July 3 2024  |  Confectionery & Fine Foods

Mars Wrigley ITR declares “M&M’s is back” and plans for transaction zone expansion

By Laura Shirk


Designed to complement MWITR’s strategy and M&M’s ecosystem, M&M’s Minis offers a small, fun and versatile snacking option such as a recipe ingredient, from an immersive point of view

Global Travel Retail Magazine (GTR Magazine) recently caught up with Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail (MWITR) for the latest in all things confectionery and snacking. Following the launch of its transaction zone concept in partnership with Aer Rianta at Dublin Airport earlier this year, the team showed up in Singapore with the new brand message: “M&M’s is back” and a sneak peek of the chocolate brand’s experience-driven approach for the future.

Marcus Hudson, Sales Director at MWITR, said while the company used last year’s exhibition to demonstrate that there is a greater opportunity for the category in Asia than is currently being delivered, Asia Pacific 2024 was about figuring out how to act on this opportunity and draw the attention of customers. Along with showcasing M&M’s renewed energy in the channel and the company’s agility per market, MWITR clearly outlined how it is planning to activate footfall and execute within the region.

“We’re not here [at the show] to talk about the evolution of our core portfolio because we already do that on a normal week-to-week basis. We want to show the exciting experiences that we’re going to deliver in travel retail that will drive people into the shop and give them a reason to visit,” said Hudson. Right now, MWITR is focused on seasonal activation in line with the summer holidays, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Golden Week in Japan, all of which are big for gifting. MWITR is also working on securing commitment from creative partners in terms of carrying out celebrations and building excitement around existing potential.

Designed to complement MWITR’s strategy and M&M’s ecosystem, Hudson also highlighted M&M’s Minis at the show. Providing “the cute factor”, Minis offer a small, fun and versatile snacking option such as a recipe ingredient, from an immersive point of view. Circling back to the new message, he reiterated the brand is not back alone; it’s back with the support of M&M’s duty free stores, partnerships and activations. “We’re building an airport experience for the biggest candy brand in the world. It’s not an isolated moment, it’s bigger than that,” he said.


Along with showcasing M&M’s renewed energy in the channel at TFWA Asia Pacific 2024, MWITR clearly outlined how it is planning to activate footfall and execute within the region; this includes a focus on seasonal activation

Zoning in and checking out

Speaking about the evolution from gifting to self-consumption as the reason to purchase in confectionery, Hudson explained that the second is purely incremental and the two seamlessly interact as part of MWITR’s strategy. Travelers who enter a store with the intent to buy a gift, could be influenced to make an additional purchase based on multiple reasons including the brand display, the product assortment or a personalized offer, which is now available via the new M&M’s and Maltesers Global Traveller Passports.

Crafted by MWITR is the moment of purchase within the transaction zone when shoppers might choose to refresh, recharge or self-reward on impulse. While checking out, shoppers might also be reminded to pick up something they forgot to add to their basket. As shared by Hudson, therefore, after making the decision to buy a gift, it is possible to convert that second moment of purchase for self-consumption.

“Our strategy starts by getting the fundamentals of the consumer right. Globally, from a category point of view, Mars Wrigley sees the transaction zone and conversion at the moment of purchase as part of the fundamentals. They play together in a fully interactive way. Our goal is to convert different moments of purchase within the same shopping visit,” Hudson added.


Featuring an optimized cross-category portfolio, travelers can find a new queue system and manned transaction zone at Dublin Airport T2; MWITR is working with partners to implement this concept at Changi Airport 

Transaction zone at Changi Airport

A proven success in Europe travel retail, MWITR is planning to implement its transaction zone concept at Changi Airport. While the company is again working closely with retail partners to learn more about the passenger flow, store environment and airport requirements in Asia, it knows the importance of creating a personalized approach that is tailored to the store level. “One of the biggest challenges in travel retail is there is no one-size-fits-all solution, especially when rolling out an idea to scale,” said Hudson. “The transaction zone will do the same job [at Changi Airport], but look completely different.”

Hudson continued, the key to the longevity of this concept is a cross-category solution. The company is aware of the collaborative nature that its success relies on. “When we approach retailers to discuss collaborating on the transaction zone, our multi-category approach gives them a sense of comfort because the assumption is it’s going to be a Mars takeover,” he said.

While on paper, travel retail is a competitive business, Hudson noted the challenges category players face are shared. “It’s a competitive environment, and we do want to win, but we also openly discuss the dynamics of the channel and the challenges we’re all facing,” he concluded.


Marcus Hudson, Sales Director, Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

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