GODIVA’s bid to capture America’s heartland - LISTEN

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Nurtac Afridi, CEO, GODIVA. Pic: GODIVA
Nurtac Afridi, CEO, GODIVA. Pic: GODIVA

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Nurtac Afridi talks to CN about the steps she has taken to transform GODIVA’s business during her first year as CEO.

Belgian chocolate brand GODIVA, is shifting its business strategy in the US as a result of an evolving retail market and changes in consumer preferences.

In time for the Christmas market, the premium chocolatier is now available in Macy’s and Bloomingdales as well as Target and Costco wholesalers, where it has announced the arrival of its limited-edition Holiday Gift Collections, which is also available online.

GODIVA's commitment to supporting both local and global communities, and fostering a culture that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, is at the heart of our brand -- Nurtac Afridi, CEO, GODIVA

Leading the push is the brand’s ‘Festive Sparkle Collection’, back by popular demand for a second year, with classic flavours like hot cocoa, almond, caramel and raspberry, instantly ‘evoking the warmth and wholesome goodness of the season’.

GODIVA was founded in Brussels in 1926 by Belgian Chocolatier, Pierre Draps and has built a unique and highly successful business centred on premium-quality chocolate.

At the helm is Nurtac Afridi, GODIVA’s new CEO, who Afridi took up her position in December 2020 and has spent the past 12 months undertaking a strategy to ‘redefine what premium means for GODIVA’, along with making its chocolate more accessible through expanding its US distribution channels and engaging with consumers in new ways.

She told ConfectioneryNews that the brand intends to beef-up its sustainability credentials in the coming months by looking at working with Fairtrade certification for its cocoa beans. In the meantime, Afridi says GODIVA works very closely with its suppliers to try and eliminate any signs of child labour from its supply chain and for its chocolate to become more traceable in the future.

Her other priorities, include extending channels of distribution, driving product innovation, expanding marketing and licensing, creating an integrated supply chain, and empowering the company’s workforce.

The brands Lady GODIVA Initiative is also a source of pride for Afridi, championing women’s empowerment in NGOs and non-profits based in five of its global markets: US, Canada, UK, Belgium, and China.

"GODIVA's commitment to supporting both local and global communities, and fostering a culture that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, is at the heart of our brand​," she says.

"We are honoured to support these inspirational organizations that are taking important steps to empower women around the world.

“Our employees selected these recipients based on the noble efforts each organization has taken to improve the lives of women in their communities. They deserve to be recognized and acclaimed for their valuable contributions to society."

The 2021 recipients were announced recently and include Hot Bread Kitchen (US), Up With Women (Canada), #SheDIDIT (Belgium), China Women's Development Foundation (China), and AVA: Against Violence and Abuse (UK).

Afridi, who earned her MBA in Germany and a bachelor's degree in marketing and finance in Istanbul,  is based in New York and comes to GODIVA from Yildiz Holding – GODIVA’s parent company – where she also serves as chief strategy and growth officer.

She was a key member of the team that transformed Yildiz into a global snacking group with more than 300 brands available in more than 120 countries. In addition to her operational experience, she led the acquisitions of iconic brands like GODIVA in 2008 and McVitie's, Carr's, Jacobs, and BN (United Biscuits) in 2014. The latter led to the creation of the pladis company, the world’s third-largest biscuit company.

  • Listen in full to our interview in full with is Nurtac Afridi in our latest podcast special. Note, during our conversation, Afridi mentions a 300,000 points of sale in the US, she asked me to point out that this is currently "an aspiration target​."

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