Green & Black’s is aiming to nearly double its organic chocolate business over the next three years, chief executive William Kendall has revealed in his first interview since the company was bought by Cadbury Schweppes last month.
Kendall said selling to Cadbury meant the company had the potential to increase annual sales from £30m to £50m. He plans to spend £5m-a-year advertising Green & Black’s as a premium mainstream brand, as well as targeting the impulse sector and increasing expansion into the US.
Kendall said a perception among some consumers that Green & Black’s had “sold out” was wrong. He stressed the business would be run as a standalone and maintain its
Fairtrade agreement with cocoa suppliers in Belize for Maya bars.
“I think it’s great people feel so strongly about the brand,” he said. “But it’s better the business is sold as it’s growing at such a fast rate, and international expansion is an issue, that it now needs a bigger resource. People also feel very strongly about Cadbury as a British business.”
Green & Black’s has the biggest share of the premium block chocolate market, recently overtaking Lindt, and Kendall said advertising would now focus on its taste.
The company plans to take advantage of Cadbury’s sales expertise to widen distribution and will accelerate innovation. “We deliberately avoided the impulse sector because we didn’t want product to languish on-shelf. But awareness is growing and we are now looking at it as a serious growth opportunity,” said Kendall.
More planting of organic cocoa was key, as was increasing production. The company might use under-utilised Cadbury facilities as well as its base in Italy.
>>p34 Starting small, growing big
Claire Hu