“We think of the Georgian market as one of the biggest in the Mondelez family, with great potential. For example, over the past year, we already entered several segments that are new for us: Milka chocolate boxes and bars. We are constantly working to organize our increasingly larger portfolio in a meaningful and purposeful way across different consumer needs. With this in mind, we will focus on our core line-ups, strengthen marketing support investments, but at the same time, continue to develop our seasonal offerings”, said Serhiy Makoday, Commercial Lead for Caucasus.
In an interview with Golden Brand, Makoday talked about the history of Milka in Georgia and its development path.
Elaborate on the history of Milka in Georgia. When did the distribution and sale of Milka start on the Georgian market and how has this brand developed during these years? What were the biggest challenges and achievements?
Since its introduction to the market in 2016, Milka has managed to win the hearts of many consumers. Our chocolate is deeply appreciated for its consistently high quality and great flavors. We do appreciate that even in turbulent times, сonsumers choose our products that are recognized, in particular, by awards like Golden Brand. The market is developing, and people are waiting for more offerings from us. So, we cannot but thank our consumers and do our best to surprise them with new options.
What do you think brought Milka this recognition on the Georgian market?
Milka is our iconic brand, one of nine global brands in the Mondelez International family. Its popularity is backed by the incredible quality of the chocolate.
Since the brand was born, the tender, creamy, melt-in-the-mouth product experience and milk coming from the Alps have been the core of the Milka promise. And will be forever. It is now supported by joining the Cocoa Life – ensuring that 100% of cocoa beans for Milka products are sustainably sourced.
Simply, our chocolate is unique and delivers the most tender melt, recognized and loved by people around the globe, including Georgia. We do believe that our idea ‘Tenderness is inside’ is the key to the connection between the functional side of the product and the emotional resonance we want to build with consumers.
How many products does Milka offer to customers in Georgia, and which of them are the most in demand?
In Georgia, Milka is represented by more than 10 units of regular lineup plus seasonal products. Traditional hazelnut and milk flavors are the most in demand and most loved.
How many customers does Milka have in Georgia and how has the number of customers increased year after year?
In just three years, Milka has gained strong standing on the Georgian market. We cannot speak in absolute figures but can say with certainty that the numbers are growing quickly. We can also say consumers are well-aware of our product and have a keen interest in new offerings. That is why we are actively opening new market segments with a view to effectively expand our loyal audience.
Could you please summarize 2019 – what were the biggest challenges, biggest achievements?
2019 was a successful year for us, with Milka growing along with the market. There were no significant ups and downs in the Georgian market, so we cannot name any specific challenges. However, we entered a new segment by launching Waffelini bars and broadened our core line-up. We also offered several seasonal products, because Milka, giving tenderness, feeling of warmth and celebration, is a great idea for any present.
How did 2020 start for your company, what are your expectations?
At the beginning of 2020, Milka demonstrated truly excellent performance.
We started with launching chocolate boxes ‘Say It With Milka’ which was a new segment for us in Georgia.
Then, proving that consumers are our top priority, we presented Milka Oreo Sandwich in cooperation with the world's most famous cookie brand. Mondelez has a rich portfolio, so we extensively use cross-brand cooperation in order to offer our consumers with the broadest possible choice. There is another interesting launch ahead but let us hold our cards for a bit.
Nowadays the world is facing the largest challenge in our recent history, so we must expand our thinking and act beyond the needs of the moment. In such difficult times, we are developing a new winning formula, and we are focused on anticipating consumers’ needs.
What makes Milka a distinguished brand and how do you compete with other brands on the market?
For almost 120 years, we have been improving the recipe formula, aimed to melt people and reveal their tender sides. We are always trying to achieve superiority by delivering strongly on Milka’s product truth: soft bite, undemanding melt and balanced flavor. Thus, maintaining high сhocolate quality and specific product features such us texture, taste profile, and Alpine Milk ingredient are they key for Milka’s continued success.
In general, what would you say about the Georgian market, how healthy is the competition here and how fast is the Georgian market growing?
Like the rest Eastern Europe, Georgia is one of our top markets due to its size. With this in mind, we are doing our best to ensure Milka’s stable and fast growing: we introduce only the best practices and innovations, at the same time trying to satisfy local preferences.
Georgian market is diverse, with many international brands and local jewels presented here. Nonetheless, we strongly support fair competition as it drives us to be the best we can be. Competition pushes the business to come up with new ideas and products, making your customers’ satisfaction the primary goal, so it’s beneficial not only for consumers but for companies as well.