Katjes acquires rights for Vicks cough drops in Europe and considers UK expansion

Katjes sees 'white space' opportunity for Vicks cough drops in the UK

German confectioner Katjes has acquired a perpetual license from Procter & Gamble to sell and distribute Vicks cough drops in Europe and Russia.

Jacqueline Knaps, business unit director for Vicks at Katjes, told ConfectioneryNews: “We see opportunity in expanding the business in typical ‘cold and flu’-markets, like the UK.”

Mondēlez International holds a 42.7% market share of the UK medicated confectionery market on the strength of its Halls brand, Euromonitor data shows. 

Katjes says Vicks is one of the world’s largest cold and cough brand with over €50m ($55m) in global sales annually for the candy alone.

Number three German sugar confectioner Katjes has gained European and Russia rights on the brand as of today - November 2 2015.

The brand’s main markets are Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

“Main channels are retail as well as pharmacy channels. Both channels are important for us. Further we will focus on DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Benelux and the Nordics,” said Knaps.

In Germany, Vicks is sold under the brand name Wicks.

Katjes said earlier this year it was exploring acquisition targets, possibly in Italy or Spain, after issuing a public offering of €60m ($67m).

Medicated confectionery forecasts

Western Europe’s medicated confectionery market, which includes throat and cough sweets, is valued at $1.6bn (retail value sales) and is forecast to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.2% up to 2020, according to Euromonitor International.

The research organization expects UK value sales for medicated confectionery will remain fairly stagnant, while Russian sales are forecast to grow 6.2% per year to 2020.

Ricola leads the medicated confectionery sector in Western Europe, followed by Lofthouse of Fleetwood and Procter & Gamble.

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