The total confectionery market is in growth and up by 3.6% to be worth £900m (Kantar). The lockdowns throughout the pandemic have created more demand for adventure and escapism, creating further innovation opportunities for brands.

With the world now returning to some normality, consumers are still looking for the products they love to share in those all-important moments together with their loved ones.

With this in mind, consumers continue to seek reassurance from their favourite brands and still look to confectionery to bring new products to market.

Victoria Gell, Fruity Confections Portfolio Director, Mars Wrigley, comments: “For Mars Wrigley, the success of the overall confectionery category is driven by our dynamic innovation programme, which has been received positively by both new and existing shoppers, and our understanding of impulse shoppers. Where previously innovation focused on introducing new flavour varieties, Mars Wrigley is now differentiating flavour profiles, textures and formats to bring completely new taste sensations to market.”

Mars Wrigley recently launched a brand-new twist on its popular Skittles Giants – Skittles Giants Crazy Sours.

Research has shown that fruity confectionery shoppers expect variety in flavours and textures, with Sours being the most incremental flavour after Fruit in the category. Skittles Giants Crazy Sours are three times the size of standard Skittles and have a soft chewy centre designed to strike taste buds with sourness, delivering an intense, fruity, mouth-watering flavour.

“Despite the many disruptions of the past year, consumers are beginning to return to normal patterns of movement, so food on the move and sharing opportunities have become re-energised thus increasing impulse purchases,” adds Gell.

“Consumers are looking for the products they love to share in those all-important moments together with their loved ones. In turn, we are seeing an increase in sharing formats. It is important for wholesalers to stock share pouches such as the Starburst “tear and share” pouch and the 196g Skittles Chewies pouch to capitalise from the growth in this consumer trend.”

Mars Wrigley has always considered visibility as key in impulsive categories and with many other brands taking the same view, popular items continue to be located just below eye level, at “buy level” and within arm’s reach of the till, so to take advantage of incremental sales. One fact remains true overall, whatever the occasion, traditional or emerging, ensuring that core products are always available and merchandised effectively will boost sales – both planned and unplanned.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “The pandemic has led to many changes across the retail environment, but confectionery has remained an incredibly important category as consumers look to enjoy treats to share at home as well as more functional products such as mints, gum, and relief candy. In uncertain times, consumers seek out brands they know and love that deliver on familiarity and taste – which makes category-leading brands such as Cadbury, Maynards Bassetts, Halls and Trebor so important.”

“Formats such as tablets and multi-packs have become increasingly important as shoppers look for treats that they can share at home during big nights in with family and loved ones – but the impulse occasion is well and truly back for single confectionery too. Consumers also look for the best possible value, and price-marked packs can provide reassurance of value through clear pricing.”

The joyful candy category is growing by 5.1% (Nielsen), highlighting the importance of a strong offering in store incorporating old favourites and the latest innovation.

Cadbury has unveiled a new hazelnut flavour for its top-selling Wispa Gold chocolate bar. Cadbury Wispa Gold Hazelnut flavour is available to order now in a single 48g bar.

The Wispa range is a favourite with shoppers across the UK; in fact, it’s the third biggest brand within the Cadbury range (Nielsen) after Cadbury Dairy Milk and Cadbury Twirl. Wispa Gold has grown by 23.5% (Nielsen) over the last year- highlighting just how popular this variant is with shoppers. Hazelnut is the second biggest flavour in chocolate and is growing at 12.8% (Nielsen).

Mondelez’s biggest launch this year is bringing shoppers a new taste from Cadbury: Cadbury Caramilk. The new bars are made with a blend of white chocolate with a smooth texture, sourced from 100% sustainable cocoa. Available now in multiple formats – including a single bar to drive impulse sales – Cadbury Caramilk is helping retailers to recruit new shoppers with its unique taste from a trusted, recognisable brand, tapping into a much-loved Australian chocolate classic.

Seasonal products will be key to category growth within confectionery as the Christmas season approaches. Mondelez International – the number one (Nielsen) confectionery supplier at Christmas – is once more gearing up to help both wholesalers and retailers with their seasonal sales this year.

One of the fastest growing flavours of the year (Nelsen) in a new form, the all-new limited-edition Cadbury Dairy Milk Winter Orange contains orange nugget inclusions. The new launch comes with an impactful winter-themed design for strong stand-out on shelf and is a great size for a stocking filler.

In August, Cadbury announced the return of its huge on-pack promotion, Match & Win, for its fifth consecutive season, in partnership with some of the UK’s biggest football clubs. The shopper promotion is live now and will appear on packs across the nation’s favourite chocolate’s range (Nielsen) until November this year, with bigger and better prize bundles than ever before to mark its fifth year and capture consumers’ attention.

A Nestlé Confectionery spokesperson comments: “Nestlé Confectionery aims to ensure a very merry Christmas for shoppers and retailers alike, as it launches its new Christmas range packed with a host of festive favourites as well as exciting new launches from its iconic brands.”

After proving a smash hit with consumers when it launched last Christmas, KitKat Santa is back to lead Nestlé’s 2021 Christmas range complete with a brand-new product. The KitKat Festive Friends Bag 220g (RRP £3.50) comes filled with individually wrapped, fun, festive shapes and is ideal for sharing with friends and family. There are 12 mini KitKat Santas and a mix of 10 other shapes (including a Christmas tree, elf, gingerbread man, snowman and reindeer) in every bag. The new bag joins the 29g impulse bar (RRP £0.65), a 5 bar multipack (RRP £3.00) and a 55g bag of individually wrapped mini Santas (RRP £1.00).

The launch of KitKat Santa – a Santa-shaped chocolate bar filled with a rich chocolatey centre and crunchy wafer pieces – was a huge success with consumers and it became the No.1 product launch across the market at Christmas (IRI). Sales of the impulse bar were highly incremental, driving growth in the self-eat category and attracting over 450,000 new shoppers (Kantar). Media support, including out-of-home advertising and social media, will ensure KitKat Santa is once again at the front of shoppers’ minds in 2021.

Twistwrap confectionery continued to be the biggest seasonal segment with 60% of all households buying into it, demonstrating the crucial role it plays for the category and consumers (IRL). Formats increasing in popularity in 2020 were tins +28% and pouches +7% (IRL).

Quality Street was once again the No.1 brand at Christmas in 2020 (IRL). This year the brand will benefit from a £2 million media spend and will continue its successful advertising campaign focusing on Quality Street’s role in bringing together loved ones, enjoying special moments as they share their chocolates. The advertising will appear on TV, video on demand and social media.

This year Quality Street will introduce a new mix of sweets across its range of formats to include more consumer favourites. The Quality Street tin’s annual new design will make it even more premium and gift worthy than ever before, with beautifully designed jewel-like sparkling colours bringing a modern feel and ensuring impressive standout on-shelf. A new Quality Street 2kg Tin (RRP £18.99) will be available nationally for the first time. The Quality Street Purple One and Strawberry Delight novelty gift boxes (RRP £6.00 each) will benefit from a makeover which sees them reduce their plastic packaging and move to fully recyclable cartons.

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director, Ferrero, comments: “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.

Ferrero’s 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.

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

Sarah McDermot, Senior Brand Manager at Chewits comments: “The vegan trend shows no signs of slowing down, with consumers increasingly looking for gelatine free and plant-based ingredients, this is evident with the popularity of Chewits Bites, laces and twists which launched within the convenience channel in 2020, meeting this growing consumer trend.”

Consumers will continue to be conscious of calorie and sugar content this year with the government increasingly putting the spotlight on this subject. Portion control will be important to consumers where a permissible treat can be managed with individually packed sweets or resealable packaging. Retailers will be looking to stock a mix of different packaging formats and sizes to capitalise on this. Chewits stick packs meets this need at 113kcals per pack, having the lowest calorie content for stick pack chews in the market, as well as each sweet being individually wrapped.

This Autumn, Chewits is adding a burst of new flavours to its signature stick pack product format to drive growth and attract new buyers to the single impulse category, which was hit hard by the pandemic, but still accounts for 36% of category sales (IRI).

Four new sweet and sour flavours are being introduced. Blue Raspberry, Cherry, Xtreme Sour Lemon and Xtreme Sour Cherry are suitable for vegetarians and available from convenience stores and wholesalers nationwide now.

Chewits is performing well in the sharing bag format category, growing 20% year on year (IRI). This reflects the popularity of this pack format and success of the launch of Chewits Juicy Bites and Xtreme Bites.

The Chewits Juicy Bites are bursting with a juicy centre, available in strawberry and blue raspberry flavours. For those with a sour-side, the Xtreme Sour Bites are mini chewy bon bons in a mix of sour apple and lemon flavours, for that extra ‘bite’.

Both Chewits’ Juicy Bites and Xtreme Sour Bites are suitable for vegans, tapping into the growing vegan trend.

Stuart Johnston – Managing Director – Kervan Gida UK ltd, comments: “Over the pandemic, big nights in have been replacing social occasions for millions of households. Sugar confectionery continues to be welcomed as an affordable treat by consumers who maybe haven’t been having the best experiences due to the pandemic, and have limited options to experience their normal enjoyment of life in terms of socialising and going out.”

This enforced lifestyle change has led to a sales uplift in treat items and sharing packs, bought by families and other households. Bebeto has seen a massive growth in demand for sharing packs and fun packs. This trend is continuing to the present day. There are no official social distancing restrictions now, but consumers continue to be cautious about returning to complete normality and seek to avoid risk of infection by staying at home more regularly and continuing to enjoy big nights in.

“Kervan Gida UK’s sales are up +38% year on year, so we are performing well, as are some of our competitors,” adds Johnston. “Another factor to remember in all this is that when people spend long periods at home, as millions of us have been, buying confectionery brands for home consumption becomes a habit and a highlight. People get much needed enjoyment from their favourite products, so it becomes more of a regular planned purchase than an impulse buy.”

In April Kervan Gida launched new Gummies 150g range, made with real juice and no artificial colours. The best-selling shapes and flavours, Big Fizzy Mix, Strawberries, Fizzy Watermelons and Big Mix, were mixed, matched and repackaged in a bigger sharing bag format, in line with the strong growth in sharing bags seen during the pandemic.

Bebeto is appearing in homes across London and surrounding counties this autumn in its first ever TV campaign. The significant six-figure investment is part of a nationwide marketing campaign, including out-of-home advertising, PR, social media marketing and consumer sampling. Bebeto’s TV debut is a core element of Kervan Gida UK’s growth plan, which has seen sales jump +38% in the last year.

“We are also revamping our online presence by focusing on the Bebeto website and social media,” says Johnston. “We know consumer engagement and feedback are invaluable, and we have big plans to interact with our consumer base through competitions and engaging content.”


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