Leonidas is the Belgian luxury brand offering premium paralines for the Indian taste palette. Vrinda Rambhia, Director of Business Development, Leonidas India shares with Neha Malhotra, the industry stature, acceptance and growth of the brand in India.
Neha Malhotra (NM): What is the industry stature for chocolates in India?
Vrinda Rambhia (VR): The globe-trotting Indians are now considering chocolates to being White, Milk or Dark. They are now aware that these are also chocolates and are adapting to newer varieties and exotic flavours by further enhancing their palette. A lot of people from India are traveling all over the world and are always looking out for the best quality chocolates for their loved ones.
Chocolate is an industry in itself in India. However, companies in India have done quite a remarkable feat to give variety to the consumers. We, at Premium Pralines, give them an opportunity to enjoy, share and relish their chocolates all the time. The Chocolate Industry is growing at a rate of approx 12 to 14 per cent.
Earlier people used to gift traditional Indian sweets only but now people want to gift different varieties of chocolates. Chocolates are the best gift for any occasions and are liked by all generations.
NM: How much does India contribute to the sales of Leonidas?
VR: There is a gradual evolution of the Indian luxury market. It is emerging as one of the world's fastest growing luxury market and positioned to become one of the largest luxury markets worldwide in the next decade. India is a fairly large market for us. We cannot compare the Indian market to other mature markets as it is still in in adolescent stages. However, even-though we have been in India only for last four years and we see tremendous growth in the future.
NM: Who are your target customers? How do you reach out to them?
VR: Leonidas have been enjoyed by gourmands and gourmets. High quality chocolates were and are always appreciated by all. What makes Leonidas, LEONIDAS? 100 per cent pure cocoa products, taste, quality and freshness… Leonidas uses only the best ingredients and each ingredient is rigorously selected for the pleasure of the senses, the subtlety of its taste and the combination of the flavours. Every person who appreciates the above mentioned qualities is our client. We do not want to limit our clients by a profile.
NM: How many stores do you have at present?
VR: Leonidas is currently one of the world leaders in the sale of pralines and continue to satisfy the taste of chocolate lovers in more than 53 countries with 1400 outlets over the world from Paris to London, Sydney to Tokyo and Brussels to New York. The first flagship store of Leonidas is in Mumbai, India at Kemps Corner.
NM: How well have people accepted Leonidas at the price point at which it offers its products since India is a land where numerous chocolate brands at a lower ticket price are very successful?
VR: Today, the name Leonidas has come to stand for the quintessential Belgian chocolate. To the Belgians certainly, but also to chocolate gourmets and gourmands all over the world, who are enjoying the Belgian Leonidas chocolates across the five continents. It is always about the methods and ingredients used while making chocolates. That is what makes quality chocolates different from regular chocolates. Leonidas guarantees the freshness and quality of its chocolates. They are always made according to traditional methods, using only the finest ingredients. Natural ingredients like fresh butter, fresh cream and delicacies such as hazelnuts from Turkey, Morello cherries from the Perigod, almonds from Italy and walnuts from Grenoble. In short, the finest ingredients the world has to offer. We have also made use of the latest technology to guarantee that freshness, quality and safety even further. If you look at all the luxury products available in the market, people don’t remember it because they are expensive, but always remember it for their quality.
NM: What special marketing initiatives have been undertaken by you?
VR: We use various marketing techniques and initiatives in India through print, social media, television and customer interaction. Since India is a very young market, one very effective way to interact with customers is by getting them to try our products. Then only can they understand the quality and learn about the difference amongst various chocolatiers and their products.
NM: What are the company's future plans? How many more stores can we see coming up and what will be target locations?
VR: We are a people centric organisation. We believe in people with passion for their work, ambitious and have a long-term vision. Every person has different skills and attributes that he/she bring into the business to make it successful. Our target locations for 2012-2013 are Delhi, NCR, Bangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad.