Name of Publication Place of Publication Date of Publication
A&M New Delhi 15 Mar 1998

Going Round the Circles

Surprisingly, no other domestic player hopped on to the mint brand wagon. Meanwhile Polo began selling in paan and spearmint flavours as well.
Splitting Image
The summer of 1997 saw Bakeman's Industries Ltd amicably split its closely-held family business into bakery and confectionery divisions. The company insisted that the spilt was necessitated because both businesses were getting too large to handle under one roof. Confectionery was siphoned off into a company called Candico (I) Ltd., While bakery, along with a couple of other small businesses (detergents and cinema theatres), were retained by Bakeman's.
   Candico (the name was chosen because of its obvious association with confectionery) began with a turn over of Rs. 65 crore, while Bakeman's stood at Rs. 140 crore.            Candico reworked its strategy for mints, and decided it was high time it 'stopped the joke about the hole'. The idea was to change Mint-O's core attribute from the all important -but-frivolous hole to that of a mouth freshener.
     Candico added to its mint family by launching Mint-O fresh in a pack of eight tablets (price Rs. 2.50). The regular Mint-O, which existed alongside the new variant, could be brought for Rs. 5.00 (20s pack). Against the original green -and-blue Mint-O,Fresh came in all blue pack. While Mint-O regular had always been aimed at adults, the target audience for fresh-banking on its mouth freshening properties- was narrowed down to the younger consumer.
      Ambience slotted the brand as an 'anytime, anywhere freshener for both mouth and soul'.
      Last August, Candico came up with a breakthrough in its packaging. Mints generally tend to loose some of their Flavour after three four months of being packaged, (though the shelf life is anywhere between six months to a year). To get around that problem, Candico began shrink wrapping its mints.
    Late last year, Mint-O took the rights to sponsor a  polo tournament and Ambience devised a 'cheeky singles' campaign. The theme: 'Mint-O sponsors Polo.' according to Candico, the 40-lakh project was  initiated 'to keep the
market vibrant'. For 1997-98, the overall promotional budget for Candico's products(including ad spend and events)is expected to be about Rs. 1.5 crore.           Combining Forces 
Subsequently, Candico got itself a distribution network separate from its parent company. Besides regular retail stores (where Bakeman's biscuits are stocked), Mint-O is also being retailed at paan shops and chemist outlets. 

The company claims to have about 900 distributors nationwide. In 1998-99, it expects the number to increase by another 300.

And while the brand  is stocked at two lakh outlets currently, it is expected to go up to three lakh in 1998-99. Candico insists that Mint-O has completely shed its northern bias, and is now evenly spread in all markets of the country. The company manufacturing base at Nagpur, which has a production capacity of 3,600 units of confectionery a minute, is claimedly the largest in the country among all confectionery marketers. Transportation of candies is cheap and, Candico brand are on retailers' shelves within three weeks of starting from the factory.
   Candico currently sells its confectioneries under six categories- candies, toffees, compressed tablets ,chews, bubble gums, and paan products (coated candies). Its 'young consultants programme' initiated last year, boosted the company's  image to a great extent. Under the scheme(cost :Rs. 3 crore), children were invited to sample and design new candies, and each of them given Rs 24,000 a year for their 'advice'.
     In its first year, Candico is aiming for sales of Rs 100 crore, in a confectionery market estimated at Rs 1,100 crore (now growing 25 percent annually). And though it wants a presence in all types confectionery, the company says it is not over-investing in any one category.
      At the same time it knows better then to neglect its oldest and most famous brand. Candico estimated the current domestic mints markets at about 200 tonnes a month, of which 70 tones is with Mint-o (By value it is 12 -crore brand today). Mint-o is expected to 100- tonnes-a-month brand by year- end. And shortly, the 'mint family' will have another three four variants.