Churchill’s Confectionery has enjoyed a strong presence in travel retail for the past 25 years. While operating within the Middle East during that time, Churchill’s has increased its position in the region over the past five years. Its very own British-inspired souvenir line has evolved into a stand-out product in regional travel retail outlets. Churchill’s figures from the first quarter this year show a growth of 27 per cent in the UK and 43 per cent internationally. These figures saw approximately 10 per cent of Churchill’s overall international growth (43 per cent) come from the Middle East and Asia.
Marc Jacobs acknowledges that the travel retail industry is one of Churchill’s most important avenues of selling. "With this in mind, we invest heavily in the design of the packaging. It means the ‘wow’ factor for the customer is based on the style and design of our products making them a keepsake." Though Churchill’s does not focus purely on a specific market, its variety of products caters to all markets and tastes. "For several years, we have been the leaders in British souvenir products. Without a doubt these have been, and still is, our number one bestselling range. Apart from being popular within the British market, both domestic and travel retail, we have seen a huge increase over the past few years for our souvenir range being sold in Middle Eastern and Asian countries. This shows us that Middle Eastern and Asian customers are constantly looking to purchase premium products," says Jacobs. The company’s top three selling lines that have seen a huge increase in the Middle East are the Telephone Kiosk, the London Bus and Big Ben.
Churchill’s products typify the concept of ‘gifting’. "There is not one product we manufacture that cannot be deemed a gift and this sets us apart from our competitors," says Jacobs. Churchill’s classic souvenirs are all money boxes and its flower range is handcrafted and embossed to high specifications.
With the company’s British souvenir line being a customer favourite in this region, and with all eyes on London for the upcoming Olympics, we asked Jacobs if there are designs in place to commemorate the global event which in turn will further promote confectionery products within travel retail. "We have been at the forefront of British-themed souvenirs. Those specific products that have been developed over the years have seen a lot of success and have been so strong that we didn’t find the need to introduce anything new. We will not be offering any specific Olympic designs as our wide range of souvenirs complement London as a whole. We have also reintroduced older designs, such as the Buckingham Palace tin, this year as a money box," says Jacobs.
Another interesting range from Churchill’s is its ecology range that is currently available at Qatar Duty Free. The animal-themed range has evolved over the years and has branched out into a few successful sub-categories. For example, Nature’s Friends, feature jungle animals on its tins. Recently, Churchill’s has added to the range by introducing the Farmyard and Forest tins. "These tins have been well received, especially among young children. They not only serve as an educational tool, but can
also be used as children’s toy boxes,"
Visual elements also play an important part within the confectionery segment and there are several points to be considered during the process. The entire design process is done by hand and the process can take from 12 to 18 months from conception to production. "All of Churchill’s ranges are unique. Many travel retail store managers have mentioned that our products really stand out within the confectionery area. Our use of colour and detailed embossing ensure that all Churchill’s products maintain a real point of difference. That is why over the years we have won many awards but in particular our ‘Telephone Kiosk’ in 1993 excelled us into travel retail by winning ‘Best product concept in duty free’. While in the last few years, our ‘Daffodil’ tin won Gold for ‘Can-maker of the year’ due to its originality of combining Tiffany style and Art Nouveau mixed with ground-breaking embossing techniques something that had never been achieved before," said Jacobs.
Similar to the iconic British telephone box, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, we asked Jacobs if there are any plans in the pipeline that will see iconic designs from the region be incorporated into their souvenir tins. "We have plans in place to develop more souvenir ranges right now and we would like to think that it could include iconic landmarks from the Middle East," admits Jacobs.
With the level of detail and creativity invested in confectionery products, success in the market to a large degree lies in the hands of customers themselves, appealing to them with regional familiarity seems like one of the many fruitful ways to achieve continued success