Nestlé Rowntree is gearing up to take on Masterfoods-owned Skittles with the launch of fruit-flavoured Smarties. The product will be the first chocolate-free extension to the 67-year-old brand.
It is understood that the fruit-flavoured product will be called Fruit Smarties and is to be supported by a significant marketing campaign when it launches this spring. The campaign is likely to be created by J Walter Thompson, which handles advertising for the Smarties brand.
The launch is aimed at increasing Nestlé’s presence in the bite-size and “sharing” market. Nestlé launched Kit Kat Kubes last year to increase its share of the bagged confectionery and sharing sectors (MW March 13, 2003).
Industry insiders say Nestlé does not have an extensive selection of products in this area and that an extension under the Smarties brand, which has been performing well, is a natural progression. A Smarties chocolate bar was launched in 2002 (MW October 31, 2002).
Nestlé is keen to develop its confectionery portfolio so it can boost its market share. Nestlé Rowntree managing director Chris White has already made it clear that he plans to make significant changes to the portfolio. He has completed a significant restructure and review of the division since he took over in December (MW February 12).