Cadbury India is eyeing the chewing gum market, and is evaluating the possibility of bringing in some of the brands from Warner Lambert's international kitty.
The chocolate major is looking closely at Warner Lambert's gums portfolio to pick out which brands would be viable for the Indian market. For instance, there are sugarless gum brands such as Dentyne Ice and Trident White, which are known for their functional benefits world wide, but steep pricing may be a deterrent to bringing them into the country.
"The gums market has not done well in India. But gums have functional properties and are not mere breath fresheners. We are now evaluating if there is a market for gums in India and whether it is going to be worth our while," says Mr Bharat Puri, Managing Director, Cadbury India.
Recently Wrigley has launched India's first sugar-free chewing gum - Orbit - priced at Rs 5.
While growth rates in the confectionery segment have been healthier than that of chocolates, it has always been a difficult market to crack. Cadbury's own experiences have led it to withdraw certain brands such as Googly, but now with Warner's Lambert's international portfolio in its fold, there are chances of reconsidering the segment once again.
"Through the acquisition of Warner Lambert, there are a great set of brands already available to us. We are still examining which are the right brands for the Indian market," says Mr Puri.
Cadbury has already identified Halls as the strongest brand in Warner Lambert's portfolio and re-launched the brand early this year. Adds Mr Puri, "Halls was not doing well for a while and so we re-launched it this year. When you have the existing assets, it is necessary to get them right first. Halls is the first brand that we have revived and it is now doing well."
In April 2003, Cadbury India's foreign parent acquired Pfizer's interests in the confectionery business for $4.2 billion. That included the Warner-Lambert product portfolio, known best for Halls, Clorets and Chiclets. The acquisition is now poised to become a growth area for Cadbury India, whose confectionery brands include Eclairs. But, instead of selling confectionery through its existing chocolate network, Cadbury has set up an entirely new network.
While Halls has been revived with a new packaging, there has been no change in the status of the other brands of Warner Lambert. Chiclets, the almost heritage chewing gum brand was discontinued by Warner Lambert before it came into Cadbury's fold, while Clorets continues to sell with a small franchise without any advertising support.