Pick n Mix
According to research from Kantar, over half of people purchase sweets on the basis of an impulsive purchase and not knowing in advance what type to buy beforehand. This, says Elsa Cros, a demand planning specialist at Haribo, makes sweets ideal for stocking plenty of different flavours and continually launching new lines and promotions to maximise market share.
With every household buying an average of 3.6kg of sweets a year, Haribo France is obviously keen to steal a march on rivals. Haribo is the market leader in France, where it’s the number one gums and jellies brand. In 2018, Haribo saw sales rise to €248m, meaning it controls over a third of the total market, valued at €705m according to independent figures from Nielsen.
Within the last year, five new Haribo stores have opened in the outskirts of Lyon, Paris and Cagnes sur Mer, in addition to existing stores in Paris, Marseille and Toulouse, as well as a museum of sweets at one of its factory sites in Uzes, France.
Planning new ranges, promotions and seasonality play an increasingly important role. The biggest selling periods for sweets are generally around Halloween and also during the February spring-break Carnival season – particularly celebrated across southern Europe and in Latin America.
Cros believes that launching new products is one of the best ways of driving sales in the sweets category. Out of the top twenty best-sellers in the sugar confectionary market, eleven were Haribo – whether new variety packs or new flavours. Its first foray into chocolate covered marshmallows has proven at this stage a successful and promising initiative. New reduced-sugar sweets have also been launched.
Nonetheless, planning new ranges and trying to forecast ahead the exact quantities of 800 varieties of products at different times of year (and delivering them as and when required to thousands of retailers) is not an easy task. From its two distribution centres and factories in France, over 50,000 tonnes of sweets are manufactured a year and 18,000 deliveries are made to retailers around France, with 30,000 pallets destined for export.
“Taste and preferences vary from country to country and region by region, so we have to adapt to each accordingly,” says Cros. “For instance, Italians are very fond of liquorice, so the product mix needs to reflect this.”
Before implementing FuturMaster demand and promotion planning software in 2017, the complicated task of managing supply and demand was mainly manual, and, says Cros, extremely laborious.
“We used to spend a lot of time on manual data entry before, although not that regularly,” she says. “There’s much better integration today and more collaboration.”
Now, automated systems are in place to provide accurate forecasts and detailed production and promotional plans up to a year in advance. The introduction of a dedicated S&OP (sales and operations planning) programme also ensures that every department – from sales and marketing to production and finance – are regularly involved in exchanging information and sharing goals.
Scheduling production and making sure that the right ingredients and packaging materials are available whenever and wherever required is another important aspect of using the software. Up to 3,700 trucks running regularly between the various factories and distribution centres Haribo manages across Europe helps facilitate this and keeps stock moving.