Joyco India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Joyco Group of Spain, and the No 1 player in the bubble gum market in the country, is set to flex its muscles in the hard-boiled milk candy market. It launched Solano last week in the markets of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. While the date for the national roll-out has not been fixed yet, Joyco's new milk candy is competitively priced at 50 paise.
Solano, the company says, is one of the older and more popular brands in Joyco's international portfolio. With its launch in India, the company is entering the 20,000-tonnes per annum milk candy segment where the market leader is Maha Lacto from the Nutrine stable (in volume terms). This market is valued at Rs 600 crore and Alpenliebe from Perfetti India leads the pack in value terms.
"We intend to support the launch of Solano with a very big media splash as we think we have a winner in this product. It has been altered to suit the Indian palate and climatic conditions. It has sugar for starters, whereas in some western markets it is sugar-free and has more milk and fat for better taste," says Arun Hegde, managing director, Joyco.
The company has allocated close to Rs 7 crore for advertising the brand, which will be focused mostly on television and, to some extent, in children's magazines such as Diamond Comics. The advertising account has been entrusted with Lowe Lintas & Partners, Dehi. The company had spent close to Rs 20 crore on advertising last year. This year, factoring in the investment on Solano, the company hopes to spend Rs 27 crore.
Joyco, though very aggressive on the marketing front, has held its ground as a limited-brand company. The company spearheaded the explosive growth of the gum category in India with the launch of its bubble gum brand Boomer in 1995, which is today the single largest gum brand.
"We have 50 per cent market share in bubble gums and in the overall gum market, which includes chewing gum as well, we have a market share of 40 per cent," says Hegde. Interestingly, Joyco doesn't have a chewing gum brand in its portfolio yet. It has six brands in the Indian market currently: Boomer bubblegum, Bonkers soft chew candy, mint-flavoured candy brand Actimint, lollipop brand Pim Pom and Donald, a hard-boiled sweet under the Walt Disney franchise.
Interestingly, while Joyco tends to get pitched against Perfetti India (as both happen to be medium-sized MNCs with presence in the hard-boiled candy and gum market), both players have opted for very disparate marketing strategies.
Perfetti India, according to market sources, launched as many as seven brands in the first five years of its operations (it entered India in 1994) and spent close to Rs 40 crore on advertising gum products on television between 1995 and 2000. Joyco, on the other hand, went slow on mass media advertising and spent just about Rs 25 crore during the same period. It focussed on beefing up its distribution network instead and wooed consumers with an aggressive pricing strategy.
Today, the company has 1,650 distributors who reach 4 lakh oulets. Interestingly, south and west have proved to be the biggest regions for the company (in candies) as it entered markets that were already developed, thanks to the efforts of establised players such as Parry's Confectionery, Nutrine India and Ravalgaon Sugar Farms. Whereas for gums, it is the north and the south where it holds sway.
The company has invested Rs 10 crore on the launch of Solano and is targeting sales revenue of Rs 50 crore in the first year of launch. In fact, by the year-end, Joyco hopes to pitch the product among the top five candy brands in the country where it will rub shoulders with heavyweights Alpenliebe, Coffy Bite, Maha Lacto, Kismi Toffee and Lacto King.
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