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Treating and snacking in the UK market is worth £13.3bn. Within this, confectionery is worth £5.5bn and driving growth – 75% of recent treats and snacking growth has come from confectionery (Nielsen).

Incremental sales remain strong, with two-thirds of products being bought on impulse (Kantar).

Treats and Snacking is an emotive category for consumers, and 100% of UK households buy across it (Kantar).

Consumers typically want to recharge and reward themselves, as well as connect with others and celebrate achievements with confectionery.

The sector is still all about enjoyment and taste, but health is becoming increasingly important.

“We support retailers to drive growth across the category by driving scale through core confectionery in all formats and occasions, launching more permissible ranges such as Triple Treat, encouraging consumers to chew more of our sugar-free gum ranges, and unlocking healthier snacking with our KIND range,” comments Nick Reade, Sales Director, Mars Wrigley UK.

Consumers are always looking for fun, seasonal variations and new flavours to try in confectionery.

In the fruity confectionery and gum sectors, fruit flavours including favourites such as strawberry, orange and lemon remain popular choices, and we can expect to see variations and combinations of these, as well as the tropical flavours such as pineapple, mango and passionfruit, growing the market in 2023.

“Trends in consumer and shopper behaviour continue to change,” says Reade, “and the category needs to evolve to keep consumers engaged.”

Mars Wrigley is paying particular attention to six key trends this year: household economic uncertainty; the increased focus on wellness and healthy living; shopper convenience; the environment; capitalising on those In Home and Out of Home moments; and having purpose-led brands.

Mars Wrigley continues to innovate and push the boundaries of fruity confections with its first HFSS-compliant fruity confectionery launch. Starburst Fruit Squares follow on from the unveiling of Triple Treat, the first HFSS-compliant launch from a major confectionery company, in June 2022.

The soon-to-be-launched Fruit Squares are made with real fruit (80% apple puree) and are high in fibre. They are available in two mouth-watering flavour variants, Fruit Mix (apple, strawberry, blackcurrant, and orange) and Tropical Mix (pineapple, mango, passionfruit and lemon). These vegan snacks are designed to meet the growing consumer desire for healthier, innovative confectionery options.

Kerry Cavanaugh, Mars Wrigley Marketing Director, comments: “The launch of Starburst Fruit Squares is a response to the ever-evolving confectionery landscape, particularly at a time where HFSS regulations are impacting the sector.

“As fruity confections are growing at +17% year-on-year (Nielsen), the Starburst brand is a perfect platform for Mars Wrigley’s first HFSS-compliant fruity confectionery venture, bringing an additional audience of 1.4 million to the sector.

“We’re pleased to provide a front-of-store-compliant confectionery product to retailers that continues to drive innovation across the fruity confectionery category.”

The fruit snacks are available at an RRP of £1.00 for a 25g pack.

Mars Wrigley has category-leading brands across the chocolate, fruity confectionery, and gum sectors of the market. The company has seen consistently high, and growing, performance in all three categories – chocolate +2.7% y-o-y, fruity confectionery +8.2% y-o-y, and gum +18.5% y-o-y.

“This year is an exciting one for our brands: we’ll have a TV presence across Extra, Maltesers, Galaxy, M&M’S, Celebrations and Twix, as well as other media platforms, which is one of our strongest plans for many years,” adds Cavanaugh.

“We’ll continue to develop award-winning content which delivers emotional connections with our consumers and connects our brands with cultural events such as Skittles Pride and Maltesers Maternal Mental Health and delivers our promise on purpose with Galaxy cocoa sustainability.

“Social media is a key part of our media strategy and will continue to be a place where consumers talk about us and share their positive experiences with their much-loved brands.

Andrea Jessop, CEO of Moo Free, comments: “One of the big confectionery trends in 2023 is that the free-from and vegan category is expanding, which is good news for retailers and their shoppers, who can rely on Moo Free as a family-run business and one of the UK’s best known and trusted free from chocolate brands.”

This year, over 700,00 people signed up to Veganuary, surpassing last year’s total of 629,000. This ever-increasing annual figure highlights the popularity of this rising trend, which is having a growing impact in the confectionery space. More than ever people are becoming more aware of the food they eat and its impact on the planet. They are looking for easy and convenient swaps to make a difference, but taste is still a key factor. This is especially true for flexitarians, the UK’s fastest growing diet choice, who are introducing more plant-based products into their everyday consumption, including chocolate.

Moo Free addresses the demand for free from and vegan chocolate with a selection of high quality, great tasting bars. Full of flavour, but free from dairy, gluten, soya and palm oil, they are a great alternative for those who are actively seeking out free-from and vegan friendly treats.

“With consumers increasingly expecting more from suppliers in terms of ethics and commitment, Moo Free have always put its unique stamp on the company from the start,” adds Jessop. “It has spent the last ten years perfecting its free-from ‘milk’, white and dark chocolate recipes.”

Made from Rainforest Alliance cocoa and/or organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic, Moo Free addresses the need for ethical, safe and terrifically tasty chocolate that doesn’t aggravate food intolerances.

Allergies are becoming more recognised in the UK and people are starting to act as they educate themselves on the effect certain foods may be having on them and the planet. There are also new allergies appearing, which, although quite common, aren’t officially recognised yet, such as coconut, so it’s important to be sensitive to these. It is the case that those who are lactose intolerant usually suffer with other allergies as well.

Moo Free’s dairy-dodging choccy creations come in a variety of flavours and formats from its award-winning Choccy Rock range to its Bunnycomb (vegan honeycomb), white, ‘milk’ and orange Mini Bars, and salted caramel and cinder toffee Premium Bars ensuring there is a something to suit every taste.

Moo Free is a family-run business based in Devon, who make everything in the UK, and champion other family-run businesses based in Britain. From ingredients native to the UK, to flavourings, through to its recyclable packaging. Moo Free has a zero-waste policy and also recycles 100 per cent of its cardboard and all of its redundant plastic film.

Mark Roberts, Marketing & Trade Marketing Director at Perfetti Van Melle, comments: “The total UK sugar confectionery market is worth £1.6Bn with Perfetti Van Melle remaining as one of the leading manufacturers with their portfolio of household brands including Mentos, Fruittella, Chupa Chups, and Smint being worth over £100 million.”

Sugar Confectionery is a resilient category as it delivers lifts and treats for its consumers. As we continue into a challenging economic landscape, confectionery remains an affordable treat giving retailers a compelling sales generator.

“Our focus is on driving choice and by helping to signpost within the category, consumers can easily find a treat for any occasion. As we further develop our product portfolio, we continue to bring a wide range of products to consumers with new flavours, packaging, and textures,” adds Roberts.

As health concerns remain a priority for all, PVM’s sugar-free alternatives allow people to make their own choices. Perfetti Van Melle remains the leader within the Sugar Free category, with sales continuing to grow. Following HFSS regulations and now the cost-of-living crisis, there are bound to be multiple challenges for the category to face.

“Confectionery is one of the top five categories purchased on impulse in convenience stores,” says Roberts. “Offering a full range that supports the government’s HFSS guidelines of under 150kcal per pack – something most manufacturers can’t, gives Perfetti the opportunity to be closer to these impulse purchases.”

Fruittella is expanding into the jellies market with an innovative and interactive NPD: Fruittella Curiosities. The themed packs allow shoppers to explore one of two far-flung and fantastic worlds. In ‘By the Sea’ the marine life is totally tropical, and the Antarctic creatures of ‘In the Snow’ are berry delicious!

Now available to buy in store for £1.50 per pack, the HFSS-compliant jellies are made with 30% reduced sugar, real fruit juice, and natural colourings and flavours – all the attributes that make the core Fruittella range a family favourite. ‘By the Sea’ features soft fish, starfish and crab shapes in perennially popular flavours lemon, orange, and strawberry. ‘In the Snow’ contains a mixture of penguins, polar bears and walruses that taste of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry.

Following the success of Mentos Fanta launch in summer 2022 the much sought after Mentos Fanta has been awarded Product of the Year 2023. The highly respected award confirms the status of the tasty chewy treat as a firm consumer favourite.

The launch saw two global power brands from candy and soft drinks join forces to make the orange drink Fanta available in a chewable format. Mentos Fanta launched globally last year, the product is now within the bestselling fruit single lines in convenience, petrol, and travel. Perfetti Van Melle will bolster the hype around the limited-edition product throughout 2023 with a further £1m marketing investment, which will be expressed though a blend of OOH, VOD, and influencer work.

Chupa Chups has introduced Fr-ooze Pop, a new playful sweet treat with oozing candy gel. The latest addition to the Chupa Chups portfolio is a fun twist on the classic lollipop and is designed to be enjoyed with friends. Fr-ooze Pop comes in three popular flavours – strawberry, blueberry, and tropical – certain to be snatched up by loyal Chupa Chups customers.

The brand, which leads the market generating over £8million MAT, aims to diversify its lollipop portfolio and bring something new and exciting to the category. It is targeting existing consumers who know and trust the quality of its products but want to experiment with new candy formats.

Clare Newton, Trade Marketing Executive at Swizzels, comments: “We’ve found that vegan sugar confectionery is becoming increasingly popular as vegan options move beyond the established categories of meat and dairy alternatives. Innovation within the vegan sugar confectionery category is a strong driver to entice consumers to try out vegan products and keep them coming back for more.

“With plant-based trends on the up, we’re pleased to offer our popular vegan range all year round, not just during Veganuary.

“Additionally, we’re urging retailers to stock up on Marvellous Mallows, as the mallow category continues to increase its existing worth of £24.4m (IRI). By maintaining a £1 price point, we aim to ensure our Drumstick-flavoured mallows remain a fast-moving and profitable product. Customers and retailers alike can get involved with an intensive social media campaign on our social media channels.”

Swizzels has continued to grow 12.2% over the last year (IRI), with PMP hanging bags continuing to grow +13% in Symbols and Indies (IRI) and the brand is extremely confident that despite the economic challenges being faced, there’s still a really healthy appetite for its products as we move forward into the year.

Swizzels is launching new Minions Sherbet Dips in May with three exciting new flavours: Fizzy Orange, Sour Apple and Tangy Berry.

“PMPs offer better value for money for customers during tough economic times,” adds Newton. “By ensuring retailers have stocked on PMPs, consumers are given an enhanced feeling of control over their spending and the full knowledge that the price they see on pack will be the price they pay at the checkout, which proves valuable during the current economic climate and helps build trust.”

Gabriella Egleton – Senior Brand Manager – Kervan Gida UK Ltd, comments: “The Confectionery market as a whole is expected to grow slightly versus 2022, with Gummy and Jelly products driving growth in particular.”

52% of confectionery occasions are shared with other people (UK Sugar and Gum Confectionery Market Report 2021), and multipacks and sharing sweets’ sales remain in growth.

“Retailers should stock up on sharing bags such as Bebeto 150g Big Mix, 150g Big Fizzy Mix, 150g Strawberry, 150g Fizzy Watermelons and the newest SKU to join the gummy range, 150g Just Bears (available in £1 PMP),” adds Egleton. “Importantly, 82% of retailers say £1 PMPs are must stock items (HIM) and £1 PMP ranges are the main driver of growth in Convenience & Impulse (Kantar Lumina).”

As the cost-of-living rises, shoppers will be looking to reduce expenditure. One of the ways they’ll do this, similar to during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be by replacing nights out with nights in, and picking up their favourite feel good foods and drinks to enjoy at home. Price marked packs which highlight value to the consumer, and encourage impulse buys, will be key to driving sales at this time.

Three in five consumers (60%) believe that the PMPs they see on-shelf are on a special promotion. It’s important to show value with Lumina Intelligence research confirming that price remains the second most important factor for shoppers. With the rising cost of living, this will remain a key factor in their purchasing decisions.

Audrey Arbeeny, UK Marketing Lead, KIND Snacks, comments: “Our #1 best selling single bar is Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt. Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt is a sweet and salty blend of nuts and chocolate with a sprinkle of sea salt. Not only is it our bestselling bar but it is the #1 best selling single bar in the category too (Nielsen). Our second bestselling bar is our Crunchy Peanut Butter Protein bar which is ranked #3 single bar in the category. Crunchy Peanut Butter has the perfect blend of smooth peanut butter with the added crunch of whole peanuts with 12g of protein. Closely followed as our bestselling products are Caramel Almond & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Nut Protein and Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate.”

In Q1 KIND launched a new flavour; Caramelised Biscuit Nut, a combination of peanuts, almonds and cashews with a hint of caramel and note of spiced biscuit flavourings. This bar is high in fibre, gluten free, has 81% nuts and no artificial flavours.

In the last 52W, KIND has been growing over 4x the rate of the snack bar category (Nielsen). Standing as #8 brand in the category, KIND is one of the highest category contributors, delivering over 20% of the category’s value growth in the last year (Nielsen).

Karen Crawford, Marketing Director at Lily O’Brien’s, comments: “Within confectionery, we focus on in-laid boxed chocolates for gifting and casual gifting packs which make a premium and indulgent statement. “In a post-COVID era, shoppers have been purchasing confectionery for major seasonal times of the year like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day as well as those mini moments of celebration – from ‘thank you’ to ‘just because’ moments. We expect this to continue, and products which are affordable and offer luxury gifting solutions to be must-stock choices.”

Towards the end of 2022, the brand invested in new product innovation within casual gifting – a huge sector in Boxed Chocolates worth over £433m and growing +2% YOY. The new Milk Chocolate Truffle and Salted Caramel Truffle range (RRP £5.00 each) expands the brand’s appeal among younger audiences and brings its chocolates into more indulgent sharing occasions at home.

NOMO has launched its biggest chocolate bar yet. The chunky Cookie Dough block bar is made with the brand’s famous creamy choc which provides a velvety coating around crumbly sweet cookie dough. The new Cookie Dough block bar has been created as part of the brand’s innovation drive within the growing Free From and Vegan Chocolate category, now worth £57,874,469 (+10.4% at 52 weeks YA, Nielsen). It will bring an in-demand flavour to a free from audience all-year-round, cementing cookie dough as a staple of NOMO’s range.

It follows the success of the brand’s seasonal cookie dough formats. NOMO’s Cookie Dough Reindeer was the best-selling free from impulse buy in its debut year (+94.6% value sales YA, sold £520,272 / 641,578 units at 86.8% YA, Nielsen).

The 150g block bar is designed to be big enough that cookie dough fans can share it with fellow chocolate lovers – or entice mainstream chocolate consumers to the brand.

Jac Tyrrell, Brand Manager for NOMO says: “Cookie dough is a flavour that has been a huge success at Easter and Christmas, so we are delighted to be able to offer it all year-round with our biggest chocolate bar yet. It is designed to share and is radically inclusive – being free from dairy, gluten, egg and nuts. NOMO is a major innovator within the Free From and Vegan Chocolate category with our newest bar adding to our rapidly expanding range of flavours and formats.”



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