Mars to boost NPD in 2010

Posted by Josette Dunn on 21st April 2010

Mars Inc is planning to “double” its innovation programme in UK chocolate in 2010, the company has revealed.Fiona Dawson, MD of the company’s Mars Chocolate unit in the UK, said the company plans to launch more products this year, including further additions to its Galaxy portfolio.

chocolate swirl - Cadbury

Mars is upping the support it gives to its portfolio and Dawson said the company was increasing its marketing investment by 42% this year to around GBP47m (US$72.4m). She claimed 97% of the population would see of the company’s ads 100 times in 2010.

“I’ve been in this job for five years and it is the strongest plan I’ve seen,” Dawson said. “Our level of innovation is unprecedented.”

Mars’ plans come after a mixed 2009. Dawson admitted the business had lagged behind the market in the first half of the year but had then seen growth “accelerate” in the back half of 2009.

Dawson said, however, that Mars had started 2010 by exceeding its expectations, which, she claimed, gave the company a firmer footing on which to invest and innovate.

“We’ve got off to a great start in Q1. We’ve grown ahead of our plans,” Dawson explained.

The Mars executive denied that the company had enjoyed any benefit from rivals Kraft Foods and Cadbury integrating their businesses in the UK and insisted growth had come from a “combination” of new products launched in 2009, the group’s “core” business and an earlier Easter.

Dawson added: “We wanted to do NPD in a year when we’ve got a very solid business. NPD can sometimes steal from the core of your business. This is the strongest year we have had in our core

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