The company’s core operation is its real estate business but it is also present in textiles, entertainment & hospitality and edible oils.
“With that experience and considering the potential of premium chocolates in India, we decided to enter the confectionery category,” Khushboo Rai, head of media & communications’ at Rajhans Desai-Jain Group, told ConfectioneryNews. “We would like to be a leading luxury chocolates firm.”
The company had been working on the Schmitten brand for the past two years and has now launched the product in India.
“Today the chocolate market is growing with a CAGR of 23% and we believe that gradually it will start taking a larger share to replace the sweets market in India,” said Rai.
The Indian chocolate market is dominated by Mondelēz, which commands a 62% share, ahead of nearest rival Nestlé on 18%, according to ValueNotes data. Mondelēz recently premiumized its Bournville brand to appeal to the increasingly affluent Indian consumer.
Mars and Ferrero – with a share of 6 and 3% respectively – both have a premium positioning in the market. Mars last year launched premium tablet chocolate brand Galaxy (also known as Dove) in the country at a reduced price point and Ferrero’s Rocher brand has proved popular.
“In India the chocolate offerings have largely aimed at the masses,” said Rai. “While in the recent past, we have seen initial efforts towards the development of premium brands in the chocolate category, we felt that the time was just appropriate for to create a niche brand in luxury chocolates. We realise that the customer is ready to pay extra for a good product.”
The Schmitten brand is manufactured in Gujarat, India, but uses Swiss machinery.
“Our efforts are towards creating a USP where the customer gets a rich superior taste to take him closer to eating Swiss chocolates,” said Rai.
“We have also adopted European recipes in some of our formulations, ensuring that key ingredients like cocoa are bought from the best global sources.”
India press report that Rajhans (Desai-Jain) Group has also appointed two former executives from Cadbury and claim the group has partnered with the number one chocolate maker in Switzerland.
Chocolat Frey owner Migros and Lindt are joint leaders in the Swiss market, according to Euromonitor International data.
Targeted youth brand
Rajhans (Desai-Jain) Group is marketing Schmitten as a youth brand in its TV and digital campaigns.
“Rather than going for numeric distribution, we are focusing more in the weighted distribution and ensuring the availability of the brand in a proper catchment area,” said Rai.
The group has targeted eight states (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Delhi – NCR, Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka) and says it has a developed distribution system with cold chain logistics.
A recent report by ValueNotes said that premium chocolate demand was due to outpace demand for economical and medium price chocolates as consumer preferences shifted to branded and foreign chocolate.