Kraft's Milka set to go head to head with Dairy Milk in UK

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Kraft foods Cadbury plc United kingdom Cadbury

The Kraft owned chocolate brand Milka is to be launched across the entire UK market from April, just weeks after the US food giant purchased Dairy Milk maker Cadbury.

By entering the brand into the UK market, Kraft will be offering a competitor product to the Cadbury market leader, according to marketing publication UK Marketing News.

Dairy Milk dominates the UK confectionery sector, with sales of £371m (€424.9) last year; its nearest competitor Mars' Galaxy had sales of £192m (€219m).

Milka was soft-launched in the UK market last year, and was only sold in selected retail outlets in order for Kraft to assess how popular the bar would be with consumers there.

A TV advertising campaign will be kickstarted from April to heighten the awareness of the brand in the British market.

Milka was acquired by Kraft in 1990, and its European market penetration has shot up from two countries then to 22 now with annual sales of about £1bn.

Industry analysts claim the expansion of the Milka brand into the UK market is likely to add to the controversy surrounding Kraft's takeover of Cadbury.

Meanwhile, a select committee of MPs in the UK are set to question senior officials from Kraft Foods next month following its decision to push ahead with Cadbury's plans to close a production site in south-west England, despite pledging to keep it open prior to the takeover.

Kraft said in a statement last week that after extensive talks with senior management at Cadbury, it has reluctantly accepted that the factory will have to shut. "While this is a difficult decision, we have moved quickly to end any further uncertainty,” ​said the US food giant.

The group said that Cadbury had already spent £100m (€113.6m) building new facilities in Poland and most production would be transferred by the middle of this year.

Rosenfeld added the planned £30m (€34.10) investment plans for the Bournville site remained in place, and that the company will honour Cadbury's previous undertakings to Somerdale employees concerning the terms and conditions of the closure.

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