Foreign brands hold sway over chocolate marketImported chocolates have a firm grip on the domestic market especially in the Kathmandu valley and major cities.
Imported chocolates have a firm grip on the domestic market especially in the Kathmandu valley and major cities. Traders said that foreign products dominated all segments of the confectionery market ranging from small candies to premium chocolates.
Arpit Agrawal, director of the Vishal Group which distributes Mars and Ferrero chocolates in the domestic market, said imported chocolates accounted for more than 60 percent of the total chocolate market in Nepal.
“Our research shows that the annual turnover of the chocolate market in Nepal amounts to more than Rs 5 billion,” he said. The best selling chocolate brands in the premium segment in the Nepali market are Cadbury, Mars, Snickers, Twist, Nestle and Kitkat. They are imported from Europe, Italy and India.
Similarly, Center Fresh, Mentos, Alpenlieb, Frisk Mints, Happy Dent Mint Gum, Big Bubble Gum and Center Fruit Gum, which are mostly imported from India, are among the other popular products. Chocolates like Cadbury, Mars and Perfetti Van Melle have the strongest presence in the Nepali market.
Agrawal said international chocolate brands had a good presence in the country due to increased demand for quality chocolates. “As Nepal has not been able to provide such chocolates, sales of imported chocolates have been rising,” he said.
“The market is growing by 18-20 percent annually because they offer new types of chocolates to customers.” His company sells chocolates like Mars, Snickers and Twist whose prices start at Rs 30 for a 32 gm pack.
Meanwhile, Yogendra Thapa, distribution and sales executive for Nepal for Perfetti Van Melle, an Indian sweets company, said that various multinational companies were strongly rooted in Nepal due to their quality products. “As they offer quality products at affordable prices, customers prefer imported chocolates over domestic brands,” he said. “Their production cost is low because of mass production.”
Perfetti India offers confectionery such as Mentos, Center Fruit Gum and Happy Dent Gum in the candy segment with starting prices of Rs 1.
“These sweets are very popular among the people both in the cities and rural areas,” Thapa said. He added that the company had an annual turnover of Rs 1.2 billion in the Nepali market. “We hold more than 20 percent of the market.”
Another company Laxmi Overseas, which offers Cadbury premium chocolates from the UK, said that demand for chocolates had been rising continuously since it got the dealership 32 years ago.
Ram Chandra Khetan, proprietor of Khetan Overseas, said that imported chocolates had changed the way people consume sweets. “In those days, chocolate consumption was considered to be something to lure the kids, but with many multinational companies arriving in the country with different varieties of chocolates, we are seeing an increase in the number of chocolate lovers.”
Similarly, domestic chocolate manufacturers said that the dominance of imported chocolates in the local market had been growing.