Cadbury challenges snack foods with picnic launch

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BOMBAY -- Cadbury India, continuing its aggres sive launch spree initiated in the mid-1990s, has begun 1998 with the introduction of its Picnic chocolate brand as an attempt to extend its influence in the snack food category.

A wafer biscuit surrounded by peanuts, rai sins, rice crispies and caramel and covered in a layer of chocolate, Picnic is counted by Cadbury as one of its major international launches in India. The brand is priced premium at 36 cents for a 40g bar.

"Picnic...[will] take chocolates into the traditional snack food repertoire of Indian youth, encompassing all snacking occasions and times, thereby taking on snack foods like biscuits, ice creams and savory snacks," says Deepak Sethi, director-marketing and sales at Cadbury in Bombay. "Picnic will provide a major thrust towards expanding the chocolates market into new usage occasions and context of consump tion."

The brand will be supported by a fully-fledged campaign comprising TV and radio spots, press, cinema and billboards. The TV campaign will use humor to stress the chocolate's list of ingredi ents with the tagline, "Picnic - Quite a Mouth ful!!". A direct marketing effort will target young consumers through promotions. Ogilvy & Mather, Bombay, has the account.

A 51% owned subsidiary of Britain's Cadbury Schweppes, Cadbury India last year increased the competition in the local $108 million cho colates segment by launching its Googly hard boiled sweet from its international Trebor range and two variants of the Truffle soft-centered chocolate. The marketer last month began a test market for its Mocka coffee-flavored candy.

Though it faces a constant threat from New Delhi-based Nestle India, Cadbury still holds on to a 70% market share, followed by the Swiss marketer's 20% share and Anand, Gujarat-based Amul's 5%. The rest of the market is held by small regional brands. The Indian chocolate niche, which is a third of the overall sugar confectionery market, grew between 18% and 20% last year and is expected to find its own level at 15%.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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