Confectionery is one of the biggest food and drink categories in convenience and is the most impulsive, so it’s a crucial category in any store.

“As the category leader within chocolate, Mondelez is proud to work closely with retailers to help drive sales in the category through our focus on innovation and deep understanding of shoppers, consumers and categories,” says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

Over a third of consumers are actively cutting down their sugar consumption (ShopperVista). Mondelez has spent years developing lower sugar recipes for some of its brands and has recently launched 30% Less Sugar variants of Cadbury Dairy Milk and Maynards Bassetts.

This year, Mondelez has pledged to bring 100% of its chocolate and biscuit products typically bought for children to under 100 calories, as part of a commitment to helping consumers live healthier lifestyles. Recent launch Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Treasures contains just 76 calories offering parents a suitable treat for their families.

Led by the best-selling Mondelez SKUs, the tablet segment is also growing by a significant 6.3% (Nielsen) – highlighting the shopper demand for this format. The nation’s number one chocolate brand (Nielsen) has introduced a reduced sugar variant to its much-loved range: Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar. Over a third of consumers are actively cutting down their sugar consumption, making reducing sugar one of the biggest priorities for shoppers (ShopperVista).

Cadbury has also introduced a new pack format for convenience retailers in order to respond to growing consumer demand for wellbeing offers through portion control. Cadbury Dairy Milk Mini Bars are available as single bars in a specially-created counter-top dispenser unit to allow retailers to tap into this clear demand with a category-leading brand. Cadbury Dairy Milk Mini Bars are helping retailers drive sales within the category, with 67% of consumers stating they will buy the bars incrementally.

More recently, Cadbury has teamed up with Maynards Bassetts this summer in its biggest promotion yet, offering shoppers the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience with an international football captain. The Win the Captain promotion includes over a hundred product lines across the Cadbury and Maynards Bassetts portfolio including tablets, bags, singles, multipacks, large bags and biscuits ranges, giving shoppers even more of a chance to score big.

Mondelez International has also brought back Cadbury Bournville Old Jamaica, its iconic dark chocolate Rum & Raisin bar, at the start of 2020. Old Jamaica was originally launched in 1970 and has made several appearances as a limited edition since then, to the delight of consumers across the UK. It was relaunched as part of the CDM ‘Classics’ range in 1987 and again as part of the ‘World of Chocolate’ range in the mid-1990s. It was most recently on shelves 10 years ago, for one year. The permanent return of the brand follows an incredible year for the total Cadbury Bournville brand, which is now worth £19.6M (Nielsen).

Additionally, research has identified that as we go through different life-stages, our taste buds change. This is true for many foods such as olives and coffee, and some consumers increasingly look for a richer tastingchocolate with a higher cocoa percentage vs milk chocolate. However, some consumers don’t like the taste of a dark chocolate and therefore believe it is not for them (Engage Research).

The richest, creamiest bar Cadbury has ever made, Cadbury Darkmilk was the biggest confectionery launch of 2019, with a repeat purchase rate of 27.5% (KWPO). To further build on this strong start, Cadbury introduced two new products designed to help support the core range and help the brand innovate into new occasions. This included Cadbury Darkmilk Giant Buttons. The combination of Cadbury Darkmilk in a proven format loved by consumers offers an ideal product for sharing with loved ones, perfect for the ‘Big Night In’ occasion. Secondly, Cadbury Darkmilk with Crunchy Cocoa Pieces combines rich and creamy Cadbury Darkmilk with crunchy cocoa nibs for added texture and an intense cocoa hit.

Sharing bags of confectionery are an important part of a retailers’ range. Maynards Bassetts, one of the UK’s favourite confectionery brands since 1842, is tapping into consumer desires for authenticity, higher real fruit content and added benefits with the launch of Superfruit Jellies. Available now, Maynards Bassetts Superfruit Jellies come in 130g bags and are the latest addition to the popular Soft Jellies range following the launch of Soft Jellies Fizzy Fish in 2019. The four new flavours – papaya, pomegranate, blueberry and cranberry – all in super fruit shapes, will add incremental sales to the category.

Last year, the brand also developed the Wine Gums recipe to offer a new 30% Less Sugar variant. The less-sugar Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums – just like the rest of the core range – are made with natural colours. With approximately 19g less sugar per 100g, the new recipe allows consumers to enjoy a less-sugar treat from the classic Wine Gums brand.

Elsewhere in the category, Halls, the number one relief candy brand in the UK (Nielsen), has demonstrated its market-leading position with the launch of new Halls Proactive with Vitamin C. Available in two refreshing citrus flavours – Orange and Pink Grapefruit – Halls Proactive come in a handy resealable bag ideal for all consumption occasions.

Trebor has recently introduced the first sugar-free variety of its Extra Strong brand. Sugar-free Trebor Extra Strong Minis are available now in two pack formats – a 12.6g dispenser pack and a 44.5g 100-mint pot pack – to help retailers drive sales in this impulsive category with a sugar-free option.

Premiumisation is a trend that has been recognised across the confectionery industry with a number of chocolate launches having a more sophisticated, premium feel. This continues the trend from 2018 where we saw the number of chocolate launches carrying a premium claim rising by 9% (Mintel).

“Quality is one of Mars Wrigley’s five founding principles and so we are well-placed to deliver premium products that offer something truly special,” says Jo Sinisgalli, Senior Brand Manager for Gifting at Mars Wrigley. “We know that confectionery is a category where shoppers are willing to spend a little extra on premium products, particularly around gifting occasions such as birthdays, Easter and Christmas, which call for something extra special.”

Research shows that 42 per cent of consumers say they would pay more for a product they consider to be from a luxury brand while 31 per cent say they would pay more for a product in luxurious packaging (Mintel).

“These results give us an interesting perspective of the modern consumer’s mindset, with the look and feel of a product’s packaging almost as valuable as the brand when creating consumer willingness to pay more, adds Sinisgalli. “We’ve therefore ensured that our new premium products offer luxurious and modern designs to add to the feeling of a special gift or luxury treat to be shared with loved ones.”

Maltesers’ premium format, Maltesers Truffles, is special enough to gift to family and friends. Maltesers Truffles were the number one innovation in the market for Christmas 2018 bringing in new shoppers to the category, which in turn resulted in Maltesers Truffles being the number one contributor to category growth during the 2018 Christmas period (Nielsen).

The brand extension into premium has and will continue to drive incremental growth to the category – with the Maltesers brand becoming the third largest confectionery brand worth £211.5M CSV (Nielsen), with distribution gains coming from the brand’s continued NPD growth on Maltesers Buttons and Maltesers Truffles.

Further to this, Maltesers launched a new White variant of the popular Maltesers Truffles as a Limited-Edition NPD in 2019. White Maltesers Truffles was the number two biggest innovation NPD in market at Christmas 2019, after Galaxy Truffles, and delivered £1.4m CSV (Nielsen).

Building on the success of Maltesers Truffles, Mars Wrigley has taken this premium format to the number two chocolate brand in the UK – Galaxy. Galaxy Truffles are indulgent milk chocolate truffles which brought new shoppers into the category and was the number one innovation in boxed for Christmas 2019 (Nielsen).

The individually foil wrapped Galaxy Truffles maintain the familiar rich and velvety centre. These indulgent treats will come encased in smooth Galaxy milk chocolate and will be housed within a premium packaged box. The packaging features a modern and vibrant design with both matte and metallic premium decoration.

The brand launched Galaxy Wafer Curls widely late last year, following an exclusive launch in 2018. Available in Chocolate Crème and Hazelnut Crème, the treat taps into the Premium Bitesize category and is a pioneering play in a category that has yet to gain significant scale.

Mars Wrigley has also launched Skittles Giants. The sweet, available in four pack sizes ranging from 45g to 170g and perfect for all occasions, is three times the size of a standard Skittle and will offer a more mouth-watering fruity flavour in one sweet.

The total confectionery market is in growth, with sales increasing by 4.5% in the past 12 months. The fruity confectionery category is also experiencing success, growing by 3.7% to £922 million (Nielsen).

Over the past 12 months, Mars Wrigley has seen fruity confectionery sales grow by 20.5% (Nielsen). Innovation such as Skittles Chewies is landing well with new shoppers but also existing shoppers, encouraging them to return to the category.

Innovation remains a key sales driver in the confectionery category, yet, 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. Consumers are seeking new taste experiences and continue to expect their favourite confectionery brands to innovate and offer something new.

Mars Wrigley’s biggest fruity confectionery brand, Skittles remains hugely popular with value sales up by 17.6% (Nielsen). Skittles Chewies launched in the second half of 2018; by removing the outer shell Mars Wrigley introduced consumers to a softer texture, which has proved a big hit.

Swizzels manufactures the Drumstick, Refresher, Love Hearts and Squashies brands.

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, said: ‘‘Developing a sugar confectionery offering that provides both value-for-money products as well as breadth of choice is key for retailers looking to provide variety within the category to attract consumers. Swizzels offers a range of sugar confectionery which caters to growing consumer trends as well as changing dietary needs, making them a must-stock for wholesalers looking to maximise sales opportunities.”

Squashies continues to be a huge success story for the business and is now the number one hanging bag brand in sugar confectionery (IRI). In the latest data, 80% of Swizzels Squashies that are sold in symbols and independents are PMP’s (IRI), which highlights that convenience shoppers are attracted to this value-for-money, best-selling product, making it attractive to retailers. Squashies original flavour has the highest rate of sale out of all £1 price marked sugar confectionery packs in the market, 22% above the next nearest competitor (IRI).

For those customers seeking a single portion sweet treat for on the go consumption, the range is also available in 45g bags with a price marked 3 for £1 multi-buy across the Original Raspberry & Milk, Sour Cherry & Apple and Bubblegum flavours. The launch of the on-pack 3 for £1 promotion has been a key driver in brand growth, making it a must stock. Research shows 82% of shoppers seek out PMPs, in addition to 61% of shoppers who think PMP’s offer better value for money (HIM).

Squashies are also available in non-PMPs.

Drumstick and Refresher Choos are another popular hanging bag option. Hanging bags now account for half of sugar confectionery sales (IRI) which is important for supermarkets to consider when looking to maximise opportunities in the category. Choos were developed to satisfy growing consumer demand for softer sugar confectionery products which has seen the soft fruits segment grow above market rate in the last 52 weeks (IRI). The recipe was purposefully developed to ensure it is suitable for vegans, a trend that has continued to grow across confectionery. Drumstick Choos provide 5 double flavour combinations including Peaches & Cream and Strawberry & Banana, while Refreshers Choos offer 5 fizzy flavours with the unique sherbet centre, including Pineapple and Apple.

Not only does Swizzels boast a strong, value-for-money hanging bag offering, it is also the number one supplier of chew bars (IRI) and has recently expanded its range with a new Rhubarb and Custard Drumstick variant. The product draws on the resurgence of retro flavours such as Rhubarb that provide a sense of nostalgia, sure to be a hit with consumers. Swizzels’ 10p chew bar range is currently in +13% growth YOY.

A trend retailers need to ensure they are catering for within the category is the rise of vegetarian and vegan-friendly sugar confectionery. With demand growing for more choice in the category and clearer indicators of what is suitable for these dietary needs, Swizzels has adapted many of its products to be suitable for vegetarians and vegans, easily identifiable with a clear vegan friendly flash on packs. The range features Swizzels’ best-selling brands including Choos, Drumstick and Refresher chew bars, stick packs, Parma Violets, and Love Hearts.’

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