Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 2, 2009 12:41 PM
Wrigley is the world's leading chewing gum maker. Its Orbit brand is number five on Euromonitor's list of top-selling candies and gums in 25 countries. But in Russia, Orbit is number one, according to BusinessWeek. So Wrigley, purchased by Mars in 2008, is making a play for a bigger share of the Russian market.
For Russians, Wrigley is introducing new Orbit flavors, but it is also taking somewhat of a brand risk. BusinessWeek reports that the company has just begun marketing "individually wrapped snacks that look like baked flat breads or crackers and come in a variety of flavors." Erwin Hinteregger, Wrigley's director of emerging business territories, said the "croutons" were developed by the company's Russian unit to fit the country's unique snack demands, and it's unlikely that the product will be marketed elsewhere.
Croutons from Wrigley? What's next, chocolates? Wrigley acquired chocolate-maker A. Korkunov in 2007, and now sells them in Russia.
Does this mark the beginning of a strategy to develop country-specific brands that move away from Wrigley's gum brands? Very possibly. Hinteregger confirms that Wrigley's China unit, with an eye on its Russian counterpart, is now working on new products for that market.