Spirited sales and haunting profits Making the most of the autumn’s big family events

Halloween, on 31 October, is the UK’s third biggest retail event, worth over £300 million (MINTEL), and its popularity continues to grow. With 85% of shoppers buying a Halloween item each time (IGD), themed displays are vital for driving in-depot sales.

Wholesalers can drive profits from soft drinks, sweets and much more this Halloween by displaying fun, affordable products that enable retailers to cater for seasonal parties and shoppers stocking up for trick or treaters.

And it gets even better, with Bonfire Night just round the corner, keeping the excitement going through to November 5th. As Steve Kelly, Channel Director at PREMIER FOODS points out, a great way for wholesalers to extend the Halloween occasion and get more value out of it is to stock Bonfire Night-related products as well:

“Following Halloween, Bonfire Night comes around so quickly that it is beneficial for wholesalers to have a range of Bonfire Night products as an extension of their Halloween range, to get ahead of demand early on.”

One in three shoppers buy soft drinks at Halloween (Platypus Research), so this is a key category focus for retailers and wholesalers alike. AG BARR’S Halloween bestsellers include IRN-BRU, the UK’s No.1 Flavoured Carbonate brand (IRI), available in Regular and XTRA variants, and the Barr Family Range.

“Halloween represents a significant opportunity for retailers to grow sales,” says Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks. “Soft drinks and confectionery are the biggest profit drivers (IGD), with shoppers stocking up on take-home packs of soft drinks for parties and smaller packs of sweets to hand out to trick-or-treaters.”

Like Coca-Cola is to Christmas, Fanta is to Halloween and the brand is a key driver of soft drinks growth during the four-week Halloween period, says Amy Burgess, Trade Communications Manager at COCA-COLA EUROPEAN PARTNERS (CCEP.)

While overall soft drinks grew by 3.7% last Halloween, Fanta saw a boost of 26%, accelerated by more consumers picking up Fanta Zero than ever before. Fanta is back this year with another Halloween activation, supported by a multi-million pound marketing campaign that includes digital and outdoor advertising, social media and Twisted Carnival experiential activities. CCEP are also unveiling the spooktacular winning flavours of their Fanta Flavour ElectionFanta Blood Orange Zero and Fanta Pink Grapefruit Zero are joining the brand’s portfolio for Halloween, in 500ml, 2L and multipack cans. Both variants are Soft Drinks Tax-exempt and are naturally flavoured, containing no sugar or calories.

Halloween confectionery is a surefire way to help wholesalers and independent retailers hit consumers’ sweet spots at this time of year.

Tangerine’s Halloween Bag format is perfect for consumers to share with family and friends at spooky-themed gatherings, and provides a range of options for everyone.

Russell Tanner, marketing and category director at Tangerine Confectionery, says: “While sweets are traditionally an indulgence purchase, Halloween parties and trick-or-treaters turn them into a necessity buy during October and according to IRI, this market has grown by 34 per cent in the past two years

The popularity of the Halloween Bag format has accelerated year on year, with 8.2% sales growth in 2017 (IRI) The Barratt Halloween Bag (180g) features a mix of retro heroes, including Dip Dab Lollies, Fruit Salad Lollies, Mini Refresher Rolls, and Mini Wham Chew Bars.

Tangerine’s 450g branded Barratt Halloween Bucket contains a mix of consumer favourites, including Refresher Rolls, Dip Dabs, Mini Wham Bars, Mini Fruit Salad Bars, and individual 30g bags of Dolly Mix, Cola Bottles, Shrimps and Bananas. The bucket format is ideal for shoppers stocking up for trick-or-treaters.

Delivering a range of all year-round sweets that tick all the boxes for the occasion, HARIBO is showcasing its Starmix Minis and Tangfastics Minis alongside MAOAM individually wrapped treats, a selection which helped deliver 5% year on year growth for the UK’s leading gums and jellies brand during Halloween 2017.

Claire James, Trade Marketing Manager for HARIBO comments: “Sweets outperform chocolate at this time of year as consumers stock up for trick or treating and parties. HARIBO treats support these occasions perfectly.

“Halloween is also an occasion where shoppers look for trusted brands, those that they know will deliver great taste and will be enjoyed by the majority – they certainly don’t want to look cheap when it comes to treating or hosting a spooky celebration!”

Supporting the Halloween occasion are Tangfastics Minis and Starmix Minis. Also offering value and volume is MAOAM’s selection of individually wrapped top selling chews, including Stripes, Joystixx and MaoMix. These treats support the occasion and go on selling well afterwards, ideal for retailers who do not want to risk being left with themed stock after the event.

Brioche and Viennoiserie supplier Brioche Pasquier has partnered with Thorpe Park Resort in a Halloween promotion, with a special 2-4-1 entry ticket offer featured on packs of their popular Pains au Lait and Pains au Lait with Chocolate Chips.

The offer is available in stores from September 1st until November 1st on Brioche Pasquier Pains au Lait and Pain au Lait with Chocolate Chips. It is valid until October 2019 – consumers simply need to present the promotional pack at the ticket office on the day of their visit. One free ticket per pack is available with each full paying adult.

According to Mark Roberts, Trade Marketing Manager at PERFETTI VAN MELLE, last year 77% of shoppers said they bought sugar confectionery rather than chocolate in the lead up to Halloween and seasonal sales increased 9.2% in 2017 (IRI.)

Last year Halloween was worth £117 million in incremental grocery spend, 29% up on 2016. Confectionery accounted for £94 million of these sales, as people made more planned purchases over impulse, stocking up for trick or treat visits, entertaining at home and gifting.

Last year, Fruittella’s Halloween bags grew 79%, contributing to PVM’s overall growth of 14% in this period (Kantar Worldpanel), with outstanding growth from Juicy Chews and Duo Stix Halloween packs.

In 2017 confectionery drove Halloween growth by 7%, says Dan Newell, Fruity Confectionery Portfolio Director at MARS WRIGLEY CONFECTIONERY, with over a third of UK consumers buying sweets and/or chocolate for the seasonal event (Nielsen Scantrack.) The growth was largely driven by a shift in demand towards Sharing Bags and twistwrap confectionery as consumers look for Trick or Treat and Big Night In confectionery options. In the seasonal period, funsize and sharing grew 6.5% and 5.7% respectively.

With confectionery an integral aspect of Halloween, many consumers over buy a mix of both chocolate and sugar confectionery in both funsize formats and sharing bags to ensure they have as many treats available for trick or treaters as possible. Last year, Mars Wrigley Confectionery secured four of the top five bestselling confectionery lines in funsize – including MALTEASERS, MARS and SKITTLES, and two of the top five within twistwrap.

Watching a scary movie is also becoming an increasingly popular ritual that starts to build excitement in the runup to Halloween, and spans all life stages. 31% of consumers watched a scary movie at home last year across the Halloween period – presenting a huge opportunity for retailers to stock a range of sharing bag treats for the Big Night In occasion. Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s chocolate and fruit confectionery ‘More to Share’ bags are the ideal accompaniment for a scary film in the cinema or at home.

With this in mind, SKITTLES® are taking consumers back to the dark side for the fourth year running. Containing five frightening flavours (Forbidden Fruit, Midnight Lime, Blood Orange, Pomegranate and Dark Berry), SKITTLES Darkside is available in funsize format, alongside SKITTLES Fruits – both perfectly suited to the Trick or Treat occasion.

Expected to deliver over £6m in sales, including across the Halloween period, Mars Wrigley Confectionery has also launched limited-edition M&M’s® Crunchy Caramel. Combining the world’s number one confectionery brand with the second most popular flavour in bitesize chocolate, the chocolate is available in pouches, treat bags and singles – perfect for Halloween.

PREMIER FOODS focus heavily on Halloween with the Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cake brands, whose appeal continues through to Bonfire Night, for which they are offering some specifically Bonfire Night-related products. Last year Halloween Cadbury Cakes experienced growth of 31% (IRI), in part attributed to bigger, sharing formats, which are great for offering as Halloween treats.

Mr Kipling Fiendish Fancies and Terrifying Toffee Whirls are making a return this year, alongside the new Cadbury Pumpkin Patch Gateau.

Available from October the Gateau provides the perfect centrepiece for Halloween parties and gatherings, topped with an orange pumpkin plaque. Steve Kelly, Channel Director at Premier Foods has some wizard spells to conjure up profits:

“Brand blocking enables new product lines or seasonal editions to be pushed alongside recognised bestsellers. As many retailers have limited time to spend in a depot, they need to be able to navigate the aisles and find the products they want quickly and easily.”

A great way to extend and get more value out of the Halloween occasion is for wholesalers to look at stocking Bonfire Night related products as well. Available from October, Mr Kipling Toffee Apple Slices and Chocolate & Marshmallow Slices bring warming flavours that fit perfectly with the Bonfire Night occasion, and are ideal for young families at Bonfire parties. Cadbury Cakes is also launching Mini Bonfire Logs, a delicious twist on the iconic mini roll, with honeycomb sponge and creme.

ANIMAL CRACKERS

The usual advice is to keep pets inside, away from fireworks, but there’s no reason for them to be spooked by Halloween! TastyBone, the UK’s leading manufacturer of nylon chews and edible treats for dogs, is helping Britain’s pooches get in on the Halloween fun with two spooky, limited-edition, Halloween-themed bones. Toffee Apple or Pumpkin flavours are available as individual bones or as a mixed counter display unit with a bespoke Halloweenthemed header.

The special edition bones are a Halloween first from TastyBone, infused right through to the core for long-lasting taste. Made from 100% virgin nylon, they’ve been tested on the most vigorous of chewers – with every bite dogs’ gums and teeth become stronger and healthier, reducing the build-up of plaque and tartar.

Camille Ashforth, TastyBone product manager, comments: “At TastyBone we understand that pets are an important part of the family, therefore owners want to ensure that they are included in all traditions and celebrations in some way – this presents retailers with a great opportunity to capitalise on this key calendar date.

“With specially designed packaging, they also make for an eye-catching display in any retail environment and the price shouldn’t scare pet owners off either, with an RRP of £5.25.”