Economic recession hit praline sales rather late, in last October-November. Data by Nielsen indicate that average prices grew significantly and small packaging units strengthened their position, while private labels also did a few percent better in 2010 than last year. According to Anikó Okos, Bonbonetti Kft.’s brand manager well-known brands were not forced to step back: despite falling volume sales they increased their market share in value, thanks to a 10-percent price increase. They were going forward during the recession, coming out with numerous new products. On the other hand, discount stores pursue the policy of ‘good quality at a good price’, hiding their private label existence behind fantasy names, offering agreeable pralines in tasteful packaging.
The real losers of the recession were B brands. Andrea Gémes, Storck Hungária’s trade marketing manager told us that many consumers switched from B brands to cheaper products, and private labels received more attention in general. Balázs Pászti, a consultant at Szamos Marcipán is of the opinion that praline is a crisis-resistant product – the one in the gift box that we buy as a present. We buy the premium product, perhaps in a smaller size, so that the recipient would not think we have financial troubles; for home use cheaper products will do. Storck Hungária Kft. offers both mono (Toffifee) and mixed (merci) pralines. Consumers tend to buy more mono pralines for themselves and mixed ones as a present. Andrea Szabó, a junior brand manager with Nestlé Hungária Kft. told us that in certain cases consumers prefer large size chocolates to pralines when buying for someone else as a present.
The crisis is not over yet and Balázs Pászti thinks that in the Christmas period people will be looking for cheaper gifts than before, and this trend could do good to the praline category. Instead of real innovation, praline manufacturers directed their attention to developing new packagings. Recently there have been changes in size trends: manufacturers reacted to the crisis with introducing smaller versions and ‘added value’ type packaging solutions. Bonbonetti prepares for the autumn season with new packagings: Cherry Queen marzipan cream pralines will come out in two types of heart-shaped box, while Cherry Queen selection will be sold in a red Christmas tree-shaped box. Another novelty is CQ cognac cherry with higher alcohol content, which targets men and will have an extravagant packaging. Bonbonetti plans to support their products with a new type of price promotion. Storck will add a new collection to the three versions of merci Finest Selection: new flavours and an extra high cocoa content will characterise this product. Consumers will find four new flavours with a minimum 70 percent cocoa content in the box with a black colour code. merci Petits pralines in Christmas tree-shaped box and merci Crocant will be available again. Storck will use TV campaigns to support its products.
Nestlé Hungária will enrich its After Eight menthol praline with four new flavours before Christmas: marzipan, orange, dark chocolate and Irish Cream. Boci Bokréta mixed deserts will receive special Christmas graphics, and will be added a caramel cream and a sour cherry-truffle version. Boci is 80 years old: from 30 August until 13 December those who buy any kind of Boci chocolate can participate in a prize game – the main prize is HUF 8 million. Szamos Marcipán renewed its image at the end of 2007. For them the real question is: when will consumers realise that the same products are available without a gift box at a significantly lower price. With fondant candy the breakthrough already happened, last Christmas consumers preferred buying by measure in bags instead of gift boxes. The company’s fondant candy selection is the same as it was last year.