Haribo's sweet mastery of the travel retail channel
With over 100 years of candy making and almost as long creating its famous bears, Haribo has navigated the post-pandemic GTR landscape with remarkable agility, its marketing steered by the visionary leadership of Elisa Fontana, Director of Marketing for Travel Retail.
“In the post-pandemic travel-retail environment there are several segments showing strong growth, led by self-consumption, sharing and the continued importance of gifting,” says Fontana. “We have a strong pipeline of innovation for each of these opportunities, with trusted traditional Haribo favourites and exciting launches with new flavours, textures and formats.”
For the self-consumption purchase occasion, Haribo is prioritizing the availability of its hero products in tall, colourful pouches to maximize the on-shelf vertical merchandising opportunity with easy to spot solutions appealing to planned and spontaneous shopping missions.
The generation that shares
Haribo, recognizing the growing influence of Generation Z in the confectionery market, is proactively evolving its product range to cater to this demographic's preferences. A notable trend is the shift towards sharing-sized bags, mirroring Gen Z's social habits and their penchant for travel. This shift has significant implications for travel retail, as this demographic is seen as providing a major opportunity over the next decade.
A key initiative in this direction is the launch of the Haribo-Maoam Duo Pack Sour 653g. A GTR-exclusive and first-of-its-kind for the company, this pack uniquely combines their most popular sour candies – Haribo Roulette Fizz, Haribo Goldbears Sour, Maoam Bloxx Sour, and Maoam Stripes Sour. Released in April 2023, this multipack specifically targets Gen-Z consumers, known for their love of sour flavors.
In parallel, Haribo is also tapping into the burgeoning global demand for plant-based and vegan snacks. Gen Z's strong inclination towards plant-based and vegetarian options, fueled by their pursuit of responsible consumption, has led Haribo to introduce a new vegetarian line. This line includes products like the Smurfs 425g, Lakritz Schnecken 450g and Pico Balla 425g, further diversifying Haribo's offerings to meet the evolving consumer preferences.
A report by Grand View Research on the global vegan snacks market says the market was valued at US$44.02 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is largely driven by the rising demand for vegan products worldwide, attributed to health benefits and an increasing trend towards veganism. The market size for vegan snacks is expected to reach approximately US$80.53 billion by 2030.
Sustainability: a core business value
The demand for sustainable sourcing is becoming a crucial consideration for consumers, posing a significant challenge for manufacturers globally, who must establish sustainable supply chains that can sufficiently provide the necessary scale of key ingredients.
“At Haribo we believe that happiness comes with responsibility. That’s why we continually work to improve our environmental and social footprint across all operations,” says Fontana. “For instance, our decentralized approach enables us to spread production across key regions. This enables us to source many key ingredients regionally and avoid long transportation distances.”
Haribo's strategy in managing labor and human rights aligns with both local legal standards and the International Labor Organization (ILO) guidelines. The company collaborates exclusively with certified suppliers who comply with Haribo's global Supplier Code of Conduct. These suppliers are also required to ensure that all ingredients meet Haribo's stringent criteria for quality, ethics, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability.
Catering to diversity
Haribo's introduction of the Halal range is a strategic endeavor to embrace market diversity. Fontana elaborates: “Our HALAL range in GTR, with beef gelatine, is developed for the key growth demographic requiring Halal-certified confectionery, especially across IMEA. We continue to monitor consumer trends and to develop exciting, satisfying alternatives to engage this important and growing consumer profile.”
Focus on the family
Haribo's strategy is centered on addressing the requirements of various customer segments, with families traveling with children being the most significant demographic. This group not only enjoys confectionery but also exhibits the tendencies of sharing and gifting, which are common across numerous occasions of consumption. These tendencies are particularly prevalent during travel and also in the context of purchasing confections to share or gift upon returning home.
Strategic partnerships for global expansion
In October Haribo and B&S celebrated the first year of their partnership, mainly in Central and South Americas, expanding travel retail locations in new countries.
Haribo's partnership with B&S underscores the company's commitment to widening its international presence. Gilles Hennericy, Director of Sales at Travel Retail Haribo, expressed his satisfaction with the collaboration, stating, “We have been delighted by the service quality and reliability of the distribution service provided by B&S throughout the past year, and this has been a powerful support in our business growth over this period."
He added that the post-COVID recovery phase has seen retail partners value the flexibility and quick response offered by B&S, stating that Haribo benefits not only from B&S's dependable product distribution but also from a broader spectrum of specialized services. This includes brand ambassador support to enhance in-store visibility for Haribo products. B&S's investment in advanced digital back-office solutions, such as their digital B2B platform kingofreach.com, offer opportunities for tracking business development and sharing important documents and reports. As Haribo continues to expand in travel retail, Hennericy looks forward to strengthening the company’s relationship with B&S globally.
Prospects for recovery and growth
Looking ahead, Fontana is optimistic about Haribo's prospects in the travel retail sector. "We are on track for a strong recovery to pre-pandemic levels by early 2024. Our strategies are tailored to the changing market landscape, positioning Haribo as a frontrunner in the industry," she says.
Innovation is a key element in Haribo's operational ethos, as highlighted by Fontana, who emphasizes its critical role in shaping the company's product development and marketing strategies. This approach ensures Haribo remains abreast of market trends and consistently addresses the changing demands of its customers. In the aftermath of the pandemic, Haribo's journey is marked by resilience, innovative practices, and strategic savvy. The brand distinguishes itself in the travel retail sector through its adaptability to market shifts, its emphasis on sustainability, and its dedication to diversity and inclusivity. As Haribo progresses, its trailblazing methods and steadfast dedication to fulfilling the varied needs of international travelers are poised to fuel its continued growth and success.