Ritter Sport UK – The Story Of A Chocolate Maker Driving Growth In A Pandemic
Lists products in 518 UK Shell marts, other outlets amid COVID19
One of the United Kingdom’s leading chocolate brands is driving an ‘insane’ nationwide distribution expansion campaign, at least recognising that these are not normal times.
Ritter Sport UK & Ireland and its Managing Director, Ben Daniels, are definitely swimming against the tide defying the reported global slump in the confectionery market due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to negatively impact the confectionery market as majority of the countries have resorted to lockdowns in order to control the spread of the disease”, remarked Fortune Business Insights in the heat of the pandemic in April.
The impact; less manpower to drive production slowing growth, tough governmental rules regulating purchases thus reducing demand, disruption to supply chains and a major hit to confectionery market promotion events.
In June with COVID-19 spreading unabated and restrictions still, largely in place, Ritter Sport UK & Ireland announced a retail distribution deal with Shell, making three of its chocolate products available in all 518 Shell forecourts throughout the United Kingdom.
Good Judgment or Wrong Move?
But how is brick and mortar expansion in a crippling pandemic necessary, particularly in the light of experts advising long-term strategies for harnessing growing opportunities in online retail?
Editor of Cocoa Post an Accra-based cocoa industry news portal, Kojo Hayford, posed the question to Ben Daniels, Managing Director of Ritter Sport UK & Ireland, via LinkedIn.
“COVID19 has and will change consumer behaviour with digital an obvious winner, and with around 40 million cars on the roads in the UK petrol will also remain an important channel for Ritter Sport”, Ben Daniels explained.
Mr Daniels added, “the national listing in Shell is wonderful and follows our success in BP and MFG to name two other major partners within the petrol channel. It was not, however, an either/or process where growth in digital is discounted, we already enjoy great relationships with major online players such as Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.”
To confirm its corporate conviction about the aggressive market expansion, the Ritter Sport & Ireland UK team has moved steps further to sign even more distribution outlet partnerships with Booths supermarkets and Applegreen Stores following suit only weeks apart.
He, however, acknowledged, “executing this launch during these unprecedented times is only possible due to the superb partnership and professionalism of the fabulous people…as ever without our small but mighty team none of this is possible.”
In a seemingly insatiable appetite for more expansion to their retail sales tentacles, Ben Daniels in a post outdooring Ritter Sport’s landing at Applegreen quizzed, “when will you join the Ritter Sport revolution?”