Kraft in push to raise choc sales in China

KRAFT Foods is aiming to double the number of Chinese cities in which it sells Cadbury chocolate within the next two years.

This would mean the number of cities in China in which Cadbury products are sold will rise to about 40.

The US food group would use its vast distribution network to achieve its goal.

Lorna Davis, president and chairman of Kraft’s China operations, said: “China has been doubling every year, and the real challenge is to pick the right opportunities.”

Davis added: “If I had unlimited resources and unlimited people, I would bring in everything Kraft has, but right now the focus is really on integrating Cadbury and growing our line of biscuits.”

Kraft, the maker of Oreo cookies and its own line of cheese, bought UK rival Cadbury for $19bn (£12.3bn) in January after a controversial acquisition.

Kraft is also eyeing China’s breakfast market to push items such as cakes and pop tarts, Davis said, as it tries to move consumers away from their usual fare of noodles, rice congee or meat buns.

“There’s a hole in the breakfast market now and we’re moving to fill it,” she said.

“The problem is that Chinese supermarkets traditionally haven’t had a breakfast section, and you don’t want to put it in the cereal section where traffic is low. So there’s a bit of trial and error right now.”

Revenue at Kraft China has quadrupled in the past four years.

Davis said she expected the trend to continue as per capita consumption of its products remains low compared with most developed markets.