Our focus brands like Hershey’s, Sofit will grow 50% this year: Herjit S Bhalla

Hershey India has forayed into the $800 million premium biscuit market, particularly in the better-for-you segment, with Sofit Protein Cookies. Targeted towards the health-conscious working professionals in metros, the biscuits will be widely distributed across stores and e-commerce portals from November 14.

Available in three flavors, these protein cookies are the second product launch from Hershey India after Kisses last month. According to media reports, the launch of the new products is part of Hershey’s plan to invest $50 million in India.

Talking about the latest launch, Herjit Bhalla, Managing Director, Hershey India, said the need to have a “unique differentiated good quality product” resulted in protein cookies. He shared that the company is in the early stages of building the portfolio further.

He added, “Consumers already associate Sofit for its protein benefits, and we believe that there is a white space in the category, i.e. a delicious cookie with benefits of protein. As a result, Sofit was the best bet to enter this big biscuit category.”

The MD has set its ambition high. “The ambition is to be a leading player in every category we enter.”

On the competition in the category, he said, “It operates in the premium category so everything else that sits there is in a way an alternative that consumers can choose to.”

In due course, a 360-degree marketing campaign for the new product featuring brand ambassador actor John Abraham will roll out. Bhalla pointed out that there will definitely be a greater push on digital.

He shared that Hershey’s “focus brands” have been growing at nearly 50 percent. Sofit has logged a growth of 20 percent per annum since Hershey’s entered India in 2007. “On Sofit, we have a CAGR of 20 percent for 10 years,” he shared.

The total biscuit market in urban India is $2.8bn, growing at 10 percent while the premium end is roughly $800mn growing at 17 percent.

When asked that are you selling these protein cookies in other markets as well? Will you export to other markets? he said, no. This is a product which is made for/in India. We are currently going to be selling it in urban markets across the country through modern trade, general trade, and e-commerce, in two pack sizes – 150 gram and 100 gram. Yes, there is an opportunity of taking it abroad. But the reality is that this is a very strong brand sitting in a really nice space in the market. And now it’s really important for us to extend this brand and the ‘better for you’ proposition across categories.

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