Ricola expects further AP growth and supports TFWA Hainan Edition
Ricola has pledged its support of the upcoming TFWA Duty Free & Travel Retail Asia Pacific Summit Hainan Special Edition by taking a Brand Discovery package in a bid to build further awareness in a region that offers strong long-term growth prospects.
The Swiss herb confectionery company already has a firm foothold in the Asia Pacific region, not least in Hainan, where its East Asia distributor first secured listings with China Duty Free Group in mid-2019.
“Even when things became tough last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to sell at an increasing rate over time as the number of visitors started to grow. Along with other strong brands in travel retail, we believe in Hainan as a key market going forward.
“Our association with TFWA’s Hainan Special Edition online show is a tangible commitment to our belief in the importance of this market,” says Andreas Reckart, Head of Travel Retail, Ricola.
Ricola products already well-established and performing strongly in Hainan include its assorted 75-g sugar-free tins, 200-g sugar-free tins (Original Herb, Lemon Mint and Cranberry), 75-g sugar-free multi-pack tins (3x75-g) and 125-g assorted bag.
The prospects of the wider Asia Pacific market for the brand are emphasised by the predicted growth of the non-chocolate confectionery sector, with sales predicted to reach US$69.5 billion by 2026, according to data published by Polaris Market Research. To give this predicted growth perspective, the market was worth an estimated US$48 billion in 2017.
The same Polaris research points to the Asia Pacific segment of the market as growing at the highest rate during the forecast period, driven by a significant increase in population, a shift in eating habits and a rise in disposable income.
Reckart says keeping an eye on the bigger picture for non-chocolate confectionery market growth is vital as Ricola, and other brands, negotiate the difficulties of achieving sales in the face of the pandemic.
“We had a very good start of the year, but with the increasing COVID-19 restrictions, especially in Europe, customers started taking a wait and see approach. Nevertheless, there are several pockets of activity for us so far this year, and Hainan is one them. Business is going very well there.
“Right now, we see increasingly positive signs and receive indications from our customers that they are expecting to be back in business this summer. So, we are quite hopeful to see, at least in Europe, some sort of a summer travel season, which will help to put travel retail back on the road to recovery.
“In the meantime, we will be increasing our focus on the Asia Pacific market, as its own travel recovery begins to gather momentum and moving forward with plans to bring new products into the travel retail channel through the rest of 2021,” he explains.
This product range features Ricola’s iconic Original Herb and Lemon Mint flavor herb drops in a new 90-g travel exclusive drum-shaped tin. Also, new from the brand in travel retail is a fresh design of its 200-g sugar-free assorted offering. The new design combines images reflecting Ricola’s herbal heritage with travel graphics, as well as a multi-pack containing three limited-edition 75-g tins in the flavors of Original Herb, Lemon Mint and Cranberry.