Mars Inc reveals plans to realign global chocolate operations

Posted by Josette Dunn on 22nd October 2010

Mars Inc is to restructure its global chocolate operations in a bid to make the company more focused and competitive in the marketplace.

chocolate swirl - Cadbury

The US-based food group told just-food last night (21 October) that the realignment would take place worldwide although final decisions were still to be made on the details of the revamp.

Earlier this week, UK reports said the Mars bar, Snickers and Galaxy maker was restructuring its business in the country.

However, Alison Clarke, corporate affairs director for Mars UK, told just-food that the UK would not be the only market would the company would reorganise its operations.

“Top line we are making some changes globally and there has been some realignment on where each market fits. There will be changes in the Asia market and how we set up those businesses, so it’s not just Europe and the UK, there is a new Asia region in place. But it will all be internal and about how we manage our business.”

Clarke said the restructuring will allow Mars to be more focused on the consumer and the company’s competition within each separate region.

“It is about grouping markets together so that we are more focus and looking at similarities with the consumer and where the competition is,” Clarke said. “If you take the UK for example, our biggest competitors are Cadbury, Nestle and Kraft Foods. In continental Europe, Ferrero is a very good player but it is not a very good player in the UK.”

Clarke said Mars’ customer base was different in each market. “There are also the big supermarket groups like Tesco in the UK and Carrefour in France. So what we’re allowing the UK to do now is to focus on the UK market specifically, the economy and allow it to be able to deliver against those very different consumers, competitors and customers.”

As a result of the changes, Fiona Dawson will head up the UK’s chocolate business as president. She has been promoted from the role of managing director.

Peter West, general manager for Mars Snackfood, will run the continental Europe operations. No other appointments have yet been announced.

Clarke said Mars would finalise its plans in the next few weeks.

“Because of various legal agreements we have in place, details of any further changes have not been made yet, so it is all happening at the moment. In a few weeks there will be more clarity and definite decisions.”

just-food is the world’s leading portal for the global pre-packaged food and retail industries. Its daily mix of breaking news, views, analysis and research serves over 100,000 food executives each month.