Mieke Callebaut’s pronouncement regarding the direction that Guylian has taken for 2018 could have well capsulized what’s was taking place at this year’s ISM show in Cologne. And those trends don’t simply apply to chocolate, either. Many non-chocolate items were also touting their sustainability efforts, coupled with a better-for-you tagline. 

Certainly there were plenty of traditional sweets for candy lovers to sample and enjoy. Still, it was clear that more fruit, more indulgent chocolate, more whimsy, more intensity, more color and more authenticity permeated the displays throughout the show.

Let’s begin with Callebaut’s comment. Last year Chocolaterie Guylian celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of Master’s Selection, a new premium range of flavorful mini pralines in beautiful gift boxes, a wonderful sweet translation of the “less is more” Mies van der Rohe philosophy.

This year, Guylian announced it will continue to further premiumize the Guylian brand while simultaneously becoming the first palm oil-free Belgian chocolates brand. The impetus behind this move stems from Millennial and Generation Z shoppers who endorse sustainability — in its broadest definition — in their shopping decisions as well as general lifestyle.


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Source: Koelnmesse

“We are proud of that fact that there is no palm oil in our best-selling Sea Shell and Sea Horse Chocolates, which are made from 100 percent pure cocoa butter and filled with Original Hazelnut Praliné and Dark Hazelnut Praliné, but our chocolates with truffle-based fillings do contain palm oil at the moment,” Callebaut said. “Taking into account the rising importance of sustainability and health, we have taken the decision to remove palm oil from all our recipes.”

Guylian will replace palm oil with shea butter and sunflower oil, which will result in smoother-textured and even better-tasting chocolates. It will also replace allergen soy lecithin with sunflower lecithin.

“For example, new recipe Guylian La Trufflina Chocolates contain 32 percent less saturated fat than previously,” she explained. “Their sugar content is also 16 percent less. These changes do, of course, increase our own costs, but we are doing it because we believe that it is the right thing to do.” 

The move to better ingredients dovetails with Guylian’s commitment to the future; it just invested €7 million into a new production line.

To make its commitment to sustainability visually striking, Katjes Fassin ensured that the largest booth (5,651 sq. ft.) at the fair was recyclable. By using 650 wooden pallets to set up its booth, the company is championing the use of a renewable raw materials. 

After the trade fair, 600 pallets will be reused by being put back into circulation as part of a deposit return system. Furthermore, all wood-based materials used to construct the stand are PEFC- or FSC-certified for maximum benefit to the environment.

“The largest stand at the trade fair will be sustainable,” emphasized Tobias Bachmüller, the company’s co-managing partner. “Building temporary structures such as a trade fair stand from reusable pallets is modern, sustainable and efficient. This is exactly the kind of initiative we want to see in terms of responsible, sustainable business operations.” 

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In keeping with that tone, instead of laying and affixing its own flooring, Katjes opted to simply use the floor of the exhibition center and decorate it with colorful graphics. A side benefit to the sustainable design; it generated significant savings, Bachmüller added.

But interest in sustainability isn’t something new for the company. Since 1988, Katjes has focused on using natural ingredients rather than artificial colorings, and since 2016, after extensive research, all products bearing the Katjes brand have been 100 percent vegetarian. 

That development had an added benefit; it also was good for the environment. The production of the vegetarian gelatin-free Bodo the Bear, for example, cuts CO2 emissions by around 20 percent when compared to the production of comparable fruit gums containing gelatin.

Being sustainable doesn’t mean one has to be boring, particularly in product development. Consider Katjes’ new launches, WUNDERLAND (Enchanted World) Pink-Edition, SOMMERLIEBE (Summer Love) and STERNENTÄNZER (Star Dancer).

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Continuing to meet demand for what seems to be a global demand for anything unicorn, the Enchanted World Pink Edition provides consumers, young, old and in-between with magic butterflies and fairies, colorful hearts and unicorns. The light pink, fuchsia, lilac and white gummies transport all princesses into a sparkling magical world.

There are those, however, who would prefer to feel the sun shining on their face or their feet dangling into the sparkling waters at the beach or river. To replicate that feeling, Katjes’ Summer Love brings back the fruits of summer — yogurt/fruit flavors enhanced with six vitamins — via a floodgate of taste memories. A pineapple-shaped window in the bag enables consumers to see sweets shaped like turtles, seahorses, squid, hearts, pineapple and watermelons. 

Rounding this return to summer’s delight is the Star Dancer offering. By using a brand new process to make the sweets, the company enables the fruit gum colors and flavors — blueberry, raspberry, apple, watermelon, lime, lemon, cherry and orange —  to run into each other for a fun effect. This gives every fruit gum and every bag a surprisingly different look and taste. Dream catchers, feathers and the faces of magical star dancers are designed to make consumers dream of warm summer days, friendships that last forever and dancing the night away under a canopy of stars.

As with Guylian, Katjes is also investing in its production facility. The €5-million expansion will take place at Emmerich am Rhein, its headquarters location, with completion slated for the beginning of 2019.

But whimsy and wonder isn’t relegated solely to unicorns. Continuing on with the theme is PEZ International. As exotic as a unicorn, but in every sense, more real, the flamingo continues to be a popular symbol for grace, elegance – and warm temperatures. 

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And that’s when fans of the pink bird can expect to see a PEZ dispenser in two different designs – with a pink base or a turquoise base. And since an exotic bird also calls for exotic candies, Coconut PEZ was created. But as flamingo fans know, these are migratory birds. So, too, are the Flamingo PEZ and Coconut PEZ candies; they will only be available as limited editions.

Summer also was utmost in mind for consumers of Loacker wafers. Following up on the success of the company’s raspberry-yogurt Quadratini introduction last year, three new summer flavors — Blueberry Yogurt, Cocoa and Milk and Espresso — will round out a seasonal campaign, which will tie in the new products with ice cream and gelato, said Crystal Black Davis, v.p. of marketing for Loacker USA. 

“There’s going to be an increased effort on shopper marketing and merchandising through point-of-sale and in-store communication,” she says. Having targeted the “Power Mom” as a Loacker consumer, the company is highlighting its all-natural, “better-for-you” ingredients used to produce Loacker wafers and chocolate specialty products, as well as working closely with “foodie” events, such as sponsoring Julia Child and the James Beard awards. Look for 48 more SKUs in the United States from Loacker.

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But then its portfolio of products line up well to attract both Power Moms and Millennial foodies. For example, its Cocoa & Milk Quadratini wafers introduced into the Italian market last year earned the country’s Product of the Year award.

As Ulrich Zuenelli, chairman of Loacker, explains, it’s a more sophisticated wafer taste coupled with a healthier ingredient label.

“There’s an increased amount of cocoa in the wafer, which drives down the sweetness. It also blends perfectly with the sweet milk cream,” he explained. The Quadratini line, of course, matches up ideally with today’s consumer penchant for sharing, on-the-go and portion-control.

In acknowledging that, it would be irresponsible to ignore the other trend driving sales, and that’s chocolate indulgence. As Zuenelli pointed out, one of the company’s truly artisanal creations, Rose of the Dolomites pralines, have experienced 32 percent global growth.

Then there’s the latest chocolate/wafer/cream creation that’s come from the company’s South Tyrolian research and development center, Loackini. The new, ultra-creamy, bite-sized and coin-shaped chocolate pralines have a cocoa cream filling lodged in a crispy cocoa wafer cocoon and are enrobed in a 60 percent dark or milk chocolate. 

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Thus, it comes as no surprise that the company’s chocolate specialty items are outpacing wafer growth in the company. As such, the company has once again invested in its production capacity, adding a dedicated line for Tortinas

Loacker has also committed to vertical integration by purchasing 120 hectares for growing hazelnuts. “I expect that 25 to 35 percent of hazelnuts will come from our farms,” Zuenelli said. In conjunction with that initiative, it’s signed 15-year contracts with hazelnut farmers to solidify in hazelnut sourcing. 

The company has also entered into a joint venture with a South Tyrolian milk cooperative, BRIMI, involving whole milk, skim milk and whey powders. The €36-million investment — scheduled to debut in 2019 — will reinforce its local sourcing efforts and represents another step in vertical integration. 

Investments in growth can also come from acquisitions, as the Colian Group continues to demonstrate. The company’s acquisition of Lily O’Brien’s for €40 million earlier this year represents yet another quality addition. 

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The Newbridge, Ireland-based premium chocolate manufacturer exports to more than 15 countries, which represents 80 percent of its sales. Branded sales exceed €30 million in 2016. Moreover, it’s the third largest inlaid box chocolate brand in U.K.

Since 2013, total revenues and global export revenues have increased by almost 50 percent, underpinned by increased investment in production facilities and new product development.

As Jan Kolański, president of the Colian Group, emphasized, the Lily O’Brien’s acquisition provides Colian with a high-quality, well-run manufacturer of sophisticated and subtle products, all superbly packaged. 

“It also broadens our reach into the U.K., Western Europe and the United States,” he added. “The investor fund wanted us; the management group wants to work with us. There are extremely good people working there, and we are all interested in growing Lily O’Brien’s together.”

That’s also what companies at the Brazilian pavilion — 19 in total — were interested in doing, growing Brazilian exports of candies together. According to ABICAB (The Brazilian Cocoa, Chocolates, Peanuts, Candies and Byproducts Industry Association) and ABIMAPI (The Brazilian Manufacturers Association of Biscuits, Pasta and Industrialized Breads and Cakes), the two groups that organized the pavilion, the Brazilian confectionery companies made $4.5 million in closed deals ($2.7 million in 2017). Those deals are expected to generate more than $20 million over the next 12 months (an increase of 140 percent compared to the U.S. $8.4 million from the previous year).

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The recent investments in innovation contributed to an increase in sales for the Brazilian companies that took part in the fair, the organizers said. 

For example, Riclan said investments in new products with greater added value have paid off, as their chewy caramel MY TOFFEE ZERO LACTOSE and coffee sweet POCKET Zero Sugar were included in the New Product Showcase. 

“We’re expecting an increase of around 5 percent in exportation over the course of the year,” estimates Guilherme Paulozzo, Riclan’s international sales executive. “The challenge is to try and increase exports beyond this with the introduction of products with greater added value, more technology and more attractive packaging, like those of our new product releases.”

MY TOFFEE ZERO LACTOSE is a milk caramel chewy candy free from lactose in chocolate and milk flavors, while POCKET is a sugar-free hard candy in Brazilian coffee and milk flavors. Interestingly, nearly 70 percent of South Americans are lactose-intolerant, a demographic that Riclan is anxious to tap into, says Ivan Schraider, the company’s vice president.

Valor, the Spanish chocolate manufacturer well known for its Marcona almond-chocolate bars, continues to tap into another demographic, consumers wanting sugar-free options. Pedro Lopez Lopez, ceo of the Villajoysa-based company, noted that one-fourth of the company’s production is dedicated to sugar-free chocolate items.

Last September, the company introduced an 85% cocoa dark chocolate sugar-free bar to address the growing shift to consumers of dark chocolate who want more flavor and intensity. Valor has a broad line of sugar-free bars, ranging from 70% percent dark chocolate bars with inclusions to filled milk chocolate bars.

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The company has also developed a line of sugar-free pralines that provide consumers with more of a dessert and snacking option.

And speaking of snacking options, who doesn’t recall the launch of the Trolli mini-burger?  It’s been 20 years since the Mederer Corp. rolled out a fruit gum replica, featuring delicious fruity flavors of rhubarb, raspberry, strawberry and pineapple-kiwi-gooseberry, rounded off with a hint of yogurt and cream. The execution was incredible, right up to the original packaging in a transparent mini blister tray. 

Today, the Trolli Mini Burger still puts a smile on people’s faces and is now created using ultra-modern robot technology at the Trolli plant in Hagenow.  

Of course, Herbert Mederer, the company’s ceo, continues to doodle on napkins and whatever he has available, to create some of the most creative gummies on the planet. 

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Speaking of the planet, the company has rolled out the Trolli Planet Gummy, a sour-filled fruit gum-sugar foam ball that come in an authentic globe design.

The Trolli Planet Gummy is a twist on the Trolli Glotzer, the first round 3D fruit gum foam-sugar creation that came out in 2001. This year, for the international market, Trolli is now producing these 3D eyes under the name Trolli Pop Eye. As Mederer explained, Glotzer just didn’t have the same marketing appeal as Pop Eye.

And with an eye out for gummy consumers wanting vegan options, there’s the Trolli Wolly sheep. Concealed under the soft blue, white, pink or green sheep’s wool is a fruity surprise in six different flavors: strawberry, raspberry, peach, mango and cherry, and an apple-pear combination. And Mederer promises more to come, including stand-alone 3D ducks.

Of course, there was much more to see at ISM, and it was all good. 

ISM New Product Showcase: The top innovations of 2018

New products play a center-stage role at every ISM, the world’s largest trade fair for sweets and snacks. New recipes, flavors, packing and marketing strategies push the industry forward and create impulses in the retail trade. Countless trade visitors took part in the voting for the top innovations again this year. In total, almost 200 new products were presented in the New Product Showcase.

First place was reserved for a fruit snack made of dried, tropical fruits by HPW from Switzerland. The products contain neither sugar substitutes nor fruit concentrates and are vegan and gluten-free certified. The fruits are directly processed and packed from the BRC-certified manufacturing company in Ghana. Available in five flavors, Fruit Balls follow the current trend of natural ingredients and sugar-free snacks.

A wafer filled with cocoa cream enriched with protein and hazelnuts and manufactured without any added sugar by German manufacturer GOT7 took second place. Brasiliero is also topical and trendy with its gluten-free label.

In third place landed Little Love, a vegan chocolate bar by the Dutch manufacturer Lovechock. Raw chocolate (the beans are not roasted, but instead ground) that is free of milk, soya, palm oil and gluten and which sweetened with nectar from coconut blossoms. Only organic raw materials are processed.

Totally in fashion at ISM: Dylan Lauren 

Dylan Lauren, founder and proprietor of Dylan’s Candy Bar, received this year’s ISM Award, which is given to industry professionals who have provided exceptional services to the sweets and snacks industry.  

Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, launched the specialty retail chain in 2001. The flagship store in New York City has been on the “Top 10” list of the most famous tourist attractions in New York since its foundation. More than two million visitors a year experience the unique mixture of sweets, art, fashion and pop culture. 

The award ceremony was held at KolnSky during an exclusive dinner after the first day of the show on Jan. 28. 

Richard Ross, president and ceo of Galerie, introduced Lauren as a “leading champion,” someone who’s been a “cheerleader, innovator and an inspiration to those working in the candy business.”

Noting that Lauren was hooked on candy as a child, Ross — who met the fledgling entrepreneur in 1999 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City — said she had brought her retail stores to life with design, music, fashion and color.

“She loves the taste, shape, texture and packaging of candy,” he added. “She’s Willie Wonka, Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz all rolled into one. She brings candy to life through the media and her leadership role. By merging fashion, pop culture and art, she was able to change the face of this industry.”

In accepting the award, Lauren said it was “like winning the gold medal at the Sweets & Snacks Olympics.” 

A lexicon for communicating chocolate flavor

By Clay Gordon  // chocolate critic and author

At ISM in Cologne on Jan. 28, Barry-Callebaut hosted a pre–publication launch event for Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate: A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals [to be published later this quarter]. As someone who has been interested in the topic professionally for nearly two decades I was happy to accept the invitation to the launch.

From the perspective I have gained over the past twenty years working to educate people about chocolate, I see one of the major impediments to growing appreciation for chocolate, especially specialty (which I increasingly prefer over the term craft) chocolate, is the lack of an agreed-upon vocabulary for clearly communicating about flavor. Hidden Persuaders was created to address this need.

Influenced by the title of a 1957 book about subliminal advertising, the authorial team, led by Barry Callebaut sensory scientist Renata Januszewska, the Hidden Persuaders lexicon is a structured collection of terms with underlying definitions. 

These definitions include the names of chemicals associated with specific flavors, providing a connection to an aspect of the underlying chemistry. 

Working in conjunction with the flavor/fragrance firm Givaudan, the definitions also include lists of emotions evoked by specific flavors — the hidden persuaders that operate at a subconscious level. It is the explicit connection between flavor/chemistry/emotion that makes Hidden Persuaders uniquely interesting and potentially transformative.

While I am excited about the potential represented in Hidden Persuaders, my excitement is tempered (chocolate pun — couldn’t resist) by an awareness that a good deal of work needs to be done to take the lexicon in its current state and turn it into tools that can be used by non–sensory professionals. 

Broadly speaking, what is needed to make Hidden Persuaders widely usable and useful are translators, interpreters, and instructors working to create tools that implement the definitions in the dictionary in ways that meet the very different needs of a range of user communities.

There are many individuals and groups working to create vocabularies and visualizations (I have been working with the Cocoa of Excellence program on one approach). But it is one thing to propose a standard and something else entirely to get something adopted as a standard. I am a proponent of diversity in approaches but in this case I also advocate convergence upon a shared vocabulary, built on top of a foundation of underlying shared and agreed–upon attributes. 

Realistically, Barry Callebaut is one of the very few companies in chocolate that has the resources to make this balance of diversity and convergence a commercial reality, and this is one stated intent of the work. 

Critically, while the book itself is copyrighted, Barry Callebaut representatives indicated to me that they intend to make the underlying concepts available to everyone: the company has deliberately not encumbered the underlying IP of Hidden Persuaders by trademarks or patents or copyright.

Any tool that improves communication will benefit everyone. Not just Big Chocolate but also the growing community of small specialty chocolate makers. 

Products we loved

Whether or not debuting items appeared in the New Product Showcase, ISM was rife with innovation. Check out the products that caught our attention while strolling the show floor.

Mr. Candy Baker DIY candy kits

Alexandra Bisaz, founder of Swiss candy retailer Lolipop Candy Shop, has developed two do-it-yourself kits that bring the fun of candy making into home kitchens.

The Mr. Candy Baker gummy bear kit comes with a 36-piece silicone mould and a mixture of gelatin, sugar and natural flavors. Home candy makers heat water, stir in the mixture, pour it into the mould and let it chill in the refrigerator. Before long, they’ll have gummy bears in Apple, Strawberry and Lemon flavors.

Armin von Friedeburg, owner and managing partner of Washington, D.C.-based importer and broker CMA Global Partners, said the product is designed for parents with children ages 5 to 15. It can also serve adults looking to spice up the treats with alcohol.

“That shared activity is coming back,” he said.

Mr. Candy Baker also offers a marshmallow kit that makes 24 raspberry marshmallows. Von Friedeburg noted whoopie pie and cake pop kits are on the horizon.

The Cheesecake Factory At Home chocolate

SweetLife AG, maker of Rivo Mints and Skinny Girl candy, is bringing The Cheesecake Factory-licensed chocolate bars, truffles and baking mixes to the United States. 

Building on the successful licensing of Skinny Girl products, the Swiss company turned to another brand bound to draw attention here and abroad, said Sales Director Ben Bekkers. The Cheesecake Factory, known for indulgent portions and decadent desserts, seemed like the perfect fit.

“The Cheesecake Factory is well-known around the world — even in countries where they don’t have it,” Bekkers said, adding that tourists to the United States make a point to visit one of the franchises.

The bars come in four flavors: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Blood Orange Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Toffee Milk Chocolate. The 40-gram bar retails at $1.50, while the 100-gram bars retail for $3.50.

Packed in 4.8-oz. standup pouches, The Cheesecake Factory truffles are available in Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Almond. They retail for about $5. Chocolate coated caramels will also be available.

Retailers have already started carrying The Cheesecake Factory baking mixes, which include Snickerdoodle Cookies, Vanilla Cupcakes with Frosting, Chocolate Cupcakes with Frosting and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Feel Fruity and Bite Me 

With a brand name like that, the Daflée Food GmbH booth saw quite a bit of traction during ISM. And that was entirely the point, said General Manager Andreas Eichberger.

Feel Fruity and Bite Me, Daflée’s new line of chocolate-covered, freeze-dried fruit, will launch in Germany this month. The cheeky name catches consumers’ attention and covers the product’s tasting experience.

“They laugh about it,” Eichberger said. “You have to bite it to enjoy the crunch.”

Daflée offers Feel Fruity and Bite Me in a rainbow of colors and flavors. They include:

  • Milk Chocolate Strawberry
  • White Chocolate Strawberry
  • Milk Chocolate Raspberry
  • Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry
  • White Chocolate Mango Strawberry
  • Dark Chocolate Orange Raspberry
  • Dark and White Chocolate Sour Cherry with Chocolate Malt Crunch 
  • White Chocolate Sour Cherry with Coconut

Available in 90-gram boxes, Feel Fruity and Bite Me retails for €2.79-2.99.

Fruchtpapier fruit snack sheets

Berlin-based Dörrwerk GmbH uses dehydrated fruit puree to create Fruchtpapier, or “fruit paper.” 

The three-year-old brand combines apple and another fruit — Mango, Strawberry, Pineapple or Blackberry — for unique flavors. No sugar is added to the puree, which is spread thin and dehydrated for several hours. The result is a natural fruit chip with a shelf life of about nine months.

“It’s a convenient snack,” said co-founder Philipp Prechtner. “It’s ready to eat out of the package.”

Dörrwerk also aims to reduce food waste by using fruit that is of good quality but might not meet the visual standards of grocery stores and supermarkets. To produce one 40-gram package, it requires about 400 grams of fresh fruit. One18-gram serving is 10-15 pieces, Prechtner said.

Fruchtpapier is available in Germany and Switzerland, but Dörrwerk is looking to gain distribution elsewhere.

BE4 hard candies

El Caserio de Tafalla has produced traditional sweets for more than 50 years, but the Spanish company has introduced a line of hard candies designed to meet changing consumer trends.

“Sugar, for the last few years, has been seen as evil,” says Ainhoa Cordón Moreno, El Caserio export representative. “We wanted to show the world (sugar and enjoying sweets) don’t have to be fighting. You don’t have to associate sweet with evil.”

Available in five varieties, BE4 hard candies are vegan, free of sugar, lactose, gluten, fat and palm oil, and are made with natural colors and flavorings. Each variety includes “superfoods” and Vitamin C. They include:

  • Fresh – Mint & Green Tea: With Vitamin C, it contributes to the absorption of other vitamins and essential nutrients.
  • Energy – Orange & Passion Fruit. With Superboost, it increases physical and mental energy. 
  • Antiox – Strawberry & Guava: High in vitamins A, B and C.
  • Detox – Apple & Grape: Stimulates the immunological system.
  • Citrus – Fruits. Perfectly combines all the refreshing and detoxifying properties of fruits.

Spanish retailers began carrying BE4 in September, and El Caserio hopes to expand the line to the United States, Canada, China and other parts of Europe, Cordón Moreno said.

“We want the customers to know we’re here for them,” she said.

Awesome Chocolate

Most would agree all chocolate is awesome, but Awesome Chocolate takes it to the next level.

Packaged in brightly-colored, square-shaped boxes are nuts or coffee beans covered in chocolate and other flavorings. At ISM, Netherlands-based Menken Orlando B.V. unveiled Awesome Chocolate blonde chocolate-coated raspberry hazelnuts.

Karin van der Hout, chocolate project manager, said the goal of the year-old brand is to appeal to consumers in the 25-45 age bracket. She noted the term “awesome,” while easily understood in the United States, has taken a little more explanation in Europe.

“We want to be accessible to the consumer, but also give a surprise twist,” she said. 

The blonde chocolate variety joins Sea Salt & Caramel Almonds, Milk Chocolate Macadamias, Maple Pecans and Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans. They retail for €2.49.