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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 swimming against the tide, defying the reported global slump in the confectionery market due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Market Insights

“The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to negatively impact the confectionery market as the majority of the countries have resorted to lockdowns 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 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.

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.

Omni-Channel Approach

At Shell three of the British chocolate manufacturer’s offerings namely, Honey Salted Almond, Milk Whole Hazelnut and Marzipan were listed on the shelves.
Six flavours from Ritter Sport’s Nut Perfection and Colourful Variety ranges have also been keyed into the inventory at all Booths supermarkets.

The British chocolate manufacturer, which celebrated its 5th anniversary Friday, July 17, attributed its success in the UK and Ireland largely to an omni-channel business approach.

Whilst Ritter Sport has a loyal base of highly passionate consumers, we still need to grow our penetration as a core growth pillar of the business, this translates to driving our distribution to every sector of the market, ensuring brand awareness, relevance and trial.

Ben Daniels MD, Ritter Sport UK & Ireland
Ritter Sport, chocolate, UK
Ritter Sport range of chocolates on a retail shelf

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?”

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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