ChocoMe Adds new Partner to Unique Travel Retail Portfolio

Food

Created 13 years ago, the chocoMe brand is now available through some 1,500 sales points worldwide, reaching gourmand lovers of exquisite chocolate products. Apart from a wide range of chocolate and gourmet shops, florists, wine stores, and home furnishing specialists, several premium international brands have chosen to carry chocoMe products, including Ferrari, Ritz-Carlton, Mercedes, and El Corte Inglés.

Apart from these partners, duty-free and travel retail have become one of our most important sales channels in recent years. ChocoMe Ltd. has been available at Ferenc Liszt International Airport since 2015, in the retail location operated by the Hungarian subsidiary of Gebr. Heinemann.

It did not take long before the German company recognized the excellent performance of the Hungarian brand and, in an unprecedented move, elevated chocoMe to glocal status. This expression (a portmanteau of “global” and “local”) refers to when a small local brand enters major global markets. This move presents a significant challenge to small businesses because of the complex supply and quality control requirements of the travel retail segment.

However, chocoMe successfully mastered the requirements in 2017 (it was the only Hungarian brand to do so) and entered more than a dozen European airports via Heinemann’s network of stores. Before the COVID lockdowns, locations included Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna, Bratislava, and Istanbul. ChocoMe products were also available at a vast number of sites, many of them quite exotic, where Gebr. Heinemann was a supplier of goods.

Throughout this cooperation, now in its ninth year, chocoMe has always welcomed suggestions from its partners. As a result, we regularly participate in and support marketing campaigns and tastings organized at airports. The feedback received has motivated us to make specific moves and engage in continual developments that allow our products to reach our customers more efficiently. By strengthening our IT background, we can now label our products in five different languages. This was indispensable for entering the Scandinavian travel retail markets, among others. We leverage the long-standing experience of our partners when we heed their advice on the packaging, design, or even flavors of our products aimed at the travel retail segment.

As regards our post-COVID activities, in 2023, chocoMe was the first Hungarian brand to enter the duty-free and travel retail establishments operated by Lagardére. The first location of this new partnership is the busiest and largest airport in the Czech Republic, the Václav Havel International Airport in Prague, where we are available at both terminals.

It makes us immensely proud that our portfolio of partners now includes not one but two major airport operators. The Lagardére brand best known to Hungarian consumers is probably the Relay network; however, frequent flyers may also be familiar with the Aelia Duty Free and BuY Paris Duty Free brands. Gaining the approval of Lagardére has reaffirmed the vision behind the chocoMe brand and its ever-expanding portfolio of products, ensuring the utmost satisfaction of our business partners and chocolate-loving customers alike.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 24, 2023.

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