Easter is the second largest confectionery season after Christmas (HIM). Timing is particularly important this year as Easter Sunday falls on 4 April, making the season eight days shorter than last year. This means retailers should stock up on Easter products from the get-go to maximise the opportunity.

Susan Nash, Communications Manager at Mondelez, comments: “To make the most of the season, retailers should split Easter into three phases: getting off to a quick start, building momentum, and then gearing up for a ‘gifting finish’ as the festive period reaches its finale. The first of these phases, ‘fast start’ runs from January until Valentine’s Day.”

The ‘fast start’ phase focuses on shoppers looking for treat products for themselves, such as Cadbury Creme Egg and Cadbury Mini Egg. With 84% of shoppers who purchase Easter confectionery early intending to buy again (Kantar), it’s important to have the products they’re looking for to meet these consumers’ shopping expectations.

“As well as this, over half of Easter confectionery is consumed before Easter, strengthening how capturing consumers right at the beginning of the season is a great opportunity to drive spend and impulsivity in-store,” adds Nash.

Cadbury, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Cadbury Creme Egg are the three biggest Easter brands (Nielsen) and this trio kicks off the ‘Fast Start’ phase.

Cadbury Creme Egg, the number one brand at Easter, continued to grow market share in 2020 (Nielsen). Two out of three people buy Cadbury Creme Eggs for non-Easter related consumption (Kantar), strengthening the importance of stocking up on the product from the beginning of the year and highlighting its prominence in the range.

This year Cadbury Creme Egg is celebrating 50 years of the brand with a new in-store promotion designed at challenging shoppers to unwrap the shiny ‘Golden Goobilee Creme Egg’ in their local store and having the chance to win the grand jackpot of £5K. There are additional smaller cash-prizes up for grabs, maximising the opportunity to win.

When a shopper wins, so too does the store. Independent retailers also have the chance to win a variety of cash-prizes or Amazon vouchers, up to £1000, with 30 golden eggs hidden within the convenience channel. To participate, retailers must use Cadbury promotional display material.

The new ’Golden Goobilee’ campaign will be supported by digital, OOH and surprising PR activities. The brand will also be rolling out a celebratory new retro pack design to grab shoppers’ attention in store and alert them to the occasion.

For more information and category advice, plus full T&Cs, please visit deliciousdisplay.co.uk.

The Cadbury Mini Eggs 80g bag was the number one product across all Easter SKUs in 2020 – with the brand accounting for 50% of total mini egg sales (Nielsen). Cadbury Mini Eggs also had top performers across multiple Easter pack formats, making it the number two Easter brand overall.

As well as returning favourites, including treatsize, bags and multipacks, Cadbury Mini Eggs will be adding a new member to the portfolio for 2021 – the Cadbury Mini Eggs Tablet, turning one of the nation’s favourite Easter brands (Nielsen) into a popular snacking format. The new 110g bar will be available in cases of 20 at an RRP of £1.49.

Cadbury Mini Eggs will be supported by a brand-new suite of POS material, matching the same staple yellow colours of the brand’s aesthetic, as well as a new pack design across the products.

The Cadbury Dairy Milk mini filled egg range helps retailers to drive sales from the beginning of the season. Available in Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo and Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim flavours, these solid filled chocolate eggs are an ideal treat to share and enjoy at home.

Sophia Padt, Senior Brand Manager – Easter at Mars Wrigley, comments: “Though it’s hard to anticipate the challenges that may lie ahead for the spring season, what we do know is that this time of year presents a number of important moments to connect. As we approach Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and, of course, Easter – 2021 is shaping up to be more special than ever!”

Economic uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic means people may be less inclined to spend big due to financial concerns. Mars Wrigley UK has tailored its 2021 Easter portfolio to help retailers target shoppers with multiple intentions and budgets, ensuring there is something special for everyone throughout the season.

“Easter 2021 will be eight days shorter than 2020, therefore it is important for retailers to have a relevant and prioritised product range throughout the period in order to maximise sales and ensure success,” adds Padt.

In the early months, people seek a little treat to beat the winter blues – enough so that this period drives 30% of the category’s total sales across the season (Kantar).

“While shoppers aren’t thinking about Easter day just yet, new and exciting seasonal products can encourage permissible and impulsive treating, creating an opportunity that retailers would be hopping mad to miss!” says Padt.

Mars Wrigley will be focussing on its biggest Easter brands this year – Maltesers and Galaxy – to help drive sales and boost category growth in the lead up to Easter 2021.

Maltesers Bunny is the UK’s second most popular single treat, with £36m sales in 2019 (Nielsen).

Maltesers will launch a national campaign offering shoppers the chance to ‘find the bunny and win the money”, with £5000 and 100s of other prizes up for grabs.

Small sharing and novelty confectionery make up as much as 40% of early season Easter sales and 50% of shoppers consume these small sharing items as self-treats regardless of sharing format (Kantar).

Galaxy Enchanted Eggs, launched last year as a refreshed take on Galaxy Golden Eggs, are returning this year.

Also hitting shelves this Easter are Galaxy Caramel Mini Eggs.

“Alongside Easter, the February to April months also bring about key mini-seasons and festivities such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Ramadan,” adds Padt.

Last year the opportunity to connect was disrupted due to lockdown restrictions, therefore impacting retailers and shoppers alike.

“Although it’s not clear what this season will look like in 2021, we do know that these moments to celebrate and show appreciation for loved ones will be more important than ever,” says Padt. “It will be essential to offer a product range suitable for gifting at this time of year.”

In previous times of economic uncertainty, consumers typically turn to mainstream brands they know and trust.

“Having a range of products that hit at the right price points from popular Mars Wrigley brands will be key in giving consumers choice and opening the opportunity for trade up,” suggests Padt.

Mars Wrigley UK’s core range across the Maltesers and Celebrations brands make an ideal gift or addition to a celebration.

Following the success of Maltesers Truffles, Mars Wrigley took the premium format to the number two chocolate brand in the UK, Galaxy.

A Nestlé Confectionery spokesperson says: “After a 2020 season hit by shopping restrictions and lockdown measures, Nestlé Confectionery aims to help retailers bounce back by bringing its biggest brands to the season’s best-selling formats to create a winning spring 2021 range.”

Headlining the 2021 spring range for Nestlé is the KitKat Bunny. Launched in 2020, KitKat Bunny became the No.2 impulse novelty on the market in its first year (IRI). Generating sales of £3.1 million across the range of formats, its performance delivered a much-needed boost for retailers (IRI).

Each KitKat Bunny bar is moulded into the shape of a cute bunny and consists of a rich chocolatey centre filled with crispy wafer pieces, all encased in a smooth milk chocolate shell. It will once again be available in multiple formats making it ideal for everything from indulgent treating and egg hunts to Easter gifting. The range includes the KitKat Bunny impulse bar (RRP 65p), KitKat Bunny Mini Bunnies sharing bag containing six individually wrapped bunnies (RRP £1.00), KitKat Bunny x5 multipack (RRP £3.00) and a KitKat Bunny Giant Easter egg complete with a KitKat Bunny impulse bar and Mini Bunnies bag inside (RRP £7.49).

As a nation of white chocolate lovers, shoppers spend £150 million on white chocolate in the UK and Ireland each year. Milkybar is the No.1 white chocolate (IRI) and this year is adding a brand-new seasonal launch to its portfolio. Milkybar Bunny is a white chocolate foil-wrapped bunny character. It will be available in a range of three sizes to meet different shopper needs: impulse 17g (RRP 65p), small novelty 44g (RRP £1.49) and medium novelty 88g (RRP £2.49).

The new launch will join the Smarties Bunnies range which launched in 2020 and is made up of five fun characters, each one a different colour: Cool (blue), Cute (pink), Smart (green), Happy (yellow) and Silly (orange). Each bunny comprises of a chocolate shell with mini Smarties inside. They are available in a range of sizes including impulse 18.5g (RRP 65p), impulse multipack (RRP £2.00), small novelty 50g (RRP £1.49) and medium novelty 94g (RRP £2.49); both ideal as ‘thinking of you’ gifts. There is also the Bunny Family Gift Pack which contains one 94g bunny and three 18.5g impulse bunnies (RRP £3.99).

This year the Mini Eggs category will benefit from a brand-new launch from flagship brand KitKat: KitKat Mini Eggs (RRP £1.00). Each foil-wrapped egg comprises a milk chocolate shell with a rich chocolatey centre and crunchy wafer pieces. Mini eggs make great solutions for sharing, egg hunts or creating baking masterpieces. Completing the 2021 Mini Eggs range are the popular Smarties Mini Eggs, Milkybar Mini Eggs pouches, and Aero Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs (RRP £1.00).

Capitalising on the success of Smarties Buttons, which launched in January 2020, is the new Smarties Buttons Giant Egg (RRP £7.49), which comes complete with Smarties Buttons pouch. Smarties Buttons proved an instant hit with shoppers achieving over £12 million in sales since launch (IRI). The second new giant egg is the Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs Giant Egg (RRP £7.49) which comes complete with an Aero Peppermint mini eggs pouch.

This year KitKat will also launch a brand-new variant of the Incredible Eggs. The KitKat Chunky Cookie Dough Incredible Egg (RRP £12.00) comprises a cookie dough flavoured milk chocolate egg with caramel inclusions, alongside three KitKat Chunky Cookie Dough bars.

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero, comments: “Despite the context of spring 2020, having to remain away from our loved ones during the pandemic has left shoppers feeling sentimental and more appreciative than ever. While upcoming spring occasions may be enjoyed in smaller groups depending on any restrictions, people will likely be eager to make the events even more special and turn to more premium brands to add some sparkle.

“Although there has been physical distance, gifting has remained key, with shoppers happy to spend extra in order to treat loved ones and themselves during what has been a challenging year. Both Rocher and Collection are performing ahead of the category, with the former in value growth of +2.6% (Nielsen). Our aim will be to focus on this success, with our trusted brands and products helping to ensure retailers can provide exactly what shoppers are looking for in store as we approach Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.”

Ferrero UK is launching its spring 2021 campaign with a range of new launches and a combined £5.8m advertising investment. With a big focus on the importance of stocking the core Ferrero range alongside seasonal products, the aim is to ensure retailers can maximise their sales throughout the entire season.

Kinder, the UK’s fourth biggest children’s confectionery brand within Easter (Nielsen), will be introducing new licenses across its range. The Kinder Surprise 100g will see Marvel heroes including; Black Panther, Thor, Spiderman and Captain Marvel alongside a range of Disney Princesses featured on-pack. The mixed cases will contain Marvel and Disney Princess toys to give retailers the chance to appeal to more shoppers, with the Marvel characters available being joined by Disney Princesses including Rapunzel, Belle and Arial among others.

Meanwhile the larger Kinder Surprise 220g eggs, which saw sales increase +47% during Easter 2020 (Nielsen), will receive a Minions update to celebrate the launch of Minions 2: The Rise of Gru, out next summer. To drive further growth, the popular Kinder Flame eggs (150g) will carry licenses from Toy Story and Marvel ensuring there is a wide appeal this spring.

Thorntons experienced early growth of +6% during spring 2020 (Nielsen), prior to the national lockdown impacting store visits, and was the only confectionery brand in the top seven to grow in terms of both value (+6.3%) and volume (+21.2%) in that initial period (Nielsen). The brand aims to replicate the success of its popular kids’ range, bringing back two popular designs – a unicorn egg and dinosaur egg.

The luxury Ferrero Hazelnut and Cocoa eggs saw double-digit growth during Easter 2020, growing by +29% and +24% respectively (Nielsen). Ferrero Rocher Golden Easter Egg and Ferrero Collection Milk Egg will both receive a makeover for 2021 to provide greater stand out on shelf, while also highlighting the quality of the products inside.

The Ferrero Rocher range will be supported across multiple channels at each occasion throughout spring.

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, said: “Easter is a key spring occasion for convenience retailers to take full advantage of with their confectionery offering. Easter week is the number one week in the total confectionery calendar, with sales of £190m. The Swizzels Easter range grew +26% this year, showing it’s a popular choice for consumers looking for an alternative to chocolate at Easter, and therefore a must stock.”

Hanging bags will be a key format to focus on for Easter 2021 as it’s perfect for the sharing occasion, currently growing in value by +6% value (IRI). Squashies, the no.1 hanging bag brand (IRI) is bringing back their popular Easter variant Drumchick Squashies which is a must stock confectionery product at Easter. These limited edition Squashies come in chick shapes for Easter fun, with an orange and pineapple flavour, and are ideal for driving impulse sales of themed, self-treat sharing bags in the lead up to and throughout the season.

Squashies is the No.1 Sugar Confectionery Brand in the UK and is growing faster than any other top 10 brand (IRI).

Back for Easter 2021 is the Spring Selection variety bag, containing a selection of Swizzels’ best-loved brands which is perfect for Easter hunts. All products contained in the variety pack are suitable for vegans as Swizzels recognises this is a growing lifestyle choice, and it can be particularly difficult to find suitable confectionery products over the Easter period when chocolate is so prominent. The Spring-themed design also ensures the product can be sold after Easter, ensuring the best sell-through rate.

“Swizzels’ Spring Mix offers the perfect gift for sweet lovers at Easter, as it includes a variety of Swizzels favourites including Drumstick Squashies, Parma Violets and Love Hearts,” adds Walker. “This Easter-themed pouch is filled with a selection of 40 individually wrapped sweets from Swizzels, making it ideal for Easter hunts or parties too.”

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