Spring Confectionery, in particular chocolate, is one of our favourite ways to brighten our lives between the New Year and the coming of spring. We’re notoriously a nation of self-treaters but according to the experts, gifting accounts for over 60% of chocolate occasions over this period, so we’re really not that bad. And we’re big on sharing with loved ones and family and friends.

The first big event of the year for chocolate confectionery gifting is Valentine’s Day on February 14th, followed by Mother’s Day on Sunday March 31st. And then we’re on the home run to Easter, which this year runs from Good Friday, April 19th through to Monday April 22nd.

Easter is by far the biggest element in this scenario. For the majority of people in Britain today, the most exciting bit of the Easter weekend and the build up to it is creating memories with loved ones through treats and traditions – especially treats involving chocolate.

Looking at what the leading manufacturers have got in store for us this time round, Jake Kirkham, Nestlé Confectionery’s Shopper Marketing Manager, says Nestlé’s spring range’s focus in 2019 is on offering its big brands in the best-selling formats, with innovation in mini eggs, large eggs and giant eggs plus an exciting new range of Incredible eggs.

“Our new large eggs from Smarties, Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Yorkie promise something for everyone, while the specialness of the new Kitkat Chunky Salted Caramel Fudge, Yorkie Raisin and Biscuit and Smarties mini eggs Incredible Eggs is certain to excite consumers. The extended range gives a greater choice of trusted, quality brands in popular size formats, ideal for sharing with friends and family at an accessible price point.”

Nestlé has also invested in a redesign for the spring range, giving each pack a recognisable, consistent seasonal look. A new nest design features on the front of every pack, alongside clear descriptions of what each contains. Jake Kirkham says, “Our new range, plus three weeks’ extra selling time this year, are set to ensure this Easter will be a fantastic profit-boosting opportunity for retailers.”

In impulse products, Nestlé’s popular Smarties and Milkybar Farmyard Friends return with foil-wrapped hollow chocolate animals from each brand and updated designs. The Kids Added Value segment grew 12% in 2018, with three key roles, Top Up Gift, Main Gift and Egg Hunt. The successful Smarties Hen House and Milkybar Milkybarn packs are back too, containing a chocolate egg and a chocolate Smarties hen or Milkybar cow inside each box, and the Smarties Egg Hunt and Milkybar Egg Hunt packs continue to grow.

Another Easter hot seller, seasonal novelties make ideal top-up gifts and are key to driving value and bringing in new shoppers. The Milkybar Chick in Egg features a white chocolate egg with a cute white chocolate chick inside and joins the milk chocolate Smarties Chick in Egg, while the Milkybar small egg is the only white chocolate offering in the small egg format. This Easter Nestlé has also brought back mug eggs from Kitkat Chunky, Yorkie and Toffee Crisp, perfect collectable gifts from some of the UK’s most famous confectionery brands.

Finally, premium eggs are another lucrative area for Nestlé, growing 12% in 2018. The new KitkatSenses premium egg comes with a mixed box of KitkatSenses chocolates, joining the After Eight premium egg, which features a large mint flavoured dark chocolate egg and a 300g box of the nation’s favourite After Dinner Mints.

Mondelez was the number one manufacturer during Easter 2018 with 44% share of the market. 82% of the UK population ate a Mondelez Easter product during the season, with Cadbury Creme Egg being the number one brand. In fact, Cadbury Creme Egg sales went up by 22% last year thanks to the nation’s hunt for the White Cadbury Creme Egg.

Looking at the rest of Mondelez’s portfolio Cadbury Mini Egg remained a popular choice for consumers as the second favourite Easter chocolate brand for shoppers last season. Furthermore, Mondel?z grew the shell egg subcategory by £10m year on year, with eight of the top ten best-selling eggs belonging to the company.

For Easter 2019, Mondelez’s ambition is to remain a leader of the season and help bring families together, through its cracking portfolio of brands and products. It will be bringing new innovation to all segments and investing £10m during the season, to help retailers and consumers have egg-ceptional Easter.

Marketing support began on January 1st with the launch of a national Cadbury Creme Egg promotion ‘Hunt the White Creme Egg’ giving consumers the chance to win £10,000 if they can find an elusive white egg. This year the campaign also involves a convenience channel exclusive promotion, where the retailer can win £1,000 if a White Creme Egg is found in their store. Plus, Cadbury Creme Egg hunting season returns to TV, supported by a far-reaching digital media campaign.

Building Egg-citement

Throughout February and March, shoppers are looking to buy gifts and sharing products for friends and family, especially their children, to enjoy during casual together time. They are also looking to capture the spirit and tradition of Easter, while creating memorable moments through the egg hunt ritual, using a range of different products from brands their family knows and loves. Sharing products, like Cadbury Mini Eggs and Cadbury Egg ‘n’ Spoon, are perfect during these times to help create special sharing moments at home. At this time Cadbury will be organising egg hunts across the country, with a £6m campaign and Cadbury will be involved in public egg hunts, with the continuation of its partnership with the National Trust.

Easter Traditions & Memories

In the three weeks prior to Easter, says Susan Nash, consumers are looking to create and extend the unique spirit of Easter through gifts, while continuing to inspire memorable moments through the egg hunt ritual. To meet this consumer need, it is crucial to stock family sharing and gifting products during this time. Gifting accounts for more than 60% of chocolate occasions, which demonstrates the importance of shell eggs, as consumers are on the hunt for surprises and gifts for their loved-ones often looking in convenience stores for those last minute purchases. Cadbury have 8 of the top 10 shell eggs with Cadbury Creme Egg shell egg being the number one selling shell egg, so retailers can trust in Cadbury as a brand that will move and be selected when there is demand for shell eggs in their store.

Mondelez’s top seasonal tips for retailers:

• Stock seasonal self-eats from January to get a fast start at the season

• Focus on best sellers and bestselling brands

• Adapt your range throughout, bringing in sharing products from February to March; and gifting products and shell eggs from April to meet the changing consumer need and maximise sales

• Utilise manufacturer POS to build impactful displays in high traffic areas in your store, such as using the impulsive counter space for selfeat treats

• Capitalise on Mondel?z’s £10m investment during the season, and stock up to enjoy and eggceptional sales during a period heightened brand awareness from January-April

New for Easter 2019 from Mondelez Two power brands unite this Easter to bring the consumer an exciting new flavour – Cadbury Oreo Egg. This new product has been a huge success in Canada, boosting Cadbury Creme Egg sales by 62%. Also new from Mondelez, Cadbury Heroes favourite Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted is launching in a convenient bag format. Mondelez’s number one Easter brand Creme Egg is also introducing the Cadbury Creme Egg Mega Egg, a great gift for Cadbury Creme Egg fans. Also new for Easter is the Cadbury Heroes Easter Pouch. New to Mondel?z’s shell egg portfolio, and aiming to build on the success of the inclusion range, is the Cadbury Crunchie Inclusion Egg. Cadbury Picnic is also launching a shell egg, the subbrand’s first such product.

Ferrero makes it special

Chocolate lovers are always on the lookout for something special, for themselves, for gifts or to share with others. Levi Boorer is Customer Development Director at Ferrero, who have a wide range of seasonal and limited edition products joining their core line up to appeal at Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter and are investing in media campaigns to support retailers at each occasion.

“For retailers,” says Levi, “the real strength of the Ferrero range is in the core products that deliver all year round value but see significant spikes at these occasions.” Ferrero are also supporting retailers across Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day through range extensions, limited edition product formats and seasonally relevant packaging.

First, for Easter Ferrero is introducing a number of egg products to appeal to a wide range of shoppers. The Thorntons range is bolstered by the introduction of three new luxury eggs, featuring strong colours and a premium look and feel to appeal to younger, affluent shoppers. The premium eggs are available in White Chocolate & Raspberry, Milk Chocolate Almond & Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate & Orange.

Also aimed at shoppers seeking more luxury, Ferrero Rocher’s popular 212.5g and 275g luxury eggs saw sales increase by +70% annually in 2018, with the larger egg ranking third overall in the Luxury Eggs category. This year both products will receive a makeover to provide greater stand out on shelf, while also highlighting the quality of the products inside.

The new Ferrero Rocher mini eggs drive sales early in the season when seasonal sharing is at its peak. The two Ferrero egg products, Hazelnut or Cocoa 100g are set to capitalise on mini eggs’ growing popularity, supported by sampling activity in highfootfall areas. Bolstering the range of novelties further is the introduction of the new Ferrero Rocher Squirrel and two new 200g bunny products, one milk chocolate and one white.

For Kinder, also part of the Ferrero portfolio, two new 220g Surprise eggs are being launched to follow on from the 100g egg’s success in 2018, where value sales grew by +21% and it was the top performing SKU in the kids confectionery category. The Kinder Surprise eggs are set to drive further growth in the category, with bigger toys and relevant licences Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Powerpuff Girls having a wide appeal. The Kinder range is being refreshed with a host of new products and line extensions. The Kinder Surprise 36g hollow figures sport seasonally relevant characters and designs, to boost early season selftreating.

The entire Kinder seasonal portfolio is being supported by a media campaign across all key channels. Moving to boxed chocolates, Thorntons’ boxed chocolate grew year on year at both occasions in 2018, +12% (£3.1m) on Valentine’s Day and +15% (£4.2m) on Mother’s Day respectively. The limited edition ‘With Love’ boxes return in 2019, with updated packaging.

Ferrero Collection have two seasonally relevant packs for Mother’s Day, one ribbon pack and one “Just for you” sleeve pack. Raffaello saw retail sales value increase by +22%. A New 80G Matchbox pack is being launched in 2019, featuring versatile designs to cater to multiple occasions all year round.

The special edition T14 heart also returns, after a spectacular +134% volume increase in 2018. Ferrero will be supporting the line up with a digital campaign coupled with one of the UK’s biggest ever samplings activities, set to reach five million potential consumers.

With Easter falling late this year, it’s more important than usual for retailers to prioritise different products throughout the season, says Chirag Shah, Seasonal Brand Manager, Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK:

“Up to three hundred million seasonal product units are sold from January to Easter, making thiz one of the most important times of the year for chocolate sales.“

Early on in the season, says Chirag, it is important to focus on treats. Mars’ research shows 68% of shoppers who bought Easter treats like to treat themselves in January and February and 70% of shoppers like a sweet treat to pick them up at this time.

In 2019, Mars is set once again to get consumers excited with new advertising, new products and bringing back consumers’ Easter favourites, says Chirag Shah. The since its launch in 2016 GALAXY Golden Eggs has become the number two small sharing bag at Easter. MALTEASTER Bunny is the second most popular product in Self Eat and makes an impactful display alongside the MALTEASTER Mini- Bunnies sharing pack, the number four sharing bag at Easter. Following last year’s launch of Maltesers Truffles, the new Maltesers Truffles egg is sure to be popular this season.

This year the Mars portfolio also sees seasonal NPD from the world’s number 1 confectionery brand, M&MS. M&MS Eggs are proven blockbusters in the USA and Australia and launch here for Easter 2019.

Before Easter, as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day come round, the focus turns towards boxed chocolate. in the Mars portfolio the Maltesers Small Box (100g) and Large Box (360g) are the perfect modest gifts for a loved one, while Maltesers Truffles is Mars UK’s first step into premium chocolate, extends the Maltesers brand into an allyear- round premium gifting experience. Finally, Mars UK’s Celebrations range, the number one Boxed Twistwrap brand, is great as a gift for a loved one, includING the crowd-pleasing Gift Box and the bestselling carton.

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