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Revamping The Indian Conventional Confectionery Market: Sameer Bhatia, Founder & MD, House of Candy

We aspire to create 1500 Points of Sale (POSs) across India as our future brand expansion strategy.

Revamping The Indian Conventional Confectionery Market: Sameer Bhatia, Founder & MD, House of Candy
Revamping The Indian Conventional Confectionery Market: Sameer Bhatia, Founder & MD, House of Candy
Revamping The Indian Conventional Confectionery Market: Sameer Bhatia, Founder & MD, House of Candy

Give us a brief about your offerings and your business model?

Currently, we are functioning on the back of two distinctive business models: B2C and B2B. Through the D2C model, House of Candy directly offers varieties of candies to consumers through popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and our official website. Consumers can also directly purchase candies and lollipops by visiting our physical outlets across the country. In terms of the B2B model, we collaborate with progressive businesses on the lookout for yielding the benefits of the modern-day confectionery market. We offer fellow entrepreneurs and businessmen an opportunity to invest one time in a House of Candy franchise with a payback period of 12 to 15 months.

We have a wonderland of candies in terms of offerings, including multi-coloured Gummy bear, soft and spongy marshmallows, exhilarating cola bottles, poppy-colours jelly beans, and all-time-favourite fizzy cola bottles, sui-generis apple belts, succulent raspberries, gummy jelly mix, and luscious dark chocolate almonds. We have also recently started manufacturing avant-garde lollipops. In addition, we offer customised candy stations during special occasions like birthday parties or functions.

What ideas and strategies the brand is following to tap the festive season? What exclusive offers does the brand give to customers?

Sweets play a central role in festive celebrations. Lately, people have become more adventurous and eager to try something new and unique. So breaking the traditional sweets culture, we have brought exceptional varieties of candies and lollipops to lighten up the festive mood. Our offerings are consumed and favoured by kids and adults alike.

To ensure our customers can easily create avant-garde gifting choices, we have ongoing Spin the Wheel discount offers at our large format stores for people shopping INR 500 and above-worthy products. Furthermore, we have also created a unique assortment of seven distinctive and delicious flavours: Candy Necklaces, Fruit Jellies, Chocolate Flavoured Beans, Fizzy Cherry Cola, Fizzy Cola Bottles, Rainbow Bites, Sour Melon Slices, and two rainbow-like lollipops, designed and packed in a Divine Candy Box coupled with an exuberant Indigo cover. So, consumers can opt for these candy wonderlands and wrap them up with colourful ribbons.

How much growth and sales House of Candy is expecting this season? What is the change in sales numbers when compared to previous years? 

We have already reached and surpassed pre-Covid numbers. To put things in perspective, we would be at 120% of pre-covid levels, so that’s a 20% jump from the same time previous year.

What is the role of the confectionery industry in the Indian economy and the future of the industry in India?

The entry of new foreign players, increasing disposable income and the attractiveness of imported products have fuelled the emergence of the modern-day candy market. In FY2020, the Indian Candy Market was valued at USD 1643.64 million. It is expected to grow at the compound annual growth rate of 15.40% and reach close to USD 3661.68 million by the end of FY2026. Lately, consumer purchasing patterns, taste buds, and preferences have evolved drastically. The latest trend of gifting confectionery products meshed with fruity, exotic, and punchy nut flavours has accelerated the overall industry's growth.

Tell us about your recent partnership with Hamleys. What are your plans for future partnerships and collaborations?

House of Candy is in close association with Hamleys for over years as both of our primary target audience are kids and the secondary one is their parents and young adults. Though candies are something that is relished by the individuals of every age group but the most it is loved by the kids.

House of Candy has recently partnered with Hamleys Play with the brand Scrumpalicious, where the main attraction is live lollipop making to gain the attraction of customers visiting the store.

Also, recently we partnered with Pacific Dwarka, Sector-21 for Halloween event, where one of the main attraction of the event was candy treats. Likewise, we would like to partner with various brands in future as well and working on the same as well.

What is your take on influencer marketing?

We are keen on influencer marketing as it is one of the most interactive methods of communication and connecting with your target audience in this digital era. This new-age social media influencers have created pretty loyal followings, and their recommendations or endorsements can connect directly with our target audience.

· We as a brand believes that word of mouth yields more results and influencer marketing is a modernised form of word of mouth. We strongly agree to this fact that the social content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. These people have dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media and help the brands to achieve much more recognition than other marketing techniques.

· We have tied up with over 100 influencers last month on barter basis to increase our visibility and penetrate deeper in the market.

Please share consumption insights and trends in the confectionery market this season? Add Indian confectionery consumption in numbers and HOC consumption in numbers.

Confectionery is all about impulse and with festive season ringing the doors, it is obvious the confectionery market will see a sharp increase in the sales and market leaders will enjoy huge profits. Both chocolate and non-chocolate are doing very well.

Chocolate:

Now: Up 5.7 percent to $15.6 billion Sept. 2019: Up 2.3 percent to $14.4 billion.

Non-chocolate:

Now: Up 6.9 percent, $8.3 billion Sept. 2019: Up 3.1 percent to $7.6 billion.

Unfortunately, gum, breath fresheners, and mints are still struggling, especially when comparing the current numbers to 2019 data.

Tell us the Future vision of House of Candy on business. What are the latest product innovations?

We have a spirited team of over 350 employees working across PAN-India House of Candy stores. We aspire to create 1500 Points of Sale (POSs) across India as our future brand expansion strategy. In terms of product innovations, we have recently come up with a mouth-watering amalgamation of fruity colours sprinkled with flavourful sweetened lollipops.

· We are constantly experimenting with the lollipop flavours and importing different candies to diversify the product range.

· We keep on adding merchandise according to the latest trends.

What are your further plans on expanding distribution channels?

We have recently launched our consumer packs for the FMCG category, which would be retailed via most of the modern trade and gourmet food chains across the country. This vertical is expected to give a huge push to our topline. In addition, we have also launched our Shop-in-Shop (SIS) format, wherein only 16 of our best varieties would be displayed in the Pick ‘n’ Mix format at major modern trade and gourmet food chains across the country. So 2 main verticals which would significantly drive our growth going forward – namely consumer pack FMCG and SIS units.

How did you get into the confectionery industry?

One of my friends from Bahrain guided me into the huge potential of the confectionery industry, and he helped me get a foothold in this nascent, yet growing industry.



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