2021 was a year of recovery from the consequences of the pandemic for Mondelez, and the company aimed to increase its marketing and carry on bringing innovations to consumers.
Milka, one of nine global chocolate brands in the Mondelez International family, strengthened its positions in the new segment of pralines and won its third Golden Brand award in a row. But the market situation offers no time to relax, according to company experts.
“We must constantly and attentively monitor the situation and be ready for rapid changes. We have already experienced the reorganizing of business processes and taking advantage of new working conditions due to the pandemic, so we stepped into the year 2022 with more self-confidence. Now we will focus on keeping rates of growth high and strengthening our positions in new segments,” Sofia Tkebuchava, CP&A manager Confectionery, Caucasus & Central Asia, said.
Q. Please tell us about the future plans of Milka for the Georgian market? Do you plan to introduce new products to Georgia and which would those be?
A. Georgian consumers are some of the most snack-friendly consumers. We see that they are eager to try new products and flavors, especially those in accordance with a healthy, but tasty lifestyle. That’s why we are encouraged to introduce more innovations and broaden our product range.
We are researching updating consumers' needs and habits, and one of the vectors is to create products suitable to a proper diet, with reduced amounts of sugar and formats convenient for controlling calories intake. But precise flavors and designs are still a secret!
Q. Milka first appeared on the Georgian market in 2016. What was the first product Milka introduced to Georgia and over the years how diverse has the line of Milka products become?
A. In 2016 Milka entered the Georgian market with a rather small assortment, starting with no more than five products. Since that time we have been actively offering various product forms and flavors to the customers, so step by step our product portfolio has been enriched and now includes twenty products.
Q. Milka offers gift boxes. In your experience, how popular are these?
A. In the beginning of 2020 we introduced gift products — “Say It With Milka” boxed chocolates. Since then, we have been winning the hearts of customers in this area with attractive new flavors and flavor mixes and maintaining the quality of our chocolate. In 2021 we launched the third flavor in the line, so we can conclude that customers appreciate Milka gift boxes and want to see new products of that type.
Q. How important is the Georgian market to Mondelez today? What prospects for growth do you see in the country?
A. We consider the Georgian market very promising for our business. Years of work here have shown that local consumers meet our innovations with enthusiasm. Milka products have become an essential part of their way of snacking. Now we put all our efforts into maintain perception of our products and achieving leadership on the market. We are highly motivated, we love our product, and that pushes us forward every day.
Q. In general, could you please summarize 2021 – what were the biggest challenges, biggest achievements?
A. We spent 2021 creating innovations and increasing our consumer base. Purchasing power was low, but steadily recovered after the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was important for us to meet the new needs and habits of our customers in order to maintain their interest. Our team showed great cohesion and desire to successfully overcome this period, so now we see the results of delicate, but persistent work with our consumers — growth has reached double-digits.
Q. How has the year 2022 begun for your company, and what are your expectations?
A. In 2022 the market is very fast and demanding. We must constantly and attentively monitor the situation and be ready for rapid changes. We already have the experience of reorganizing business processes and taking advantage of new working conditions due to the pandemic, so we stepped into the year 2022 with more self-confidence. Now we will focus on keeping rates of growth high and strengthening our positions in new areas.
Q. Georgian customers have named Milka their favorite brand again this year. What brought Milka this recognition in your opinion?
A. Due to long, careful study of the market we learned to sense consumer needs and give them exactly what they are looking for. Meanwhile, we strictly monitor product quality and meet obligatory requirements, such as creamy texture and balanced flavor, in order to preserve the features of our product. So the main key to Milka’s success is, in our opinion, a combination of high quality, diverse and balanced assortment, and strong brand communication.
Q. Overall, what impact will the Russia-Ukraine war have on the operations of Mondelez International?
A. This war will affect businesses, consumers and communities across the world in many ways. For us at Mondelez, our primary focus is supporting our colleagues in Ukraine and stepping up our humanitarian efforts while ensuring the continuity of our business in Eastern Europe. It’s too early to assess the impact on business as there are many factors that play into it. But we hope we will be able to maintain our position in Georgia and the Eurasian area overall.