Nestlé reports that travel retailers laud ‘Food category’ ambition

Nestlé’s ambition to build food into the #1 category in travel retail received an extremely positive response from customers at this month’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference.

Nestlé presented its detailed strategy for unlocking the potential of food to retail partners at the Cannes show, highlighting key learnings from an in-depth research study commissioned through m1nd-set regarding the potential to grow food beyond the core confectionery segment.

“We are tremendously excited by our customers’ reactions to Nestlé’s new Food strategy,” commented ITR general manager Stewart Dryburgh. “Our partners have been quick to grasp the scale of the wider food category’s untapped potential – and how it could be a significant growth driver for the channel.”

Currently accounting for 77% of food purchases within global travel retail, confectionery will continue to be the driving force within the category.

Focusing on KitKat, Nestlé is adding plant-based KitKat Vegan this year.

For 2023, NITR has an extensive new product pipeline planned, including new Pistachio and Lotus Biscuit flavors for KitKat Senses Mini Moments; a two-flavor KitKat Mix Sharing Bag; and updated flavors (Peanut Butter, Milk and Caramel) for KitKat Chunky Mix Gift Pack. These releases will be supported by a new 360° Break In a World of Flavor campaign.

As it previously announced, Nestlé’s strategy to build Food into the #1 most purchased category will be delivered through the VERSE model: Value, Engagement, Regeneration, Sense of Place and Execution.

A major milestone of the company’s Regeneration driver was the switch last year to 100% recyclable paper packaging for Smarties. This brand will be further supported with a new Cool Creatures collection and campaign, incorporating a four-tube hexatub, stickers, coloring pencils and a selection of digital activities, from March 2023.

Other key launches previewed at Cannes include a travel retail exclusive Gin, Tonic & Mint After Eight limited edition, plus a milk chocolate/hazelnut addition to the Nestlé Swiss tablet range.

Nestlé also used this year’s Cannes show to highlight the next big step on its sustainability journey: the Quality Street brand’s transition to recyclable, FSC-certified paper packaging.

Going beyond confectionery: coffee
While confectionery will remain core to the food proposition, Coffee and Wellbeing have been earmarked by Nestlé for future global travel retail development.

Research shows that 84% of travelers say they are likely to buy coffee in travel retail, a huge growth opportunity for Nescafé, the world’s leading coffee brand. Accordingly, in March 2023, the Nescafé Azera range – a barista-style instant coffee collection designed to appeal to younger consumers – will be rolled out to travel retail. Available in three flavor profiles (original, decaffeinated and intense), this range will join the Nescafé Gold Roastery Collection, which has been gradually introduced this year.

The launches will be supported by activations designed to attract and engage travelers, and bring coffee to life in-store. The activations will be complemented by a variety of high-profile traditional and digital media initiatives.

Going beyond confectionery: wellness
With the global wellness market valued by McKinsey at more than US$1.5 trillion, Nestlé has identified Wellbeing (vitamins, minerals, herbals and supplements) as another promising new category to leverage in travel retail. Nestlé Health Science’s existing portfolio of brands offers a promising opportunity for the channel, which is also backed up by shopper research.

“This year we have a number of real positives for travel retail,” said Dryburgh. “We continue to work hard to offer all traveler segments – and our retail partners – a captivating proposition, under-pinned by inventive activations. Going forward, we will be equally focused on building the core of confectionery, whilst also writing new chapters within Coffee and Wellbeing.

“We will progress with our mission to build on strong foundations, and create one ‘super’ food category that becomes the number one most purchased category in travel retail.” 

Nestlé innovations for Quality Street and KitKat to remove 3 billion pieces of packaging
Nestlé Confectionery will launch packaging innovations for two of its best-loved brands – Quality Street and KitKat, that will eliminate more than three billion pieces of packaging from its supply chain.

In a category first, Quality Street will move its twist-wrapped sweets to recyclable paper packaging. By replacing the double layer of foil and cellulose with a paper wrap, Quality Street will remove more than two billion pieces of packaging material from the brand’s production.

The transition to paper, which is now underway, will take several months to complete.

At the same time, KitKat will introduce wrappers made with 80% recycled plastic. These wrappers can be recycled at more than 5,000 supermarkets across the UK – and placed in household recycling in the Republic of Ireland.

The rollout will begin this month on the brand’s flagship two-finger products, before being extended across the entire range by 2024.

Quality Street is the second Nestlé confectionery brand to introduce paper, following Smarties, which rolled out recyclable paper packaging for all its confectionery products globally in 2021.