Ricola eyes further Asia Pacific growth with support of TFWA Hainan Special Edition event

May 27, 2021

Ricola has pledged its support for 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 which 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. Ricola Head of Travel Retail Andreas Reckart said of the Hainan market: “Even when things got tough last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we kept selling, even at an increasing rate over time as the number of visitors started to grow. Most strong brands in travel retail believe in Hainan as a key market going forward and we are no exception. Our association with TFWA’s Hainan Special Edition online show is a tangible commitment to our belief in the importance of this market.” Ricola products already well-established and performing strongly in Hainan include its assorted 200g sugar-free tins, sugar-free 75g tins (Original Herb, Lemon Mint and Cranberry), sugar-free 75g tins Multipack (3x75g) and the assorted 125g 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 the potential growth perspective, the market was worth an estimated US$48 billion in 2017. The same Polaris research points to Asia Pacific segment of the market as growing at the highest rate during the forecast period, driven by a significant increase in population, changing eating habits, and rising disposable income. Reckart believes that keeping an eye on the bigger picture for non-chocolate confectionery market growth is vital as Ricola, and other brands, negotiate the manifold difficulties in achieving sales in the face of the pandemic, and the travel restrictions that have come with it. He said: “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 a few 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 in 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.” Reckart added: “In the meantime, we will be increasing our focus on the Asia Pacific market, as its own travel recovery begins to gather momentum, and move forward with our plans to bring new products into the travel retail channel through the rest of 2021.” These products include Ricola’s iconic Original Herb and Lemon Mint flavour herb drops with sugar, in a new 90g travel exclusive drum-shaped tin. Reckart said: “The sustainable, sugar-free and herbal aspects of our products are important for us and well recognised the world over. Nevertheless, a sizeable market for sugar products remains and we are seizing the opportunity to balance our portfolio and expand the appeal of our confectionery through the introduction of these new Original Herb and Lemon Mint flavour tins.” Also new from Ricola in travel retail is a fresh new design for its assorted sugar-free 200g product. The design combines images reflecting Ricola’s herbal heritage with travel graphics, as well as a multipack containing three limited edition 75g tins in the flavours of Original Herb, Lemon Mint and Cranberry.

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