Cadbury India, which was in the eye of a storm in recent months due to the incidence of worms in its Dairy Milk chocolate, is hopeful of a complete recovery of its sales numbers in a month’s time. Cadbury India general manager - marketing Sanjay Purohit said that after the worms incidence in October 2003, sales during Diwali had tumbled 10-15 per cent but they have almost reached the pre-infestation levels now.
Mr Purohit added that consumers have appreciated the timely response from Cadbury in the wake of the infestation events. Under its Project Vishwas, the company spent substantial amounts in educating retailers on storage conditions and in providing infrastructure. Moreover, filmstar Amitabh Bachchan was roped in as the brand ambassador.
At the same time, several cases filed by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-Maharashtra against the company are undergoing legal procedures in the court, according to Mr Purohit.
“Creating awareness among retailers about storage conditions is an ongoing process and the company will have to follow it up continuously,” added Mr Purohit. Visi-coolers help in reducing the effects of temperature on chocolates, while proper storage in jars and sheet metal dispensers can also eliminate chances of contamination.
Mr Purohit also clarified that it is not possible to cover all the 6,50,000 retailers across India with visi-coolers, due to factors like the cost involved and reluctance of some retailers to run them.
Meanwhile, Cadbury chocolates are getting a mixed resopnse from consumers. Shulamith Isaac, a young lady who works in central Mumbai, said, “I just love eating chocolates and I continue to eat all brands of Cadbury.” The worms incidence has not affected Ms Isaac’s consumption pattern at all.However, Saroj Lad, a middle-aged lady working in the same locality is wary of Cadbury, although she is very fond of chocolates. She has stopped eating Cadbury products, even as she continues to consume foreign brands.