Italian Perfetti Van Melle is a global confectionery manufacturer and owner of power brands Mentos, Airheads, Chupa Chups and Fruit-tella, among many others. Licensing.biz caught up with them ahead of exhibiting at Licensing Expo in Vegas this May.
For those who don’t already know Perfetti Van Melle, who are you and how do you fit into the licensing industry?
Our company, Perfetti Van Melle, is one of the world’s global confectionery manufacturers and owner of many power brands such as Mentos, Airheads, Chupa Chups and Fruit-tella. We have been building international licensing programmes with these brands for many years. The Chupa Chups licensing programme started 25 years ago as a lifestyle programme. Today we diversify with our brands in both lifestyle and food and beverage extensions.
Do you have any recent news you can share with us?
We have just opened a spectacular Chupa Chups event at the Changhi airport in Singapore, where fans of the brand can be transported into a world of interactive and yummy-looking backdrops such as a carousel ride made of lollipops, a Ferris wheel or pose with moving larger-than-life lollipop daisies! The true eyecatcher of the event is the gigantic mega sized lollipop installation that has been proclaimed Singapore’s largest Chupa Chups lollipop by Singapore’s Book of Records, and which is already going viral.
We are thrilled about the ongoing success of the Chupa Chups sparkling drink range. The newly launched Chupa Chups Zero Sugar drinks in Strawberry and Lemon & Lime flavour have been awarded the 2022 Superior Taste Award by the prestigious International Taste Institute in Belgium. Seeing how these sparkling drinks are taking the world by storm, we are now exploring opportunities for Mentos drinks as well.
For Airheads, we are preparing the launch of a Market and Airheads drop this autumn, that will include limited-edition clothing and accessories as well as the first Airheads co-branded limited-edition Market flavour. Later this year, we have exciting launches coming up of mini figurines and toys by MGA L.O.L., Moose and Super Impulse with our brands Mentos, Chupa Chups and Airheads.
What are the biggest trends – challenges or opportunities – facing licensing and retail?
Our licensing business is very much global, so we are still affected by the consequences of the pandemic and also challenged by the uncertainty and impact that is provoked by the geopolitical situation. Trend-wise, the talk of the licensing town is all about the NFT/Metaverse business opportunities and sustainability policies. We are dedicating resources to understanding the business model, the trademark protection issues and how we can best fit in with our brands.
And what are the biggest trends across the food and beverage category?
We are seeing a huge appetite in the F&B aisles for innovative collaborations. Teaming up with trusted brands from adjacent food categories is an excellent way to offer novelty to the market.
On the other hand, there is an increasing need to pursue wellness and offer products that can cater to the need to indulge in a healthier way, which is why we advocate to develop better-for-you treats in the combined R&D efforts of our licensed products.
An area where we see a big growth potential is the protein category, in which we are exploring opportunities with leading companies for several brands at the moment.
Are you exhibiting at Licensing Expo for the first time? If so, what are you hoping to achieve from being on the show floor?
We have been visiting Licensing Expo for many years and have always had a presence through the first-in-class agencies who represent us in the USA: Seltzer Licensing for Airheads and Lisa Marks for Mentos and Chupa Chups. As it has become such a global showcase, we have started to exhibit with a corporate Perfetti Van Melle booth, too.
What excites you about returning to an in-person Licensing Expo?
There’s nothing like walking the aisles of the Expo to get a feel for what’s relevant in the ever-changing licensing scene. We also adore the opportunity to offer our business partners a sneak peek at our latest artwork developments, which we are renowned for. And we will admit, we do love to discuss business face to face with a smile!
What can visitors expect to see on your stand?
This year the star of the show will be Mentos, our most global and well-known brand. Visitors will be able to check out the colourful and trendy art assets we can offer with Mentos and examples of successful international launches, such as the one with Mentos & Sally Hansen. And as usual, there will be a splash of colour that transmits the fun of our brands and a treat for all is guaranteed!
Perfetti Van Melle will be at Bayside Exhibit Hall – Level 1 — D136 at Licensing Expo 2022, 24–26 May, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas.