During the pandemic, confectionery formats such as tablets, sharing bags and multi-packs became more important as shoppers looked for familiar and well-loved treats to share within their households.

However, with lockdown restrictions now lifted, we’ve seen the impulse occasion return across single format confectionery with latest MAT and 12-week data showing singles in growth (Nielsen).

In fact, in a recent survey Mondelez asked independent retailers how their singles sales changed during 2021, and 43% said they’d increased.

Cadbury Twirl Orange single bar was the top-selling NPD in the market and Cadbury Caramilk single bar – launched last July – was the 9th best-selling NPD, with 4 of the top 10 being singles (Nielsen).

“Single chocolate bars remain crucial to a retailer’s range to help them meet the demands of impulse shoppers looking for treats on the go during the day,” comments Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

There is an increasing consumer appetite for varied snacking options and plant-based alternatives have never been more apparent.

In fact, Veganuary exceeded last year’s total sign-ups of 580,000 people, with more than 600,000 consumers having attempted to follow a plant-based diet this year.

Driven by this ongoing and increasing trend, the new Cadbury Plant Bar replaces milk with almond paste and rice extract.

This provides a similar taste and texture to milk ingredients while offering a hint of nuttiness.

Available in two flavours, Smooth Chocolate and Smooth Chocolate with Salted Caramel pieces, the bars are suitable for vegans and are registered by the Vegan Society.

The Cadbury FC name is giving away a raft of football-themed prizes as part of a new cross-brand promotion, running across chocolate, biscuits, and sugar confectionery.

Live now and running until 29th July, Away Wins is set to score shoppers a chance to win a family trip to watch a top football club on their 23/24 pre-season tour, including flights and accommodation.

Alongside the star prize there is also a raft of instant win prizes available, including thousands of Love2Shop vouchers as well as 300 away team football shirts.

This on and off pack promotion is set to be one of the most exciting activations of 2022, running across multiple products and formats within Mondelez International’s range of confectionery and biscuits.

This includes Cadbury Twirl Orange, Cadbury Caramilk, Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums and Cadbury Brunch Bar. Four top clubs are included in the promotion: Arsenal FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, & Tottenham Hotspur.

Building on the huge success of Cadbury Caramilk in 2021, Cadbury has expanded its range to bring shoppers a brand-new launch: Cadbury Caramilk Buttons.

Available now, this new addition to the Cadbury Caramilk range brings shoppers the same beautifully crafted golden caramel chocolate, now in Buttons format. The new launch is also set to help retailers tap into more shopper occasions with the popular sharing bag format, perfect for Afternoon Sharing and Big Night In occasions.

Phill Jaremczenko-Dye, Digital Wholesale & New Business Lead, Mars Wrigley, comments: “Since the start of the pandemic we have seen a resurgence of gifting formats, particularly boxed chocolates. Boxed chocolates offer consumers the opportunity to gift their favourite brands in premium packaging whilst remaining affordable.”

Mars Wrigley’s number one NPD in the premium boxed category, Maltesers Truffles and Galaxy Truffles provide consumers with the ultimate balance between luxury gifting and reasonable prices.

“This will be important for retailers to recognise, particularly in recent months as consumers are more price conscious with the cost of living increasing,” adds Jaremczenko-Dye. “Retailers can benefit from stocking consumer favourites in boxed formats as this is an easy way to upsell consumers within the gifting shopper mission, driving sales.”

The total confectionery market is in growth, up by 3.6% amounting to £900m (Kantar), making it an important category for retailers to keep up to date with consumer trends, in order to make the most of the sales opportunity.

It comes as no surprise that sharing formats have increased in popularity. Sharing formats are perfect for the ‘Big Night In’ occasion and for consumers looking to celebrate those all-important mini moments together. “Bagged confectionery is a key format for these occasions,” says Jaremczenko-Dye. “This format is easy for consumers to add to their shop and once purchased can then be brought to social events. The Big Night In is therefore a key opportunity for confectionery sales.”

Products that work well for sharing and those ‘mini-moments’ include Skittles ‘Tear and Share’ Pouches and Celebrations, which are a firm consumer favourite, and can help uplift retailer sales.

“To encourage higher basket spend, retailers should stock latest product launches to intrigue consumers,” suggests Jaremczenko-Dye.

To further grow the flavoured gum offering from Extra, Mars Wrigley has recently launched Extra Apple and Extra Blueberry.

Nearly 50% of gum consumption comes from Gen Z, with fruit-flavoured gum over indexing with under 25-year-olds and is 51% incremental to the segment (Kantar).

“Retailers should champion new products in store to capitalise on this growing gum trend,” advises Jaremczenko-Dye. “In order to support this strategy, retailers can establish a secondary siting in addition to ones by the till to drive both awareness and trial.”

Whilst fruity confectionery continues to be popular, research has shown that confectionery shoppers expect variety in their choice of flavours and textures.

Mars Wrigley’s latest release, Skittles Squishy Cloudz offer a new texture to the sugar confectionery category.

This is the first product from Mars Wrigley that sits within the gummy segment. Skittles Squishy Cloudz are aerated gummies that maintain the intense fruity flavours that makes Skittles a consumer favourite. This NPD provides a new texture that is positioned to continue to grow the category whilst recruiting new consumers.

Mars Wrigley has recently launched an informative hub, Availability into Action, to help retailers maximise their gum sales. Availability into Action showcases planograms and insight to help retailers maximise the gum sales opportunities in their store.

Levi Boorer, Trade and Shopper Marketing Director, Ferrero, comments: “Following the pandemic, impulsive on-the-go purchase occasions have been affected as consumers continue to work from home and adopt flexible working programmes. This has meant that the trend of shoppers opting for multipacks and take-home formats to share with loved ones or to manage their treats throughout the week has continued.”

Premium Boxed Confectionery will continue to play an important role for retailers wanting to drive sales, so it’s important that the right pack formats are offered in stores to suit shopper missions.

For example, Ferrero Rocher 300g and Thorntons Classic 262g are ideal offerings to help drive a bigger basket spend.

“Quality is at the heart of everything we do at Ferrero, which is why we are consistently able to deliver premium products to consumers to support the growth of the category,” adds Boorer. “Our portfolio of premium, established brands – Ferrero Rocher, Ferrero Collection, Raffaello, and Thorntons– offers consumers high quality treats or gifts. Stocking products from our portfolio will support retailers in driving sales, and presents an opportunity for cross-category merchandising.”

Ferrero Rocher Tablet Bars are now worth over £3.6m since launching in August (Nielsen). The taste of Ferrero Rocher is now available in a 90g tablet bar with three chocolate varieties to choose from: white chocolate, milk chocolate and a dark chocolate variety.

Ferrero also expanded its boxed chocolate range in August 2021 with the launch of Thorntons Pearls in two premium flavours – Hazelnut Delight and Salted Caramel Sensation.

This spring much loved chocolate brand Aero is celebrating sharing occasions with a brand-new campaign featuring a new eye-catching limited-edition ShAero pack design.

Available now, the limited-edition packs are designed to capture shoppers’ attention by featuring a selection of different messages. The ‘Who will you ShAero with’ phrases are suited to each format and flavour and highlight great ways to share your Aero such as over a cuppa, on date night, with a movie or on a road trip.

The limited-edition packaging will feature across the chocolate brand’s range of popular sharing blocks, including the new Dark & Milk flavour sharing bar launched earlier this year, as well as Peppermint Bubbles sharing bags, and will be promoted via PR and social media activity by the brand.

The past two years have seen substantial growth in sharing blocks and bags formats. Whilst total confectionery has grown +1.6%, the chocolate blocks category has grown significantly over the same time +10.5%. This growth has been driven by a strong performing AERO brand which grew an incredible +27.5%, with Aero blocks +28.8% (IRI). AERO’s sharing bags have also contributed to the brand’s growth with sales +18.7% in the past year alone (IRI).

Aero Brand Manager Amy Bennett-Inge said: “After the past couple of years when lockdowns have meant many of us have missed out on social occasions with friends and family, we really wanted to celebrate the return of getting together with loved ones. We know Aero is already popular during sharing occasions, and ShAero is designed to celebrate this.”

In addition to the ShAero activity, the brand also recently announced the launch of a brand-new innovation Aero Melts. Aero Melts are buttons of light and bubbly chocolate that melt effortlessly in the mouth for a moment of chocolatey indulgence, available in milk chocolate and caramel flavour sharing bags. The launch has been supported by a £1.6 million media spend, including social, digital, OOH, PR and sampling activity, to ensure shoppers cannot miss it.

Launched in 1935 and made in Nestlé’s York factory, Aero is one of the top ten chocolate brands in the UK, worth £106 million (IRI), and bought by more than 1 in every 3 households (Kantar).

Andrea Jessop, CEO of Moo Free, comments: “One of the big confectionery trends in 2022 is that the free-from and vegan category is expanding.”

This year, over 600,000 people signed up to Veganuary, surpassing last year’s total of 500,000.

This highlights the popularity of this growing trend, which is starting to take effect 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 plant-based chocolate with a selection of high quality, great tasting free-from and vegan chocolate bars,” adds Jessop. “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.”

Moo Free 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,” says Jessop. “It is the case that those who are lactose intolerant usually suffer with other allergies as well.”

Moo Free’s dairy-dodging choccy creations are also suitable for vegans and those who follow a plant-based diet and come in a variety of flavours from Bunnycomb (vegan honeycomb), to white, ‘milk’, orange and salted caramel, ensuring there is a bar to suit every taste.

Moo Free has recently introduced a collection of dairy-free chocolate covered goodies to its core range with the launch of Choccy Rocks. The individual snack-packs are made up of Moofreesas, which are gluten-free malt balls, Bunnycomb, vegan honeycomb, and chocolate raisins.

To bring the chocolate covered balls to market, Moo Free has invested in the Devon factory with a new panning machine. This allows each ball of sweetness to be evenly coated with Rainforest Alliance, mouth-watering dairy-free milk chocolate.

Since launching its Choccy Rock range on the Moo Free webshop at the beginning of the year, it has now become the most popular year-round range that Moo Free offers.

To increase Moo Free’s visibility, the brand is investing in a PR and marketing strategy, which aims to help expand their loyal fan base and increase purchase frequency. This year Moo Free is carrying out advertising in print media and across their digital channels, as well as media partnerships to help market the Moo Free range during this time.

Swizzels has launched Marvellous Mallows, its brand-new and first ever mallows product.

Typically known for its ingenious sweet inventions and countless favourites spanning over 90 years, Swizzels has entered the mallow category for the first time in its history.

The company has combined its iconic and unique Drumstick lolly flavour, known and loved for more than 60 years, with soft mallow to create a unique-tasting marshmallow sweet.

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels commented: “We’re extremely excited about the launch of Marvellous Mallows, our latest sweet innovation and first marshmallow product in our history.

“Mixing traditional and consumer favourite flavours into new sweets is key to our product development. Thanks to our past success, we’re confident that Marvellous Mallows will be an exciting new addition to the mallows category this year.”

The product is sure to standout on shelf thanks to its eye-catching design and will be supported by a strong integrated marketing campaign that will ensure the packs fly off the shelves.

It’s not the first time Swizzels has reimagined its popular drumstick flavour through a new product.

Last year, the business launched its first ever Drumstick chocolate bar, which has sold over 5.8 million bars since its launch, whilst Squashies, which come in a Drumstick raspberry & Milk flavour, is now the number one sugar confectionery brand in the UK (IRI).

Mark Walker continued: “Mallows have continued growing over the last year and the category is now worth £24.7 million. The market is clearly popular with consumers and retailers should stock up on mallows to help drive sales.

“Our latest innovation reinvents the mallows category and offers consumers the chance to purchase a mallow product from a much-loved, well-established brand.”

Swizzels is the UK’s largest family-owned independent sugar confectionery business and one of the few confectionery companies to still manufacture sweets in the UK. The company makes a range of well-known products including Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Rainbow Drops, Double Lollies, Squashies and Fruity Pops.



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