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DS Group forays into chocolate segment

FMCG company Dharampal Satyapal Group (DS Group) has forayed into chocolates to add to its portfolio of confectionaries, beverages, spices, mouth fresheners and hospitality.

According to Rajiv Kumar, vice-president of DS Group, they have a premium chocolate brand and are preparing to enter the mass segment chocolate industry soon, giving them a presence across the board in the chocolate business.

The company has diversified from tobacco into other products and at present only 10% of the revenues come from tobacco products, Khanna said. The DS group was in talks with Swiss chocolate maker Laderach since 2019, but Covid disruptions delayed the process. Talks resumed post-Covid, resulting in an agreement in March 2023 to be the exclusive franchise partner of Laderach in India, Kumar sai

The company has diversified away from tobacco and now generates only 10% of its income from tobacco goods. Since 2019, the DS Group has been in talks with Swiss chocolate maker Laderach, but Covid interruptions have slowed the process. After Covid, talks resumed, resulting in an agreement in March 2023 to be Laderach’s exclusive franchise partner in India, Kumar said.

Laderach will be sold in India in price ranges ranging from Rs 1,050 to Rs 12,940 depending on taste and package size. However, Kumar is confident of a developing market for these premium chocolates in the country. The brand has been exposed to Indians travelling to Singapore, Dubai, and other nations.

“The ultra-rich grew by 11 times in the last decade. Tastes are changing, the market is moving to premium chocolates and they want the world’s best chocolates. They can now get fresh chocolates here instead of carrying them from outside,” Kumar said.

These chocolates would be available at the company-owned boutique which would be located in premium locations. The first store will open in Delhi in two to three months. It would be a steady expansion, with 5-7 locations across the country opening within the next one to two years. It would be a gradual ramp up and in the next one to two years have 5-7 stores across the country. A shop-in-shop concept will also be added later. DS is setting up cold chains to distribute chocolates across the country to maintain a temperature of 18-20 degrees. The company has already started selling online on the company’s own e-commerce platform which has started receiving bulk orders for corporate gifting, marriages and baby showers with luxury chocolates replacing Indian sweets.

DS Group would soon start an advertising and marketing campaign across media. They would be focused on creating awareness and brand equity for the first two to three years and would not be looking at either the top line or bottom line.

According to Kumar India’s per capita consumption of chocolates was 140 grams while globally it was 900 grams per person while European consumption per person per annum was 8-12 kg.  He is confident that the brand will do well in India both in terms of top line and bottom line. The IMARC Group has estimated the Indian chocolate market was worth $ 2.4 billion in 2022 and was expected to reach $ 4.1 billion by 2028.

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