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CIIE will allow easier access for growing markets: Mars

By Morag Hobbs (People's Daily Online)    11:35, November 05, 2018

It’s hoped that the China International Import Expo (CIIE) will allow easier access to the Chinese market, said Matthias Berninger, Vice-President of Public Affairs at Mars, during a recent interview with People’s Daily Online.

The CIIE will run from Nov. 5-10 and will welcome Mars, alongside over 3,000 companies from 130 countries and regions, to the National Exhibition and Conference Centre in Shanghai.

“Mars has lined up a couple of quite exciting products that we brought from places around the world, and our hope, of course, is that we get easier access to the Chinese market and the consumers in China,” explained Berninger.

Mars has been in China for 30 years, and currently holds the market share in China when it comes to chocolate, with treats such as Dove, Snickers, and M&M's as some of the most widely available and recognised. Sales of chocolate in China were valued at about 20 billion yuan in 2015, and the country’s chocolate market is expected to grow in value to 40 billion yuan (US$6.2 billion) by 2020, according to Ebrun, a market research firm.

However, although Berninger says expanding chocolate in China is important, he’s also interested in developing other, growing markets. He noted that Mars has already brought three products to China - chocolate, gum and pet food.

When asked about the leap from human food to pet food, Berninger explains, “There are already 60 million pets in China, that’s a lot. Thirty years ago nobody expected the Chinese to love their pets in the way they do. So, for us, that’s the big priority.”

It’s true that China’s pet industry has soared in recent years. According to Xinhua, China’s pet market has created revenue of over 170 billion yuan. According to the Pet Industry White Paper 2018, published by Chinese online pet forum goumin.com, Chinese cat and dog owners are expected to spend 15 percent more on their pets this year compared with 2017.

"China's pet food market has seen more and more products in recent years to cope with the rising demand of middle-class pet owners," Xi Li, a vet for Royal Canin, told xinhuanet.com.

Of course, aside from pet food, Mars will continue to expand its food varieties and won’t neglect what it’s best known for - confectionary.

“We want to bring “Kind” from the United States; it’s a nut-based, healthier snack. We want to bring new varieties of our confectionary, especially Starburst, and of course, we want to bring chocolate brands that aren’t that big in China, to China,” said Berninger.

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(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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