Premiumisation is a trend that has been recognised across the confectionery industry with a number of chocolate launches having a more sophisticated, premium feel.

This continues the trend from 2018 where we saw the number of chocolate launches carrying a premium claim rising by 9% (Mintel).

“Quality is one of Mars Wrigley’s five founding principles and so we are well-placed to deliver premium products that offer something truly special, says Jo Sinisgalli, Senior Brand Manager for Gifting at Mars Wrigley UK. “We know that confectionery is a category where shoppers are willing to spend a little extra on premium products, particularly around gifting occasions such as birthdays, Easter and Christmas, which call for something extra special.”

Research shows that 42 per cent of consumers say they would pay more for a product they consider to be from a luxury brand while 31 per cent say they would pay more for a product in luxurious packaging (Mintel).

“These results give us an interesting perspective of the modern consumer’s mindset, with the look and feel of a product’s packaging almost as valuable as the brand when creating consumer willingness to pay more,” adds Sinisgalli. “We’ve therefore ensured that our new premium products offer luxurious and modern designs to add to the feeling of a special gift or luxury treat to be shared with loved ones.”

Of particular note, Maltesers’ premium format, Maltesers Truffles, is special enough to gift to family and friends. Maltesers Truffles were the #1 innovation in the market for Christmas 2018 bringing in new shoppers to the category, which in turn resulted in Maltesers Truffles being the #1 contributor to category growth during the 2018 Christmas period (Nielsen).

The brand extension into premium has and will continue to drive incremental growth to the category – with the Maltesers brand becoming the 3rd largest confectionery brand worth £211.5M CSV (Nielsen), with distribution gains coming from the brand’s continued NPD growth on Maltesers Buttons and Maltesers Truffles.

Further to this, Maltesers launched a new White variant of the popular Maltesers Truffles as a Limited-Edition NPD in 2019. White Maltesers Truffles were the #2 biggest innovation NPD in market at Christmas 2019, after Galaxy Truffles, and delivered £1.4m CSV (Nielsen).

Building on the success of Maltesers Truffles, Mars Wrigley has taken this premium format to the #2 chocolate brand in the UK – Galaxy. Galaxy Truffles are indulgent milk chocolate truffles which brought new shoppers into the category and was the #1 Innovation in Boxed for Christmas 2019 (Nielsen).

The individually foil wrapped Galaxy Truffles maintain the familiar rich and velvety centre. These indulgent treats will come encased in smooth Galaxy milk chocolate and will be housed within a premium packaged box. The packaging features a modern and vibrant design with both matte and metallic premium decoration.

Galaxy Wafer Curls were launched widely late last year, following an exclusive launch in 2018. Available in Chocolate Crème and Hazelnut Crème, the treat taps into the Premium Bitesize category and is a pioneering play in a category that has yet to gain significant scale.

“Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing to see our sales grow – driven largely by our new product innovation,” says Sinisgalli. “We’ve invested heavily in product innovation in recent years and are clear on what it takes to win, whether that is through new formats or new flavours.”

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director, Ferrero, comments: “During this period, we’ve also seen consumers experiment with our much-loved brands in new ways. As many turn to home baking, consumers are finding new ways to enjoy and experiment with our Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Bueno products, which have been at the heart of bringing the family together and helping shoppers get creative.”

Even during these uncertain times, consumers are demanding premium products that meet their high standards and which provide those little moments of enjoyment.

“An unwavering focus on quality is at the heart of the Ferrero business; it is what our brands are most recognised for and informs all of our product innovations – as demonstrated by the revitalisation of our Thorntons Classic line up last year,” adds Boorer.

The update champions Thorntons’ long heritage in crafting premium and high-quality chocolates, and offers an improved assortment that represents the UK’s most-loved flavours, including the introduction of three new chocolates, with three different sizes to suit at-home occasions that can cater to households of all sizes.

“Shoppers trust and recognise well-known brands for their quality, so stocking a core range with relevance all year round should be the focus to help retailers find the products their shoppers want,” Boorer suggests. Within sugar confectionery, the three biggest flavours that consumers are looking for are mint, fruits and extra-strong mint. The Tic Tac core range (Lime & Orange, Strawberry Fields, Fruit Adventure, Intense Mint and Fresh Mint) includes products that suit each of those needs, catering for different shoppers’ tastes.

Fresh Mint flavour is arguably what Tic Tac is most recognised for, and the ever-present product has been joined by Intense Mint as part of the core range. Both of these products recognise the growing demand for mint products, and are available as T1 and T100 packs.

“The sugar confectionery category is generally very impulsive, so product availability is therefore key, with prominent spaces and POS units helping to capture attention and consideration,” Boorer continues. “Now, more than ever, shoppers have a functional approach to their visits, and have a clear idea of the products they need before entering the store. By having leading sugar confectionery products available in store, retailers can enable shoppers to pick up something extra that can give them a little treat to enjoy later.”

Ferrero is launching limited edition Tic Tac Coca-Cola. This special edition will be available in the next few months in more than 70 countries all around the world.

The introduction of this exclusive limited edition is supported by a 360° global integrated communications plan.

Tic Tac Coca-Cola will be available to retailers across the UK throughout summer 2020, across all channels.

“Confectionery is one of biggest food and drink categories in convenience and therefore in wholesale too,” says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International. Throughout these difficult times, shoppers are continuing to stock up on snacks and treats, using brand names as a signifier for quality, making Mondelez core brands, such as Cadbury, key players.”

Consumers are depending more on convenience stores for top up items, with the snacking occasion in growth, often purchasing a snack along with their essential shop (HIM). Mondelez is ensuring supply continues to accommodate this and to help retailers and wholesalers continue meeting shopper needs.

Last year, Maynards Bassetts brand developed the Wine Gums recipe to offer a new 30% Less Sugar variant. The less-sugar Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums – just like the rest of the core range – are made with natural colours. With approximately 19g less sugar per 100g, the new recipe allows consumers to enjoy a less-sugar treat from the Wine Gums brand.

The Trebor brand has also recently introduced the first sugar-free variety of its Extra Strong range. Sugar-free Trebor Extra Strong Minis are available now to help wholesalers drive sales in this impulsive category with a sugar-free option.

Mark Roberts, Trade Marketing Manager at Perfetti Van Melle, comments: “The total sugar confectionery market is worth £1.35bn and within this Perfetti van Melle (PVM) is worth over £65m, this is driven primarily by our Mentos and Fruittella brands, worth <£23m and <£20m respectively. At the heart of the impulse occasion, confectionery remains in the top purchases within the independent channel, so at PVM, we’re in a prime position to respond.”

“We’re trend driven and we always have been,” continues Roberts. “We know consumers want choice, they want to walk into a store and have the decision made easy for them when they’re looking for a sweet treat. With confectionery being such an impulse buy, offering a breadth of flavours and formats really works in our favour. We’re performing well, especially in convenience (up 6.4%), so not only are we providing excitement to shoppers but there’s real incentive for retailers to stock our brands and ranges.”

Bags are growing at +4.2%, adding £29m to the category. PVM sharing is growing ahead of the market at 6.1% (IRI). Sales of multipacks are up 0.4%, with Fruittella multipacks growing 5.4% (IRI). Undoubtedly the current situation has affected the way people are shopping the category. Singles are having a tough time declining -6.3% total market (IRI) and have been heavily impacted by lockdown restrictions.

“With fewer people impulse shopping as they are moving about less and switching to weekly shops, often buying for a household rather than just themselves, it’s a time we can concentrate on raising average basket spends, and driving new shoppers to the category,” Roberts suggests.

Trusted brands are in a strong position to recruit new interest, as they are instantly recognisable on shelf, and appeal to or remind people of their favourite childhood treats. There are more at-home snacking occasions now, and sharing opportunities such as family movie nights, snacks to graze on whilst working from home, and of course an appetite from parents wanting to provide healthy or healthier snacking options for their children.

“Today’s consumer is the most health conscious we’ve ever seen and there’s a responsibility for brands to keep up,” adds Roberts. “They aren’t going to compromise when it comes to health credentials so if you don’t offer reduced and sugar free confectionery products, you’ll lose out on sales.”

The Better for You market is worth over £42m and PVM is leading the way as the number one manufacturer in the UK with over 30% market share (IRI).

“We expect BFY confectionery to continue growing over the summer period, especially as consumers are more likely to indulge more or crave a sweet comforting treat during this unprecedented time,” predicts Roberts. “Confectionery is a conscious treat spend, so we cannot expect shoppers to sacrifice quality when looking to reduce sugar, if we can provide taste enjoyment that delivers every time, we’re building our brand loyalty and ultimately encouraging repeat purchases.”

PVM’s latest BFY innovation, Chupa Chups Good For You, is a sugar free smaller format lollipop made with natural sweeteners and no artificial colourants. Aimed at those who want to both treat themselves, friends or family and reduce sugar where possible, the lollipops also contain added Fibre and Vitamin C to support immune function. Sharing formats are popular currently and this 12-lollipop bag looks to build on the success of Chupa Chups sharing bags which are growing at +10%.

Innovation is what will keep shoppers engaged with confectionery brands. “Our range provides a wide variety of mouthfeels and textures, from chews to jellies and foams, so shoppers are spoilt for choice when selecting which sweet suits their occasion, mood or need the best,” says Roberts. “We see that taste and product experience remain the key driver of awareness and penetration for the confectionery category, so we cannot ignore this.”

Exciting and adventurous flavours will drive momentum for confectionery sales, as well as inject excitement into the category. For instance, the trend for ‘sour’ flavour profiles is still booming –the combination of sweet and sour flavours keeps consumers chasing the sensation – the market is currently worth £50m with growth of +21% in the last two years and there is a big opportunity to drive this further. PVM is currently innovating within the sour sphere with Chupa Chups Sour Infernals.

The vegetarian and vegan market is also growing as part of health agenda. Demand for products made without gelatine is increasing and explicit branding to help consumers and shoppers make easy switches is key. PVM has responded to this with the launch of Fruittella Koalas and Sour Snakes, which feature the Vegan Approved stamp from the Vegetarian Society.

Swizzels is the largest British-owned sugar confectionery manufacturer in the UK and is responsible for brands including Drumstick, Refresher, Love Hearts and Squashies.

The Derbyshire based business continues to perform well in the confectionery market, growing faster than the category over the last two years (IRI).

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, said: ‘‘Providing a sugar confectionery offering that includes both value-for-money products as well as breadth of choice is key for wholesalers looking to catch the eyes of retailers. Swizzels offers a range of sugar confectionery which caters to growing consumer trends as well as changing dietary needs, making them a must-stock.”

Hanging bags are performing extremely well in the sugar confectionery category and now account for 50% of total sugar confectionery sales (IRI).

Swizzels newest addition to its hanging bag range is Great British Puds, invented by an avid Swizzels fan who won the chance to have her very own sweet brought to life through the company’s 90th anniversary Sweetest Invention competition. Great British Puds includes four individually wrapped chew bars in classic British dessert flavours; Sticky Toffee Pudding, Rhubarb Crumble, Apple Pie & Custard and Lemon Meringue. Swizzels will be raising awareness of Great British Puds with a TV advertising campaign running in July and August.

Squashies is now the number one hanging bag brand in sugar confectionery (IRI). In the latest data, 80% of Swizzels Squashies that are sold in symbols and independents are PMPs (IRI), which highlights that convenience shoppers are attracted to this value-for-money, best-selling product, making it an attractive option for retailers to stock.

Squashies will be the focus of Swizzels’ 2020 summer campaign activity. The sweet manufacturer will be running a consumer competition across radio and digital channels encouraging the public to share their inventive summer activities with Squashies, raising product awareness.

Claire James, Trade Marketing Manager, HARIBO UK, comments: “As the UK’s number one sweets manufacturer, which is bought by over 2.1m more households than its nearest competitor, HARIBO has a long-standing history of making quality products that have become market-leading treats. It offers a range of top sellers that should be core to store.”

HARIBO Tangfastics and Starmix, are the top two selling packs in the market (IRI). Starmix features five pieces – the egg, heart, ring, cola bottle and bear, while Tangfastics also boasts a selection of fun shapes. The softer sweets found in HARIBO Supermix make it the market’s fourth best seller. Sales of Giant Strawbs, HARIBO’s best-selling vegetarian treat, continue to grow faster than any other sweet treat within the market (IRI).

For MAOAM, the fastest growing chewy sweets brand this year (IRI), Stripes and Pinballs help to deliver a range of family-favourite treats.

“The most important pack format in the sweets category is the medium bag, products that typically sell for £1,” says James.

They account for almost 60 per cent of sales, with growth of over £13m in the last 52 weeks (IRI).

“The pack format works for retailers because it is easy to merchandise,” adds James. “The format appeals to shoppers because it offers great value in a convenient format.”

In the latest data, confectionery in the convenience channel is performing well, with sales up 3.1 per cent year to date (IRI). Sweets are performing significantly ahead of this, with sales up 7.1 per cent (IRI). Leading this growth are medium bags of sweets, which show an increase in sales of almost £5m already this year (IRI).

Strawberry flavour, vegetarian offering, sugar reduced and softer eating treats continue to be key trends.

For HARIBO, this is evidenced through the increasing popularity of its top-selling vegetarian treat, Giant Strawbs. Delivering an intense strawberry flavour and unique texture, sales are growing quicker than for any other sweet within the category (IRI).

Softer eating confectionery is also proving popular. In the last 52 weeks, HARIBO Squidglets has sold more than any other medium bagged sweet launched in the last two years (IRI).

Meanwhile, within the symbols & independents Channel, Fruitilicious sells more than four times all other reduced sugar lines combined (IRI), and with sales of more than £3m, HARIBO Fruitilicious is the best-selling reduced sugar medium bag in the UK (IRI).

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