Halloween falls on a Saturday this year and is straight after payday, so it has the potential to be big.

If Trick or Treating is reduced, parents will inevitably buy more products for Halloween parties at home to mark the occasion with a ‘social distancing’ approach.

In 2019 72% of households bought Halloween Confectionery however it may be quite different this year. It will very much depend on whether the Government advises not to do any Trick or Treating in order to protect those residents who are most at risk of covid-19.

Gatherings over a certain size are likely to still be restricted, making Halloween parties unlikely, however small gatherings of closest family and friends may still go ahead.

Three times more households hosted a Halloween party in 2019 versus 2018, so the whole concept of Halloween is a growing trend. Alongside that, during the pandemic sharing blocks of chocolate and candy bags have become increasingly popular.

“On top of that chocolate gift products had double digit growth over Mother’s Day and Easter and so there could be more of this during other seasons this year as people give products to loved ones,” says Kenton Burchell, Trading Director, Bestway Wholesale.

To meet consumer demand, Bestway is stocking treat size and sharing products for people at home and at Halloween parties as well as a selection of branded Halloween products for trick or treaters.

“Halloween is a great occasion to drive basket spend and incremental sales for retailers,” adds Burchell. “For retailers this can be done by building some great in store displays that will excite shoppers and drive impulse sales.”

Bestway has dialled up the season in depot and online. To help customers through this period the digital team has developed a pre-sell webpage for retailers to place their own Halloween orders as we are unable to collect retailer pre-sells in the traditional way. This webpage also provides range and display recommendations to retailers.

Expanding ranges into the £1 price bracket such as the Cadbury Dairy Milk Miniature Oreo Chocolate Egg Bag fits well the growing consumer demand for sharing products, and also attracts younger shoppers which are increasingly in convenience shops.

Delivering a Halloween recipe for sell-through, Haribo’s core ingredients focus on variety, volume and value with a range that’s wrapped and portion controlled for the season.

As the UK’s leading sweet manufacturer and the number one sweets brand at Halloween (IRI), Haribo’s 2020 range – alongside Maoam, which offers the number one top-selling SKU – brings together all year round family favourites, with a selection of themed bags that have become staple seasonal products.

Returning for a second year is the Haribo and Maoam Duo Pack. This big value sharing bag combines top selling gums and jellies with the category’s leading fruity chews, bringing Haribo and Maoam together in one bag for the very first time.

Claire James, Haribo Trade Marketing Manager comments: “Building on its runaway popularity last year our Duo Pack delivers just what retailers and shoppers are looking for in a format that’s safe, hygienic and convenient.”

Containing 32 treats, the Duo Pack is made up of mini bags and individually wrapped chews, including Haribo Starmix, Tangfastics, Supermix and Giant Strawbs Gone Mini, alongside Maoam Stripes, Pinballs and Joystixx.

Also perfect for retailers who do not want to risk being left with themed stock after the event are Tangfastics Minis, which contain 11 mini bags, and Starmix Minis, which are available in packs containing a choice of 11 or 22 mini bags.

James continues: “All year round treats are a popular choice, but 2020 will not be the end of novelty. Let’s face it, this is definitely the year for some much-needed fun! So, we will be returning our seasonal staples to stores with Haribo Trick or Treat multipacks, TangfasTricks and Scaremix, which are all equally important products within our Halloween range.”

Featuring a selection of themed gums and jellies, Haribo Trick or Treat multipacks contain either 10 or 32 pre-portioned bags. Haribo’s seasonal twist for Starmix and Tangfastics, Scaremix and TangfasTricks, deliver the iconic pieces found in each bag but in frightful colours and spooky flavours!

“Each product within our range will be an important addition to the seasonal aisle. This year these fixtures, whether physically instore or online, must act as beacons with fun and themed theatre creating a clear destination for shoppers. This can also be enhanced through online activity that drives awareness and builds excitement and in turn sales,” adds James.

“When supporting seasonal occasions, it is important to have the right range in store at the right time. Products that feature up to one month in advance support planned purchases, which we expect to see more of this year, with fewer last-minute gatherings in favour of highly planned activities that are spooky, yet safe at the same time!”

Halloween is a rapidly growing season in the UK and has quickly become the third biggest retail event of the year behind Christmas and Easter (Nielsen).

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has and will continue to see a behavioural impact from consumers following this period of lockdown and social distancing and this is expected to impact Halloween celebrations and activities this year. With the current circumstances remaining unpredictable, it is important for retailers to adapt and evolve to suit new consumer demand.

“With this in mind, we know that confectionery plays a key role in many Halloween celebrations and we’re seeing it play an ever-important role in providing little moments of joy and pleasure for consumers across the world during this challenging time,” comments Chloe Smith, Celebrate Senior Brand Manager, Mars Wrigley UK. “Retailers can tap into this moment and unlock cross category opportunities for retailers this Halloween to boost sales during essential shops in line with government advice.”

Mars Wrigley’s research found consumers still want to celebrate Halloween with family, friends and neighbours in a safe way through scary movie nights, virtual parties and activities at home.

Given these unprecedented times, Mars Wrigley UK is looking to tap into occasions like Big Night in and sharing at home which will be more prevalent this Halloween.

One way Mars Wrigley UK will be supporting retailers this Halloween is through a limited range of Fun Size packs focusing on its bestsellers.

Fun Size products are a relevant format during Halloween due to their shareability, which saw the format generate £27m in value sales last season alone (Nielsen). Perfect to share with friends and family during an in-home Halloween party or virtual celebration, Mars Wrigley UK has six of the Top 10 Fun Size SKUs across its blockbuster brands including Mars, Skittles, Maltesers, Twix and Milky Way as well as its Fun Size variety packs (Nielsen).

Last year, Mars Wrigley UK announced that, following the international success of M&M’S Block in the US and Australia, it was bringing four M&M’S Block variants to the UK market – Chocolate, Crispy, Hazelnut and Peanut. Considered the brand’s biggest launch in a decade, the four M&M’S Block variants contain mini M&M’S alongside pieces of peanut, hazelnut or crispy which are encased in milk chocolate.

Mars Wrigley UK has also been exploring further sharing formats for the MALTESERS brand, such as the launch of Maltesers Buttons – which generated £19.26M in value sales (Nielsen). Following the nationwide success of Maltesers Buttons, Mars Wrigley UK introduced the UK’s first ever flavoured MALTESERS product – Mint Maltesers Buttons.

Away from our much-loved chocolate brands, Mars Wrigley UK is bringing back Skittles Sweet Heat which is on track for a third year of growth (Nielsen). As the fastest growing brand in the category, at +9.2% growth, Skittles Sweet Heat is the perfect fit for Halloween (Nielsen).

Alongside its new products, Mars Wrigley sees a spike at Halloween in Large Sharing bags, generating £12m in value sales (Nielsen) last season driven by consumers looking for the perfect treat to enjoy while watching a scary movie.

Mars Wrigley UK’s core More to Share range across our top brands saw the biggest spike in sales last year compared to the past three years, generating £6m in value sales (Nielsen).

“With this in mind, alongside the growth of the Big Night In trend in recent months, retailers should look to push core Mars Wrigley UK brands, such as Maltesers, M&M’S, Starbursts and Skittles with a focus on the More to Share pouches,” adds Smith. “With bitesize the fastest growing segment in chocolate, and sharing packs the second biggest segment during Halloween, we expect these products to continue to be a key trend as they offer an easy-to-share confectionery experience – with these favourite treats doing the trick for consumers across the country.“

Mark Roberts, Trade Marketing Manager at Perfetti Van Melle, comments: “Many of our best-loved products come in multi-pack formats including Chupa Chups, perfect for sharing as we see more focus and instore space dedicated to wrapped candy, especially in sharing formats going forward.”

Bags are growing at +4.3% MAT adding £29m to the category, and 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).

“Portion packs and lollipop formats cannot be overlooked; portion packs are also key this time of year, over indexing in the lead up to Halloween & Bonfire Night,” adds Roberts. “With hygiene and sanitation becoming increasingly important to shoppers, our range of lollipop bags and party bags are the perfect solution to distribute at parties and trick or treating.”

Wrapped bags are key. Data shows wrapped bags are worth £5.3m over the 4 weeks of Halloween and growing 32% vs. the previous period – its highest share of the year (IRI). “They outperform unwrapped bags already and this is only likely to grow as shoppers move away from ‘naked candy’ to wrapped confectionery, as hygiene becomes more important and ultimately changes shopper habits,” says Roberts.

Sharing bags stock should be increased. Sharing now accounts for 53.4% of the general confectionery market, with value sales up +4.1%, highlighting the importance that formats such as bags and boxes now play, which will be magnified around Halloween and Bonfire Night as they’re ideal for the occasion.

“Halloween has evolved in recent years, Roberts comments. “What used to mean a bag full of apples and unbranded boiled sweets, is now an opportunity for confectionery companies to introduce new flavours and formats and show how far they can go with innovation.”

2020 will undoubtedly be different for both Halloween and Bonfire Night. “Although we don’t know what restrictions will be in place yet, we can be certain people will be more cautious especially around occasions such as trick or treating,” adds Roberts. “For confectionery this doesn’t need to be an issue, there are plenty of individually wrapped sweets that can serve these occasions without posing risks.”

With Halloween also falling on a Saturday this year, there is also evidence to suggest that after many months of lockdown, it could be something people really look forward to celebrating. “Whether it takes place at home within family bubbles, or as larger socially distanced parties, we’re sure there’s going to be an appetite for it,” says Roberts.

We’ve seen other important occasions celebrated with gusto in new and original ways by the British public including everything from VE Day, to Eid and Super Saturday. Social media is also a big driver, with many sharing their creative decorations and ideas for celebrations inspiring others to get involved, where they may not have had the time or inclination before.

“Consumers recognise Halloween and Bonfire Night as an occasion that normally requires a shop visit, their purchases are planned and intentional, there is a need to stock up for trick or treat visits, entertaining at home and gifting,” Roberts comments. “Shoppers looking for these goodies are more likely to choose a brand already firmly in their repertoire, that they know and love. Here, PVM’s reputation as a tasty, trusted brand and our vast portfolio can really come into its own.”

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, said: “Halloween is the biggest calendar event for sugar confectionery, and Bonfire Night is also hugely important, so it’s essential to stock a range of best-selling, well known brands to entice retailers.”

Swizzels sees its share of sugar confectionery double at Halloween compared to the rest of year and it expects this trend to continue in 2020.

The company recently conducted some research to understand how consumers feel about celebrating Halloween this year, which confirms consumers will indeed be celebrating, despite the current concerns around the Covid outbreak.

Swizzels want to ensure that Halloween is not only bigger and better for 2020 but can be celebrated safely while being socially responsible. 76% of people intend to purchase sweets or chocolate for the festivities, compared to 78% of people last year (Opinium).

In addition, 39% of people intend to either host a Halloween party or attend somebody else’s, up from 35% last year (Opinium), so ensuring the shelves are well stocked with confectionery is still as key for Halloween 2020 as previous years to meet consumer demand.

Swizzels has a large range of products suitable for Halloween and Bonfire Night, featuring well-known brands such as Drumsticks, Love Hearts, Double Lollies and Refreshers, which offer great value for money and are perfect for sharing.

Swizzels’ Trick or Sweet bag contains a selection of Swizzels favourites such as Double Lollies, Parma Violets, Refresher Bars, Love Hearts, as well as the Sour Apple Refreshers chew bar – making it a must stock for retailers to satisfy demand for shoppers seeking variety. The Halloween themed packaging makes for a great eye-catching treat to hand out at parties and to trick or treaters. It will also grab the attention of shoppers as they browse, making it an attractive product to retailers.

The Loadsa hanging bags range includes Sweets, Lollies and Chews varieties. These bags contain a selection of well-loved, individually wrapped sweets and lollies with something for everyone. Variety packs are a key part of the Halloween mix and account for 11% (IRI) of total sugar confectionery sales over the season, so they are important for boosting sales. The non-seasonal packaging also ensures retailers can continue to sell any surplus stock after Halloween, into Bonfire Night and beyond, making it an attractive range to stock.

The Loadsa range is also available in added value packs.

Another non-seasonal product from Swizzels that is perfect for selling over the Halloween period and beyond is the Sweet Treats tub. One of Swizzels’ most popular products for sharing occasions, the tub contains a variety of individually-wrapped favourites including Love Hearts, Parma Violets and Refreshers, meaning there’s something for everyone, making it a guaranteed seller and a must-stock.

Swizzels will be running a consumer campaign in the lead up to Halloween to encourage shoppers to buy their sharing products and get prepared for the festivities.” ‘

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