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"...there will always be pocket money for sweets."

‘Who stops innovating dies’ says Sanchez Cano as exports set to outstrip domestic sales

By Oliver Nieburg+

22-Feb-2013

Spanish sugar confectioner Sanchez Cano will grow sales in export markets faster than its home market and will do so through innovation, according to its export manager.

ConfectioneryNews.com caught up with the firm, behind the Fini brand, at ISM 2013 in Cologne.

Exports grow faster than Spanish market

The company has a factory in Brazil supplying the domestic market and another in Spain that sells 50% to the home market and the other half as exports.

Geert Meijs, export area manager for Sanchez Cano, said: “Maybe now there’s a slight change, it’s going to be bigger export than home market – maybe 55% and 45%..it’s growing more rapidly in the export market than the home market."

Eyeing China

Sanchez Cano‘s export markets include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and South Africa. Its biggest export markets are Germany and France, but it is looking to grow in Asia to build on its presence in the Philippines, Taiwan and Korea.

“For us China is one of those question marks that has to be filled…We’re still waiting for that person to arrive. Maybe we’ve met them now at this show and maybe we can have a continuous long-term relationship with somebody over there.”

Sanchez Cano also does a lot of private label in the US. “It [the US] is the biggest market, so the possibility to grow is definitely in the USA,” said Meijs.

Sanchez Cano's focus on innovation saw it launch soft candy Tornado 6 at ISM

“But it’s all very relative. For example in Sweden you have 6m people and you wouldn’t believe the volume that I do in Sweden with only 6m people,” he said.

‘Innovate or die’

Asked for his view on the state of the sugar confectionery market, Meijs said: “Obviously we are in a world crisis, but we are on the lucky part of that crisis.

“I believe that instead of buying a new Nintendo or computer game for their children, there will always be pocket money for sweets. I think we’re on the safe side. There’s a lot of competition, but competition makes you sharp.”

“I believe who stops innovating dies. But we will not do so…every year we have new machines, new packaging machinery and new ideas.”

He said the company’s priority would be to innovate and adapt packaging to the requirements of each market.

Sugarpova prospects

Sanchez Cano is the manufacturer of tennis pro Maria Sharapova’s candy range Sugarpova that launched in Australia in January.

“There’s no indication of Sánchez Cano on the bag itself, but everybody know that the tennis balls are made by us. So everyone in the confectionery world can put one and one together and in the end come back to us, said Meijs.

Sanchez Cano manufactures Maria Sharapova's Sugarpova brand

He said he was excited about the prospects for the brand and had been approached by potential customers from Russia and Japan at ISM.

Spain: low population growth but still money for sweets

On the Spanish market, Meijs said: “We’re one of the leaders in the home market and it’s difficult to stay on top, especially when you’re in a country where the population doesn’t grow so much.”

However, he said sugar confectionery was still performing well in Spain in spite of economic troubles as children still had pocket money to spend on candy.

He added that Sanchez Cano was at an advantage in Spain because sugar confectionery tended to be sold via kiosks rather than supermarkets.

“It’s not really a supermarket thing. So even if sales in supermarkets go down we will not suffer too much because the traditional shops are still there and their sales will go on and on."

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