Easter is an incredibly popular time for the confectionery category, enough so that this period drives 30% of the category’s total sales across the season.

And while novelty self-eat treats are a firm favourite, 50% of shoppers consume small sharing self-treats, regardless of sharing format.

Small sharing and novelty confectionery make up as much as 40% of early Easter sales.

“Seasonal products can encourage permissible and impulsive treats, creating an opportunity that retailers won’t want to miss, comments Sophia Padt, Senior Brand manager for Easter.

This year, Mars Wrigley will be focussing on its two biggest Easter brands – Maltesers and Galaxy – to help drive sales and boost category growth in the lead up to Easter 2022.

“Maltesers Bunny is the UK’s most successful chocolate product in the novelty shapes category in both value share and sales,” adds Padt. “We feel this product is the sign-post of the season, officially signalling consumers that Easter is coming.”

Last year, Maltesers Bunny value sales grew by 53.6%, driven by sales of the classics as well as NPD in the category.

Customer favourites from last year, including the Maltesers Orange Bunny, will be back by popular demand. Since 2019, sales of orange chocolate have grown by 59%.

“Mars Wrigley continues to listen to consumers and create products that retailers will profit from,” says Padt.

White Maltesers continue to be one of the most sought-after SKUs from Mars Wrigley, with consumers constantly requesting the product on social media.

The Maltesers bunny national campaign is returning this season, offering shoppers the chance to ‘find the bunny and win the money’ – with chance to win £25,000.

“This impactful campaign helps drive foot traffic to the shops and in turn drives sales,” comments Padt. “This is a fun campaign that is designed to engage with consumers whilst supporting our retailers with in-store theatre around this important sales period.”

Luxury rose gold Galaxy Enchanted Eggs and Galaxy Caramel Mini Eggs are returning this year. Consumers enjoyed these variations last year, as they premiumised their egg hunt treats and Easter baking, creating show-stopping desserts.

New to the shelves will be Mars Wrigley UK’s Galaxy Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs, a foil wrapped indulgent treat, perfect for the egg hunt ritual. The Creamy Truffle will be available market wide. These mini treats are targeted to older consumers seeking luxurious treats.

“Easter is a prime time for gifting with truffles being a must-stock for retailers looking to upsell consumers,” adds Padt. “For two consecutive years, Mars Wrigley has launched the number one NPD in the boxed confectionery market with the Maltesers Truffles and Galaxy Truffles.”

Building on the success of Maltesers Truffles, this premium format was taken to the number two chocolate brand in the UK. Similar to this, the indulgent milk chocolate Galaxy Truffles come encased in smooth Galaxy milk chocolate and are housed in a premium packaged box.

Mars Wrigley elevated this consumer-favourite even further in 2020 to capitalise from the 22% growth in the caramel confectionery category, adding a layer of smooth caramel to the truffle centre for the Galaxy Caramel Truffles.

Galaxy has further demonstrated its ability to solidify itself within the premium category, with an 87% purchasing intent. The new Galaxy Fusions are set to satisfy those seeking smooth and intense high-quality chocolates. With three distinctive flavour combinations, Raspberry Meringue, 70% Cocoa, and Sea Salt, Galaxy. Fusions are designed to appeal to a younger demographic looking for a chocolate experience.

Gifting Easter eggs is the largest and most traditional ritual of Easter. This year will see the return of the Maltesers Truffles Luxury Egg, a top 10 NPD for 2019, alongside the Galaxy Truffles Luxury Egg, both of which will be available at an RRP of £11.99.

2022 will also see the return of Mars Wrigley’s most popular large eggs – the Galaxy Enchanted Large Egg which includes bags of rose gold mini eggs, available at RRP of £5.29.

The Mars Wrigley 2022 gifting range will also see continued packaging reduction, as part of the business’s wider sustainability commitments. Mars Wrigley will reduce plastic by 95% on its Maltesers and Galaxy Luxury truffles eggs.

In 2020 the packaging of Large eggs accounted for 300 tonnes of plastic removed. Closely following this the XL and Giant Eggs saw a total of 86 tonnes of plastic eliminated in 2021.

Maltesers is one of the UK’s most popular chocolate brands, so Mars Wrigley UK is bringing back the Maltesers Easter Hunt Mix, and Galaxy Easter Hunt Mix. Both packs will offer consumers a variety of plentiful fun treats to go around – whether used for egg hunts or seasonal centrepieces. The two Easter Hunt Mix pouches are available at RRP £6.99.

Since last year, many consumers have become more familiar with their kitchens, which made home baking even more popular in the UK. 30% of consumers are cooking or baking more than they did before lockdown and Easter often calls for baked goods.

“Consumers can use a number of Mars Wrigley’s Easter products to create delicious bakes,” says Padt. “By identifying every occasion that consumers can use Mars Wrigley’s products such as Galaxy Enchanted Eggs and Maltesers Mini Bunnies, retailers can increase overall basket spend. As consumers share their Easter creations on social media, others will be inclined to head to their local convenience store and purchase these products to bake similar treats.”

Easter sales grew 11% last year in Independent and Symbol stores, with more consumers shopping locally.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “This season, Mondelez International is proud to be the number one manufacturer once more during this egg-citing time, helping wholesalers and retailers cater for the surge in seasonal shoppers with new launches as well as returning favourites. Purchasing a brand they recognise is the most important factor for a shopper at Easter, making the nation’s favourite chocolate Cadbury, Cadbury Creme Egg and Cadbury Mini Eggs a crucial part of a retailer’s line-up.”

Timing is particularly important this year with Easter falling two weeks later in 2022, meaning there is a real opportunity to grow sales over the longer season. However, over half of Easter confectionery is consumed before Easter, showing just how important it is to capture consumers right at the beginning of the season to drive spend and impulsivity.

“To make the most of the season, retailers should split Easter into three phases: getting off to a quick start, building momentum, and then gearing up for a ‘gifting finish’ as the festive period reaches its finale,” suggests Nash. The first of these phases, ‘fast start’, runs from January until Valentine’s Day.

“The ‘fast start’ phase focuses on shoppers looking for small treats for themselves, such as Cadbury Crème Egg and Cadbury Mini Eggs,” says Nash. “With around three quarters of shoppers who purchase Easter confectionery early intending to buy again, it’s important to have the products they’re looking for to meet these consumers’ shopping expectations.”

Joining the Cadbury family this year is the Cadbury Dairy Milk Hot Cross Bun Bar. The new cinnamon crunch flavoured bar is set to become a staple flavour of Easter, tapping into a much-loved Easter ritual of sharing hot cross buns. Tablets are the heartland for the Cadbury brand, so this addition to the novelties range is sure to be a hit in-store. The new 110g bar will be available in cases of 18 at an RRP of £1.40.

Cadbury Creme Egg is the number one brand at Easter, with three Cadbury Creme Eggs sold every second during the season.

Two out of three people buy Cadbury Creme Eggs for non-Easter related consumption, showing the importance of stocking up on the product early and highlighting its prominence in the range.

Cadbury Creme Egg will also appear in a new promotion this season, with the beloved egg half-covered in white chocolate. The strapline ‘How do you NOT eat yours?’ will span across POS in-store relating to highlight the promotion to consumers. When a shopper wins, so too does the store with an opportunity for retailers to win Amazon vouchers of up to £1000.

Cadbury Mini Eggs is also a staple of Easter, with the 80g bag being the number one selling product across all Easter SKUs in 2021.

Launched last year, the Cadbury Mini Eggs Tablet was the number one NPD, turning one of the nation’s favourite Easter brands into a popular snacking format.

Helen Bailor, Shopper Marketing Manager at Nestle Confectionery, comments: “Nestlé Confectionery’s spring 2022 range is designed to built on its winning formula of big brands delivered across best-selling formats. This formula, alongside the market’s recovery following Easter 2020 which was spent in lockdown, led the manufacturer to grow its Easter confectionery sales ahead of the market in 2021, up 14.7%.”

Headlining the 2022 spring range is the much-loved KitKat Bunny. Launched in 2020, KitKat Bunny quickly became the No.2 impulse novelty on the market and retained that position during Easter 2021 as consumers fell in love with this cute chocolate bar ideal for occasions ranging from indulgent treating, baking and egg hunts to Easter gifting.

Each KitKat Bunny bar is moulded into the shape of a cute bunny and consists of a rich chocolatey centre filled with crispy wafer pieces, all encased in a smooth milk chocolate shell. It will once again be available in multiple formats including the KitKat Bunny impulse bar (RRP 65p), KitKat Bunny Mini Bunnies sharing bag containing six individually wrapped bunnies (RRP £1.00), KitKat Bunny x5 multipack, which performed particularly well in 2021 with sales +31% (RRP £3.00) and a KitKat Bunny Giant Easter egg complete with a KitKat Bunny impulse bar and Mini Bunnies bag inside (RRP £7.49).

Last Easter Milkybar (the No.1 white chocolate brand) launched a brand-new seasonal product – Milkybar Bunny – a lovable white chocolate foil-wrapped bunny character. Returning to the range in 2022, it is once again available in two sizes to meet different shopper needs: impulse 17g (RRP 65p) and novelty 88g (RRP £2.49). With a gap in the novelties category for a white chocolate product, Milkybar Bunny is set to continue to attract new shoppers and generate incremental sales.

Also, back by popular demand is the Smarties Bunnies range, which includes three fun characters, each one a different colour: Cool (blue), Cute (pink) and Smart (green). Each bunny comprises a chocolate shell with mini Smarties inside. They are available in two sizes: impulse 18.5g (RRP 65p) and novelty 94g (RRP £2.49) which is an ideal ‘thinking of you’ gift. Both Milkybar and Smarties are big brands shoppers know and trust and these cute characters are certain to capture shoppers’ attention in store.

This year the Mini Eggs category will benefit from a brand-new launch from After Eight. New After Eight Mint Chocolate Foiled Mini Eggs (RRP £1.00) are dark chocolate eggs filled with the After Eight centre, offering something totally different to the mini eggs market. Also in the range are the popular foil-wrapped KitKat Mini Eggs (RRP £1.00) which have a milk chocolate shell filled with a rich chocolatey centre and crunchy wafer pieces. Mini eggs are purchased for multiple occasions and make great solutions for self-consumption, sharing, egg hunts or creating baking masterpieces.

Completing the 2022 Mini Eggs range are the popular Milkybar Mini Eggs, Aero Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs, Smarties Mini Eggs and Orange Smarties Mini Eggs pouches (all RRP £1.00). This year Smarties mini eggs will be in fully recyclable paper bags for the first time, using paper from responsible sources. This commitment is expected to remove four tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste.

Ideal for sharing with friends and family this spring, new Quality Street Spring Edition pouch (RRP £4.99) comes complete with an additional sweet – the Lemon Zing.

The 2022 Nestlé range is once again packed with gift-worthy eggs for all recipients and includes a brand-new Incredible Egg from KitKat. The KitKat Chunky Salted Caramel Popcorn Incredible Egg (RRP £12.00) consists of a milk chocolate shell egg with salted caramel flavour and popcorn inclusions, alongside three KitKat Chunky Salted Caramel Popcorn bars. The bars have been a hit with consumers since their launch in July 2021. Caramel is the most popular milk chocolate variant in the UK, purchased by 64% of all UK households. Meanwhile, penetration of salted caramel has trebled in the last four years, and one in four shoppers have now tried a salted caramel product.

Nestle’s range of large, giant and Incredible Easter eggs have been redesigned for 2022. The eye-catching new designs drive strong differentiation between the pack sizes and are certain to capture shoppers’ attention in-store. Each showcases the vibrant colours of Nestlé’s range of much-loved brands, with large eggs from brands including KitKat, Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Smarties (all RRP £5.41) and giant eggs including Yorkie, Aero, Quality Street and more (all RRP £7.49). These big brands are important as they have the mass appeal shoppers look for as they want to know they are buying the recipient a gift they will love.

Seasonal occasions provide a platform on which to create magical brand experiences. Spring confectionery is also highly incremental to all-year-round confectionery. There is a strong opportunity for brands and retailers to drive growth in 2022, by ensuring the right brands are available in the right formats at the right time for the shopper. The early season remains key, with 80% of shoppers who buy in the early season returning to buy again.

Chris Smith, Marketing Communications Manager at Hancocks, comments: “Following years of lockdowns, we are expecting to see consumers planning family gatherings and events for their Easter 2022 celebrations. Customers are also much more likely to shop locally, in stores for their Easter treats. This indicates that Easter confectionery should be well stocked in local retailers and convenience stores in order to fill customer demand for tasty easter themed treats.”

Hancocks’ colourful pick and mix range always performs well over the Easter period. Top sellers from Kingsway include Happy Flowers and Bunnies, gummy sweets which are sure to be in demand among young customers.

Other tasty Easter-themed treats from Hancocks’ pick & mix range include Butterflies, Glisten Mini Eggs, Foiled Chocolate Eggs and Kingsway Giant Fried Eggs.

Best sellers from the sharing range include Bonds Chick & Bunny Mallow Bag. The Easter packaging and mallow treats inside make these top sellers for sharing and gifting.

“Gifting is a huge consumer trend around Easter and retailers should ensure they are fully stocked on lots of gifting ranges to ensure customers are fulfilled,” says Smith. “Bonds Hoppy Easter Gift Box is the perfect Easter gift, filled to the brim with gummy bunnies and milk chocolate mini eggs.”

Limited edition for the Easter season and always a huge hit among customers are the Bonds Hoppy Easter Shaker Cup, the perfect mix of Hacocks’ best selling pick & mix lines.

Jellybean Rabbit Tubes, new to the Easter novelty range, are super tall and offer a yummy gift for children.

“We are really excited about our new Easter range and can’t wait for the customers to see what we have in store!” continues Smith. “At Hancocks we supply an unrivalled selection of pick and mix favourites. As part of our Easter range for 2022, we have introduced brand new BUBs Egg Skulls. These are super on theme for the season and the shape is a merging of BUBs well known skull sweet coming out from an Easter egg.” Exclusive to Hancocks for this Easter season are the Haribo Eggs Galore and Bunnies.

“Retailers can encourage gifting this Easter by stocking plenty of seasonal gift options,” adds Smith. “Brand new to our gifting range is new Bonds Spring Tipple.”

Brand new impulse lines include Vimto Fried Eggs. These are sure to be in demand among Vimto lovers, mixing the classic well-loved flavour with an Easter themed shape.

Exclusive to Hancocks as part of the novelty range is the Funny Dancing Duck, a tube filled with sweets and topped with a dancing duck figure which is sure to gain attention from customers of all ages. These fun and interactive novelty items are also a great value item for younger customers.

“The best thing any wholesaler can do ahead of the Easter period is plan,” comments Smith. “Ensure you have enough stock of new products and existing best sellers from the previous year so that you are prepared for the Easter rush! Open communication from wholesalers to retailers is also super important when it comes to sales, as we rely on relationships and trust in order for retailers to place repeat orders.”

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, comments: ‘‘Easter is a key sales period for confectionery, and Easter week is the number one week in the total confectionery calendar, with sales of £190m (IRI), so it’s important for independent retailers to maximise the opportunity by stocking a range of value products from best-selling brands to entice shoppers – whether they’re seeking Easter gifts or self-treats.”

The Swizzels Easter range grew +26% this year (IRI), making it a popular choice for consumers looking for an alternative to chocolate at Easter.

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 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 3.7 million bars sold since launch (IRI). Large chocolate blocks are in +25% growth (IRI).

With the trend in sharing bags growing over the Easter period, Squashies continues to be a huge success story for the business and is now the number one sugar confectionery brand (IRI).

Available in in 4 flavours including the latest Rhubarb & Custard flavour across £1 PMP and non PMP hanging bag formats.

Lovers of Swizzels’ product range as a whole will enjoy its Sweet Shop Favourites Pouch over the Easter season, containing popular sweets such as Drumsticks, Love Hearts, Refreshers and more. These variety bags are perfect for consumers looking to please the whole family. The 500g pouches are available at a RSP of £4, as well as in a 324g carton format with an RSP of £3.

Squashies, the no.1 hanging bag brand (IRI) is bringing back Easter variant Drumchick Squashies.

“These limited edition Squashies come in chick shapes for Easter fun, with an orange and pineapple flavour, and are ideal for driving impulse sales of themed, self-treat sharing bags in the lead up to and throughout the season,” adds Walker. “To maximise sales of these impulse treats, displaying them end of aisle or at till points will best catch the eyes of shoppers.”

 

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