements to cater to increasing demand. India contributes roughly $1.2 billion in revenue to Mondelez, with its local branch holding nearly two-thirds of the country's chocolate market.

India's per capita chocolate consumption is around 200 grams per year, significantly lower than the UK's consumption of over 10 kg per year, suggesting significant growth potential. Mondelez is ramping up its distribution efforts, currently directly reaching about 2.5 million retail shops.

In addition to expanding Biscoff's presence in India, Mondelez and Lotus Bakeries aim to collaborate on the development and marketing of co-branded chocolate products in other markets. Initial launches are expected in early 2025, featuring Cadbury and Biscoff in the UK and Milka and Biscoff in Europe.

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