For the first time, Cadbury Schweppes has overtaken Mars to become the world’s number one chocolate manufacturer in terms of sales with a 9.9% share of the global market, a Cadbury spokesman told just-food today (23 March).

Sales grew 6.3% to GBP6.51bn (US$11.34bn) in 2005 while underlying pre-tax profits for the year rose 12% to GBP873m.

International sales, which account for around 80% of total sales and profits, saw solid growth. Cadbury’s performance in emerging markets, which account for 30% of worldwide confectionary sales, was particularly strong – sales in Russia increased by 32%, Latin America was up 13% and Asia-Pacific sales rose 11% throughout the year. The company is also increasing its presence in Africa.

Cadbury’s drinks businesses in the Americas and Australia boosted sales by 6.3% in 2005 and the company sold off its European drinks assets for GBP1.3bn. The firm also disposed of non-core brands during 2005, including German confectionery business Piasten.

Tony Billsborough, Cadbury representative, told just-food that the company views the gum market as an area of potential growth. “Gum is one of the areas to have seen major growth in 2005,” he said. “We expect to see those businesses continuing to prosper in 2006.”

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The Adams brands, acquired two years ago, posted marked sales increases. Trident gum, an increasingly important business for Cadbury, was up 22% while overall Adams brands, including Halls and Bubba bubble gum, rose by 11%.

Cadbury has expanded its presence in the gum market in 2005, acquiring South Africa’s leading gum manufacturer Dan Products. However, Billsborough said, the company has no immediate plans to launch its gum brands in its home market.

UK sales growth was considerably below international heights, with sales increasing by just 2% for the year.
“A number of factors hampered our growth in the UK,” Billsborough observed. “We had a major IT overhaul, upgrading our systems, and this inevitably impacted the business. The changes are now embedded and we are well placed for future growth.

“Another factor is that these results are on the back of a number of years of growth in UK Dairy Milk sales,” he explained.

The star of the UK market was Green & Black’s organic chocolate range. The company purchased the premium brand in May and since then sales have skyrocketed, increasing by 49%.

“We are confident of strong growth moving into 2006 and plans are in place to push expansion forward,” Billsborough said.