Managers at the confectionery division of Germany's Kraft Foods are in a mood for celebration. Last year saw turnover grow to more than DM1bn, and this year the famous purple cow symbolising the Milka chocolate brand is 100 years old.
 
General manager Dr Peter Reinecke claims that the division's sales, with brands such as Suchard, Milka, Toblerone and Daim, grew well above the sector average. According to an article published in German trade publication Lebensmittelzeitung (LZ), Reinecke puts turnover growth at 8% with volume sales also showing a strong upwards trend.

The driving force of the confectionery division was the Milka brand, which has been extended far beyond the flagship chocolate tablet to include pralines, countlines and seasonal varieties. The Bremen-based group declined to specify how its turnover breaks down, but LZ estimates that about half of the confectionery sales derive from products other than the classic chocolate tablets, with the relaunched Lila Pause countlines growing particularly well.

Kraft intends to hike the retail price of its chocolate tablet in a two-step action this year, the second of which will be concealed by conversion to the euro, the new European currency.

Reinecke hinted at a number of promotional activities planned on the back of the Milka cow's 100th birthday. He confirmed that the group's marketing budget had been increased considerable to this end.

In order to focus efforts more intensely on the Milka brand, the group has agreed to outsource the distribution of pralines and tablets sold under the Suchard brand to the Wilms import enterprise , with effect from 1 April this year. Genuport Trade AG already distributes good sold under the Maribou brand, and in April the Daim brand will also be entrusted to Genuport.