Premium ‘white space’: Mars targets top-end positioning with Galaxy Kenz chocolate range in Middle East

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Launched in October, Galaxy Kenz is available in hypermarkets and supermarkets in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain ©Mars
Launched in October, Galaxy Kenz is available in hypermarkets and supermarkets in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain ©Mars

Related tags Mars Middle east Chocolate Premium chocolate

Confectionery giant Mars GCC has entered the premium chocolate market in the Middle East region with its Galaxy Kenz offerings, with the firm hoping to eat in to the market share enjoyed by the likes of Lindt and Godiva.

Galaxy Kenz is a nut collection made with whole nuts, and is the first premium tablets launched by Galaxy in the region.

There are five variants including dark (55%), dark (70%), dark (55%) with almonds, dark (55%) with hazelnut and milk with hazelnut.

Launched in October, the products are available in hypermarkets and supermarkets in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.


Middle East potential

According to Melissa Kanaan, Galaxy brand manager at Mars GCC, the premium category was currently “a white space for Galaxy.”

“Premiumisation of Galaxy allows the brand to grow in the premium category with high quality ingredients, premium look and feel and large tablets format​,” she said.

Previously, Confectionery News​ reported that the Middle East was a growing market for premium brands. Premium and branded items are seen as a wealth symbol, including premium chocolate.

In Saudi Arabia, Galaxy is the most popular chocolate brand with a 14% market share, according to Euromonitor.

While UAE and Saudi Arabia may be one of the more developed markets in the region in terms of the premium segment, it was still underdeveloped compared to the mature markets such as UK, Kanaan told FoodNavigator-Asia.

However, since launching the Galaxy Kenz products last month, early results have proved promising. “The chocolates received great reaction from consumers and food bloggers around the region who love the taste and quality of the ingredients​.”

Kanaan said the firm was assessing opportunities to launch in other Middle Eastern Markets, as well as considering e-commerce channels.

She added that Mars would consider developing more products under the Galaxy Kenz range for the Middle East if consumer demand increases.

Russia facility

Galaxy Kenz is manufactured in Moscow, Russia and exclusively sold in the Middle East.

Mars’ Russia factory was set up specifically to manufacture Mars chocolate tablet products that are in high demand in Russia. Besides producing Galaxy Kenz for the GCC region, it also manufactures M&M’s tablets and Korkunov (for the Russian market).

Kanaan told us: “With the growing opportunity to enter the premium tablet range in the GCC, it made business sense to import products from Russia for the initial launch​.” 

Mars is expected to distribute 140 tons of Galaxy Kenz to the Gulf region by the end of this year.

Russia is a big export hub for Mars with four confectionery factories producing Snickers, Bounty, Mars, and M&Ms. According to Mars Russia, every third Mars bar or chewing gum produced in Russia is exported.

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