Following a challenging year, chocolates present an opportunity for shoppers to treat family and friends.

Having had to remain away from loved ones during the pandemic has left many people feeling sentimental and more appreciative than ever.

With the new vaccination, there is a sense of hope and people are looking forward to the possibility of spending more time together.

This may still be in smaller groups, but we anticipate shoppers wanting to mark events, making them even more special and gifting loved ones with affordable luxuries – such as premium confectionery, to add a little sparkle.

Confectionery is one of the few categories where shoppers are willing to spend money on the products that they love, in order to cater for demand for treating.

While there is still a degree of uncertainty to how people might celebrate, shoppers will still be looking for high-quality products to stock on shelves.

“We know shoppers turn to the brands they know and love during times of uncertainty,” comments Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director, Ferrero, comments: “Our portfolio of premium, established brands – Ferrero Rocher, Ferrero Collection, Raffaello, and Thorntons – offers their consumers high quality treats or gifts, which we know are in demand and suit the growth of the ‘big night in’ occasions too. Quality is at the heart of everything we do at Ferrero, which is why we are consistently able to deliver premium products to consumers to support the growth of the category.”

“Premium boxed confectionery will continue to play an important role for retailers wanting to drive confectionery sales, so it’s important that the right pack formats are offered in-depot to suit retailer missions,” continues Boorer. “For example, Ferrero Rocher 300g and Thorntons Classic 262g are ideal offerings that make it easier for retailers to switch to these premium brands that will help drive bigger basket sales.”

Shoppers are emotionally invested within the confectionery category as the brands help them celebrate the moments they share with loved ones.

It’s because of this love that shoppers keep coming back to purchase time and time again. The category has shown resilience during tough times and has shown it again during the current pandemic.

“Our advice to wholesalers is to continue to support the brands that you know retailers will purchase, ensuring you’re offering a number of more premium brands to add some sparkle,” suggests Boorer.

With less shopping around (89% of shoppers visiting just one store) as a result of the events in 2020 and more deliberate ‘big’ shops, shoppers are more willing to add new or alternative products to their shop if their usual items are not immediately available. In addition to this, retailers are experiencing more demand for impulsive ‘treat’ products, particularly from secondary locations or off-shelf displays in store. Shoppers are having to eat more meals at home which, coupled with the ability to experiment more with dishes, has led to retailers looking for a wider variety of products and options to bring more excitement to different consumption occasions.

These factors go hand in hand with the popularity of the big night in, which shoppers have increasingly looked to as a way to ease the pressures that they are facing during the week. Many are taking on more than before, with an extended working day meaning that a big night in can give a much-needed escape to the sofa. Confectionery is among the categories that can provide a treat during those moments of relaxation and enjoyment.

“It’s therefore important that retailers can access products that will enhance their shoppers’ experience,” adds Boorer. “Wholesalers should therefore stock more exciting and premium treats, that retailers can tempt their shoppers with and bring these households together.”

Victoria Gell, Fruity Confections Brand Director, Mars Wrigley, comments: “For consumers, confectionery is an exciting category. It can bring genuine moments of everyday indulgence. Despite the changes to our lives over the past months, we have still seen consumers look for the products they love, and which are familiar to them. We have also seen that whilst they seek reassurance from their favourite brands, they still look to confectionery to bring new products to market and excite loyal consumers.”

Last December, and in celebration of its 60th year on shelves, Mars Wrigley heralded a new era for the Galaxy brand by announcing a packaging redesign, alongside the launch of two new NPDs – Galaxy Orange Block and Galaxy Fusions.

Kicking off 2021 Mars Wrigley UK officially launched 100kcal bars into the UK market. As a means of catering to the 1 in 4 shoppers who say that calorie labelling impacts their purchase decisions (Kantar), Mars Wrigley has introduced new 100kcal (or less) versions across its top three most popular singles bars – Mars, Snickers and Twix – allowing consumers to enjoy their favourite sweet treats in a reduced, portionable size.

Tapping further into consumer demand, Mars Wrigley UK will accelerate its sustainable packaging programme, starting with the reduction of packaging in some of its most popular brands in an effort to save 51 tonnes of plastic every year.

From April, selected ‘Standard’ and ‘More to Share’ sharing pouches across brands such as M&M’S, Galaxy Counters, Galaxy Minstrels, Revels, Maltesers Buttons, Skittles and Starburst will be narrower in the UK and Ireland, reducing the plastic used by around 647,000 square metres a year or the equivalent area of over 90 football pitches.

Mars Wrigley UK looks forward to kicking off the football season with new Win2Gether on-pack promotions across a range of chocolate and fruity confectionery products.

As the nation gets ready for a summer of sports, Mars Wrigley UK is offering football fans across the nation the chance to win major prizes for both themselves and a mate.

A host of incredible rewards and experiences are on offer, such as a VIP trip to Wembley Stadium, the chance to meet a footballing legend and cash prizes of up to £1000.

Following the launch of Extra Refreshers singles back in 2020, which were available in Peppermint, Spearmint and Bubblemint, the launch of Extra Refreshers in the popular bottle format aims to ensure that consumers have access to their favourite gum whatever the occasion, at home or on the go. Mars Wrigley is also expanding the Refreshers portfolio with a new Tropical flavour to capitalise on the popularity of tropical flavour profiles with younger consumers.

Extra Refreshers bottle has launched at £2.19 RRP in three flavours, Peppermint, Spearmint and new Tropical flavour which also launches in a single pack of 7 pieces at £0.59 RRP. The launch of Extra Refreshers bottle and Tropical flavour will be supported by in-store and multimedia campaigns featuring in-store displays and bold POS, as well as comprehensive consumer online activation. Additionally, pre-filled counter-top units will be available through selected wholesalers.

During lockdown we saw consumer habits continue to evolve, with traditional ways of consuming gum also beginning to change. Although ‘freshening’ is the primary reason to chew across all gum occasions, many new occasions have been identified, including a move away from purely ‘on the go’ purchases.

As we have all spent more time at home, our consumption patterns and needs have shifted, but gum has stayed central to lots of consumers – even at home. 42% of gum consumers said their top reason for chewing gum was to feel relaxed, with 30% of gum occasions taking place whilst relaxing in the afternoon/evening (Kantar). This occasion most often occurs around common activities like watching TV, browsing the internet and socialising, and it is characterised by unwinding and taking a break. This is a significant emerging consumer trend and most commonly occurs at home either alone or with family, driving the growing occasion of in-home gum consumption.

More immediately, as we are all currently required to wear face masks in all retail outlets, consumers have highlighted the need for gum to help freshen breath underneath face masks. Research has indicated that as consumers wear masks more often, they are also chewing more gum than previously, ensuring that retailers should continue to meet demand throughout 2021.

Launched earlier in January, Mars Wrigley’s Extra ‘Get Your Ding Back’, is a brand-new multimedia campaign created to drive chewing gum consumption in home – with in-store activations coming soon. The campaign aims to drive category growth within Mints & Gum by sharing humorous insight on when and why consumers chew gum. The first piece of content focuses on in home dating as it’s a passion point for Next Gen, the biggest age group of chewers. Featuring a couple wearing animal slippers together in front of the TV, the first advert demonstrates how Extra Chewing Gum can bring back people’s confidence in any context.

As consumer behaviour evolves, new shoppers and new purchase occasions are emerging in the gum category; these include morning routine, chewing alone, work/study, leisure at home and freshening moments. Under-developed chewing opportunities in home include after eating/drinking, whilst working/studying and dating/styling up for next gen.

The short-term aim of Extra ‘Get Your Ding Back’ is to reignite confidence into people who may have lost it over the past year due to not going out or not socialising as much and help people to get their ‘ding’ back in 2021.

Following lockdown restrictions over the past year, two occasions have been identified as most valuable for gum: ‘9-5’ and ‘relaxing at home’. The campaign will continue to innovate to reflect the changes in key consumption occasions, with a view for on the go’ and ‘dating’ to be a future focus.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “Mondelez now offers its widest ever range of PMPs across its confectionery brands and formats, including Cadbury, Maynards Bassetts and Trebor. This helps these best-selling brands stand out on shelf with the convenience of clear on-pack pricing to help drive additional sales for wholesalers and their retail customers.”

The nation’s favourite chocolate (Nielsen), for example, is helping retailers drive sales in the singles category with the launch of the popular Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel bar in a new 60P PMP, available now.

More than a third of all bars in independent and symbol stores are Cadbury bars, and they sell at a rate of two per second in this channel (Nielsen), putting the brand in a prime position to deliver growth for the singles category with the new addition. Caramel is the best-selling Cadbury Dairy Milk flavour (Nielsen) – and the PMP format aims to build on this success.

Mondel?z has recently launched a brand-new fruit and nut snack brand, Cadbury Nuttier. The brand’s three flavours – Peanut & Almond, Cranberry, Peanut & Almond and Coconut & Almond – are available in single bars at an RRP of £1.19. Cadbury Nuttier contains a hit of indulgence from Cadbury alongside whole fruit & nuts, and is one of the first products within the ‘Healthier Bars’ segment to include milk chocolate. Elsewhere in confectionery, the Cadbury Twirl Orange single bar is back, but this time as a permanent addition to the much-loved Cadbury Twirl portfolio. The new product stems from the success of the limited-edition variant, which was the number one singles NPD of 2020 (Nielsen) and one of the fastest selling chocolate bars of the year (Nielsen).

In terms of promotions, Cadbury is joining forces with Merlin Entertainments once again for the return of the family-favourite promotion this summer. Each participating pack will offer a free standard ticket with every purchase of a full-priced adult ticket to a host of the UK’s top attractions. This cross-category promotion will run across selected Cadbury products for six months.

When it comes to sugar confectionery, Maynards Bassetts is tapping into the consumer trend towards authentic ingredients with the launch of new Fruit Smoothie Jellies. Each individual jelly sweet contains one of four flavour combinations: Mango & Passionfruit, Pineapple & Lemon, Banana & Strawberry and Pomegranate & Berry. The new sweets are the first NPD to be unveiled in Maynards Bassetts’ new look packaging, with a fresh and modern design which celebrates the brand’s heritage.

Trebor, the number one mint brand in the UK (Nielsen), marked 100 years on sale this year with an in-store promotion for its retail customers.

A Nestle spokesperson commented: “Whilst its evident that sales of chocolate singles have declined in the convenience channel as a result of shopping patterns impacted by the pandemic, we believe that the easing of lockdown along with engaging activity from manufacturers will boost singles sales once again.”

Activity such as Nestlé’s brand-new Win a Staycation on-pack promotion is designed to drive shopper interest in the category and boost singles sales within the channel. The promotion sees the single formats of big brands including KitKat, Aero and Yorkie, team up to offer consumers the chance to ‘win a staycation’ every day, plus 100s of days out, during the promotional period.

As well as capitalising on manufacturer activity, retailers can also boost their confectionery sales by ensuring they have merchandised the category effectively. According to Lumina, the most popular shopping missions for the chocolate category are Top-up (46%), Treat (18%), Meal Occasion (11%), Food-to-go (11%) and Newsagent (8%). Creating mission-led merchandising solutions in-store, such as locating the singles fixture adjacent to food-to-go, enables retailers to maximise the opportunity for shoppers to add confectionery to their baskets and therefore increase basket spend.

Premium chocolate sales are performing well, +7.4% (IRI), and growing ahead of the total confectionery market. This is being driven by +28% growth in premium chocolate blocks, an area now worth £186 million. Retailers can capitalise on this growing area by stocking up on key packs such as AERO Darker Milk, merchandise on-shelf towards the top of the fixture as this is where shoppers look to trade up, and also look for secondary siting opportunities alongside other categories associated with sharing and gifting such as cards, BWS and flowers.

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, said: ‘‘Typically known for its ingenious sweet inventions and countless favourites spanning over 90 years, Swizzels has entered the chocolate bar category for the first time in its history with the first ever Drumstick Chocolate Bar. This brand-new concept for Swizzels sees the unique and iconic flavour of the Drumstick Lolly, which has been a firm consumer favourite for more than 60 years, encased in milk chocolate.”

The chocolate bar is filled with a raspberry and milk fondant centre and real raspberry pieces, bringing the familiar Drumstick taste into the chocolate category.

Made with 100% recyclable packaging and with appeal across the generations, it has already generated a lot of attention for the category in its uniqueness with 2.7 million bars sold since launch, and is now adding a PMP variant. Research shows 44% of consumers are more likely to shop in a convenience store that stocks PMPs (HIM), and large chocolate blocks are in +25% growth (IRI).

Squashies continues to help grow the category and is now the number one sugar confectionery brand (IRI).

The brand will be at the forefront of Swizzels’ summer marketing activity this year. Set to be the company’s biggest ever Squashies summer campaign, the Squashathon will give shoppers the chance to win daily prizes throughout July and August by participating in various challenges across Swizzels’ social media channels. This is an attractive option to entice retailers looking to boost sales with well-known confectionery brands.

Swizzels’ variety range is also at the forefront of a huge on-pack summer marketing campaign this year including Loadsa, Bumper Bag, Lots of Lollies and Chew Crew. Shoppers will need to look out for one of five golden Love Hearts rolls hidden in promotional bags to be in with a chance of winning a VIP tour of the Swizzels factory.’

Gabriella Egleton, Brand Marketing Manager at Kervan Gida, comments: “Consumers now expect brands and retailers to care beyond revenue. It’s not as simple as churning out NPD and expecting it to be a roaring success with no regard for the brand, its values and how it’s perceived by the consumer.

“Consumers are more discerning than they once were. They are paying more attention to what they consume, and they demand transparency when it comes to product formulation and supply. They are looking for familiar products that they love, but most importantly brands they trust.”

Many brands within the confectionery sector are making sustainable improvements to their supply chains, and Kervan Gida is no different. Vegan approved options, palm oil free formulations and reduction of plastic packaging are just several examples of improvements the brand is making to meet consumer demand for more sustainable products.

The war on sugar also remains a hot topic of conversation. Protecting the health and interest of society is another consumer expectation, and the impacts of COVID-19 have only emphasised this.

In December 2020 the government published its response to the 2019 consultation on restricting promotions of a wide range of high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS) foods and drinks. By April 2022 the UK Government will implement strict guidelines on how HFSS content foods are advertised and sold in the UK, including in store promotions.

“Given the pressures, now more than ever, it’s crucial that brands within our sector are innovating and diversifying,” adds Egleton.

In response, Kervan Gida is focusing more on quality over quantity. Firstly, in line with the new legislation, the brand will be removing all multibuy and ‘extra free’ promotions on pack. Secondly, it is working hard to increase its healthier options range and is ramping up its brand awareness to build consumer trust.

Notably, low, and no sugar alternatives are also on the rise within the confectionery category. Kervan Gida already had a range of high fruit juice confectionery available, including Strawberry Twists, Fruit Snacks and Fruit Hearts. It is also currently developing a range of reduced sugar products.

“The sugar confectionery category continues to be driven by impulse and given impending restrictions, and consumer expectations, it’s no longer about who has the brightest packaging,” says Egleton. “Brands that invest in their ATL marketing activity are bound to resonate with consumers.”

That’s why Kervan Gida is launching a summer long ATL marketing campaign to promote its new range of Gummy sweets. It has taken its best-selling shapes and flavours and repacked them in a bigger, sharing bag format. The range includes Fizzy Watermelons, Strawberries, Big Mix and Big Fizzy Mix, available in 150g and 190g; all Halal certified, containing real fruit juice and no artificial colours.

The brand will reach over 2 million consumers via out-of-home advertising and a national television commercial, both due to launch later this year. It is also sending out 85,000 samples to students during freshers week and running multiple competitions and giveaways across social media.

Sharing bags, and price marked packs are further key drivers in the category and largely make up Kervan Gida’s bestselling lines.

“Wholesalers need to provide retailers with products that can be grouped by range, such as sharing occasions, impulse price-marked, and kids’ confectionery,” suggests Egleton. “Invest in brands with iconic packaging that highlight key on pack information. PMPs provide confidence in brands and help to increase basket spend. Stocking a selection of best-selling lines that complement one another and provide the consumer with choice is key.”

Kervan Gida has seen exponential growth in the last few years, and much to our delight, 2021 seems to be heading the same way. According to the Turkish Government reports, Kervan Gida’s share in export to the UK has increased from 48% (2020) to 63% for Q1 2021.

New additions to the Bebeto range also include a 750g Pick and Mix Party Pack, designed for sharing occasions. This bag of goodies offers the whole family a safe, fun way to enjoy Pick & Mix in the home. Given the current restrictions and concerns around traditional Pick and Mix stands, this new confectionery concept provides consumers with added play value in a safe, engaging format.

Each bag includes 10 x candy striped goodie bags, 10 x stickers, 1 x scoop, 750g of fruity gummy sweets and 30g of fluffy, soft marshmallows. It comes packaged in a handy re-sealable stand-up pouch bag. The sweet mix includes family favourites such as fried eggs, gummy worms and mini strawberry pencils.

“When it comes to merchandising, given all the challenges ahead, brands and retailers need to work together to be flexible and proactive,” advises Egleton. “In a crowded category, standing out on-shelf is a must. In the first instance, it’s the brand’s responsibility to create packaging that is iconic and highlights key on-pack information – we’ve really applied this notion to our forthcoming NDP.

“We love to keep connected and offer retailers as much knowledge about our brands as possible. We advise that adopting our recommendations on range and merchandising is key. Stocking a selection of our best-selling lines that complement one another and provides the consumer with choice, is the best way to help maximise sales.”

Claire James, Trade Marketing Manager, Haribo, comments: “Sweets, medium bags and price marked packs are key trends within the Symbols and Independents channel. All in growth within the confectionery category, they provide retailers with real sales opportunities.”

Showing ‘true’ growth, total confectionery reported a 0.7 per cent increase (IRI). Sweets outperformed this at +2.2 per cent and now account for 24.2 per cent of all confectionery sales within this channel (IRI). Within formats, medium bags have delivered growth to the channel, adding almost £14m of sales (IRI). Medium bags account for a 62.7 per cent share of sweets sales, which is an increase of 4.3 percentage points (IRI).

Playing an integral role in this success, Haribo is the largest manufacturer within the format of the medium bags, accounting for over 31 per cent of all sales (IRI).

“Despite the pandemic, we know that top-selling products from recognised brands boost sales within key categories, especially when they are offered in a price marked pack,” adds James. “Featured together, these create an attractive offer.”

Within the symbols and independents channel, the top 20 price marked bags sell five times as many bags as their non-price marked equivalents (IRI).

Jasdeep Ghag, Trade Marketing Executive at Perfetti Van Melle, comments: “Within traditional confectionery, sharing currently accounts for over £715m, the largest market share.”

PVM’s Fruittella sharing bags are growing 5.8% (IRI), driven by our core range of Juicy Chew and Duo Stix bags, and Chupa Chups Mini Lollipop bag, the second best-selling lollipop bags on the market, are growing 13.5% YOY (IRI).

“This increase is likely due to individually wrapped and portion-able sizes, two purchase drivers that grew exponentially last year,” says Ghag. “People also seeking new ways to enjoy their evenings indoors, especially during key seasonal times like Easter or Halloween, are likely to look to their favourite treats or snacks to deliver those familiar comforts at home.”

With the vegan market expected to soar to £1.1bn by 2023 (Mintel), and Veganuary welcoming its one millionth participant this year, the appetite for alternatives is not going anywhere, especially since over 650 new products were launched during Veganuary.

Those with specific dietary requirements are often seeking familiar treats and snacks and will find trusted brands such as Fruittella now playing in the vegan space with its Gelatine Free range, worth £1.4m (IRI).

As a result of consumers becoming increasingly health conscious, they’re looking for alternative products, even during celebratory occasions such as Mother’s Day and Easter. The Better For You (BFY) market is worth £26.5m and PVM remains the number one manufacturer, with a category share of over 27% (IRI).


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