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Idea behind Alpenliebe JuiCyfills
Vitamin C has seen its importance increasing in the market since it helps build immunity.

Why Perfetti Van Melle India decided to launch Vitamin C candies

Vitamin C has seen its importance increasing in the market since it helps build immunity.
  • To join the bandwagon of offering healthy solutions to consumers, Perfetti Van Melle India’s Alpenliebe JuiCyfills launched Liquid filled Candy with fruit juice and Vitamin C.
  • We speak to Rajesh Ramakrishnan - Managing Director, Perfetti Van Melle India to understand the idea behind launching immunity-based candy, impact of lockdown on the company and goals ahead.
Since the COVID-19 virus came into our lives, brands have tried to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to help people surf through the rough waters and fight the virus. From anti-corona fabric to antiviral paint, brands have come up with all kinds of innovative, and at times even bizarre solutions to deal with the virus.

To join the bandwagon of offering healthy solutions to consumers, Perfetti Van Melle India forayed into the fruit candy segment with Alpenliebe JuiCyfills that is a Liquid filled Candy with fruit juice and Vitamin C. In these testing times, Vitamin C has seen its importance increasing in the market since it helps build immunity. So, the brand wanted to offer a fun and healthy option to kids and adults.

It launched a TVC reminding people that sometimes bringing the inner child out can also bring happiness to a family. The TVC showcases a kid who relishes the fruity blast of the new Alpenliebe JuiCyfills and is suddenly hit by an idea to bring his bickering grandparents together. Bolstered with the fruity mischief the kid plays a prank that lands his grandparents in a sweet moment of reconciliation. The idea was to position itself as a candy that ‘brings hearts together.’

However, since confectionery doesn't fall under essentials, there was a clear cut down on the consumption rate. Telling us how the lockdown impacted Perfetti Van Melle India, Rajesh Ramakrishnan - Managing Director, said, “The confectionery category falls under the larger Impulse category. We are highly dependent on footfalls on the street. Due to the lockdown from end of March, the traffic in the street significantly came down- schools, colleges, offices were all closed and this greatly impacted our business. April was tough and then May-Aug picked up slowly as the lockdown started easing a bit. The good part is that most of our portfolio is at Re 1 and hence it is an affordable treat for many, so the bounce back is also that much faster.”

Increasing focus on e-commerce was another trend that the brand latched onto.

“One of the key trends that we see is moving towards Fortification, especially in the F&B category. Consumers are looking for products that provide health related benefits in these times. Another is the move towards greater in-home stocking leading to in-home consumption. There is also a greater shift towards e-commerce across categories,” said Ramakrishnan.

Perfetti Van Melle had to cut down its ad spends in the beginning of the lockdown and is now slowly bouncing back.

“We had also cut down our spends during the tough months. But now we are slowly getting back to spending to further fuel demand and support our new launches. TV still continues to be our mainstay medium, while our spends in Digital have gone up,” said Ramakrishnan.

To minimise COVID’s impact further, the confectionery giant is also focusing more on its large packs for in-home consumption and target consumers via e-commerce. And like any other F&B brand, festive season plays a key role for Perfetti Van Melle.

Speaking about the initiatives lined up during the festive season, Ramakrishnan said, “The festive season between Aug-Dec is a key period for us as well, like it is for many F&B products. We have several initiatives lined up for the festive season on Alpenliebe and Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly. We kicked this off with an interesting activation on Alpenliebe during Raksha Bandhan, where we encouraged families to come together to create DIY Rakhis.”

The confectionery industry is roughly worth Rs 12,000 crore and was growing steadily before COVID. Ramakrishnan said that it will take a while for the industry to come back to its normal rate of growth, since that would also depend on footfalls in the street. Meanwhile, the brand will continue to focus on staying relevant and building trust.

Ramakrishnan said, “Brand building is always a long-term proposition. Consumers consume products that fulfil their functional needs and they connect with brands at an emotional level. This is not likely to dramatically change during or post the pandemic. I believe that brands need to stick to the fundamentals – understand and anticipate consumer needs, offer differentiated products, build strong consumer engagement and drive distribution. In fact, we have observed that consumers become less experimental and prefer to stick to their trusted brands. Brands which have stronger connect are doing better during this period because of the trust they have built over the years. We at Perfetti, operate in a largely impulse category, and the different brands in our portfolio play different roles in the lives of the consumer. For example, Center fruit is all about 'mood transformation' which uplifts your mood and makes you happy, Alpenliebe is about 'Bringing Hearts closer' by getting the family closer to each other. These are very relevant spaces in general and especially in these times.”

As a marketer, Ramakrishnan said that it is important to be empathetic to consumers, understand and anticipate their needs in these tough times, and meet those needs.

Perfetti Van Melle is currently the market leader in confectioneries and will be focusing towards further strengthening its position during and post-COVID.