Sugar confectionery comes into its own in the summer as the weather heats up, but chocolate treats remain a firm favourite too, even when things get warm. Make sure you have a strong selection of sugar confectionery and chocolate treats in store for your shoppers by stocking the top sellers in this important category.

“Confectionery is one of the biggest food and drink categories in convenience and also one of the most impulsive, so it’s a crucial area in any retail outlet,” says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

Chocolate sharing bags are the fastest growing standard chocolate segment, says Susan Nash. Mondelez’ sharing bags are growing 4% annually, driven by the Cadbury and Green & Black’s brands. Also part of Mondelez, Bournville moved into sharing bags in February with new Bournville Giant Buttons and the Bournville brand is now worth £15.3m, with sales growing 6.6%.

The Cadbury sharing bag portfolio is worth £126m and growing 6.6% annually, led by Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons, while Bournville Giant Buttons sharing bags meet consumer needs for a dark chocolate offer. On the promotion front, Mondelez has introduced new £1 PMPs in its chocolate bags range, helping retailers improve price perception and increase speed of sales. The new £1 (RRP) 95g PMPs are available across Mondelez’s bestselling bags; Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons, Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Nibbles, Cadbury Twirl Bites, Cadbury Bitsa Wispa and Terry’s Chocolate Orange Minis.

Maynards Bassetts recently announced its first ever sour Soft Jelly product, Soft Jellies Fizzy Fish following Soft Jellies Wild Safari, launched in 2018. Each bag contains a selection of flavours for sharing, made with natural colours and flavours.

The premium chocolate market is growing fast and bringing in new, higher value shoppers. Growing at 11.1%, Green and Black’s offers a range of tablets and sharing formats for a luxurious way to unwind. Building on the success of Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo in tablets, Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Sandwich has a layer of the nation’s favourite chocolate sandwiched between mini Oreo biscuits.

As we go through different life-stages, our taste buds change, and Cadbury Darkmilk meets this consumer demand. Made with 40% cocoa, the new tablet provides a delicious cocoa hit combined with a creamy, smooth taste. The range launched with two variants, Cadbury Darkmilk Original and Cadbury Darkmilk Almond. Cadbury Darkmilk Salted Caramel joined the range in January, along with a new single 35g Darkmilk bar to help drive impulse and on the go sales. The single bar also is available in a PMP.

Mondelez also makes Trebor, the UK’s number one mint brand with 35% category share, nearly double its nearest rival. Four out of the five top-selling mint products are Trebor SKUs. With the aim of further targeting on-the-go consumers, Trebor introduced its first hard boiled, sugar free candy this year, Trebor Cool Drops, with less than 100kcal per pack. Launched in a handy 28g flip-top box with two refreshing flavours, Trebor Cool Drops Sugar Free Extra Fresh and Trebor Cool Drops Sugar Free Lemon, the innovation aims to bring new consumers to the category to drive incremental sales.

Swizzels is the UK’s fastest growing sugar confectionery manufacturer and one of the few remaining British sugar confectionery makers. The UK’s largest independent family-owned sugar confectionery business, Swizzels continues to perform well, says Mark Walker, Swizzels’ Sales Director, with sales up +4% YOY. Swizzels’ sharing bags and self-treats cater for all shoppers. 100g-499g sharing bags are the largest sugar confectionery sector, worth £501m and growing 4%.

Swizzels’ latest addition to its PMP range and the soft chew hanging bag category is Choos, available in two variants, Drumstick Choos and Refreshers Choos, with a choice of five flavours per pack. Choos are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Also available in 150g non-PMPs, Choos are perfect for sharing. New for 2019, the Drumstick Mixed Lolly Bag contains individually wrapped Drumstick lollies to share with family and friends.

Swizzels’ Squashies is the UK’s third biggest and fastest growing sugar confectionery brand. Drumstick Squashies Original £1 PMP is the UK’s best-selling PMP and fifth bestselling confectionery SKU.

For customers seeking portioncontrolled treats for on the go consumption, the Squashies sharing bags range is available in 45g bags on a 3 for £1 multi-buy. To drive impulse purchases, the bags come in a 24-count display case.

Perfect for self-treats, Swizzels has expanded its 10p Drumstick Chew Bar range with a brand-new flavour, Bubblegum, following the success of the Drumstick Original Chew Bar, in +21% growth. Swizzels’ chew bars are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Swizzels is taking ownership of the summer season for sugar confectionery with its Fun in the Sun campaign featuring its share bags, giving retailers the opportunity to enter a prize draw for a family holiday.

Sugar confectionery is seeing a return to quality, reckons Mighty Fine cofounder Kit Tomlinson, using simpler and better ingredients that deliver a treat, so indulging in something sweet doesn’t feel like such a guilty pleasure: “Fad ingredients and combinations come and go but right now we’re seeing a return to basics, with consumers seeking out products they understand and trust.“

Mighty Fine’s bestselling products are their Salted Caramel Honeycomb Dips and Dark Chocolate Almond Dips, with the best performing size format being their sharing bags. Their latest new product launch is the Skinny Almond Dips, lightly roasted almonds skinny coated in dark or milk chocolate, then dusted in cocoa powder and flavoured with salted caramel or raspberry. A delicious treat that won’t give you a sugar crash, they contain 45% less sugar than their competitors.

Consumers are seeking out brands they can trust, says Mary O’Rourke, Head of Product Innovation at Lir: “Price is important, but not the main consideration when choosing chocolate treats. Demand for premium chocolate and true indulgence with a sensory experience across taste, flavour and colour are very important factors.

“Consumer want to give not only a delicious gift, but something visually appealing and instagrammable. Bite size pieces, like boxed chocolates, are becoming more popular than large bars. Although it could be that consumers are watching more what they eat, a box of chocolates is also much more social and easier to share.”

Last year, Lir launched the highly popular Discovery Collection to mark its 30th birthday, with exciting new flavours alongside much-loved favourites and using quality ingredients such as Thai lemongrass, Persian lime oil and Spanish pistachios.

“Premium and dark chocolate are the market’s strongest segments,” says Mary O’Rourke, “with increasing awareness of the health benefits of certain chocolate. This is also aligned with the health and wellness platform, with the emphasis on sugar reduction in chocolate.

“It’s important for retailers to realise that consumers are increasingly informed and determined to reduce sugar in their diets, and the high cacao label is a trend characterising other types of chocolate, not just dark chocolate. Demand for high quality fine flavour cocoa is increasingly important with consumers.”

The clean label trend is another influence retailers should be aware of, says Mary, with confectioners being forced to take new initiatives to increase sales: “Lir Chocolates are an industry leader in providing natural sourced plant-based colours and natural ingredients and flavours. We are constantly researching and developing new natural colours that are light stable, as part of our Innovation strategy.”

Nestlé UK and Ireland has recently introduced ‘80 Awesome things to do’, a new on-pack promotion on some of its leading confectionery brands, giving families fun and engaging activity ideas to do together. Rosamunde Hobson, Brand Manager for Milkybar at Nestlé UK, says: “In today’s connected world, parents are increasingly looking for fun ideas of things to do with their family.” ‘80 Awesome things’ enables instant access to a variety of activity ideas, to inspire families and facilitate moments of connection. Small packs with less than 100 calories of Nestlé’s Milkybar, Smarties, Animal Bar and Rowntree’s Randoms carry a Quick Response (QR) code that takes parents to a digital platform with a wide range of familyfriendly activity ideas.

‘80 Awesome things’ is also available on Milkybar multipacks and Minis packs, as well as Smarties Minis. The activity ideas include a mix of creative and active play, such as ‘making wands’, ‘mini-beasts hunt’, ‘making a tornado in a jar’ or ‘doing some marble painting’. Each code gives access to one main activity. There is also an option to view ‘other fun stuff’, which include additional fun activity ideas and a link to recipe suggestions.

On the NPD front, new variants of Rowntree’s Randoms, Nestlé’s randomly shaped, fruit flavoured sweets. have been introduced to coincide with its tenth birthday. Two new sharing bags, one with new Randoms Sours and the second Squish’ems (squishy foam and fruity jelly in one sweet) join the existing Rowntree’s Randoms range. Both 140g sharing bags have a £1.29 RRP. New shapes include a hashtag, a gnome, a unicorn and a flamingo while sweets shaped like a cake, birthday present, party popper and number 10 are added to celebrate the brand’s tenth anniversary.

Nestlé has brought out Aero Bliss, a new premium boxed chocolate version of Aero, in two luxurious variants, Milk Chocolate and a Mixed Selection including milk chocolate, salted caramel and praline flavours. Both boxes have an RRP of £3.99. The Aero Bliss launch is supported with a media campaign including out of home, social and digital advertising as well as sampling/experiential activity.

Nestlé has also launched MILKYBAR Mix Ups, new MILKYBAR chocolate buttons mixing white and milk chocolate. MILKYBAR Mix Ups are available as a single 32.5g pack. RRP 65p, a 78g pouch, RRP £1, and a 95g sharing bag, RRP £1.59. Each selection contains a mix of classic MILKYBAR white chocolate buttons with a cocoa filling and milk chocolate buttons with a milky filling. MILKYBAR Mix Ups are supported by a comms campaign including outdoor advertising, social and digital media and sampling.

Ferrero’s Thorntons brand is expanding its portfolio with its new range of premium tablets, says Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero. An established brand in the boxed chocolate category, Thorntons Tablets allow the brand to capitalise on the +2% growth seen in the tablets category in 2018. Thorntons Tablets areavailable in four distinct and popular flavours; 70% Dark, Caramel Cheesecake, Honeycomb, and Orange Crisp, all 90g with a £2 MRSP. The Thorntons tablets have been developed with a younger audience in mind, as the perfect treat for ‘me time’.

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero, comments: “Thorntons Tablets are an exciting proposition, a premium product with intense flavours and a great texture. Tablet bars are incredibly popular amongst shoppers, and we’re confident that expanding the expertise of Thorntons will bring more consumers into the category.”

The Ferrero portfolio also includes Tic Tac. “The mints and gums category continues to see increased consumer demand for fruit flavours,” says Levi Boorer. “Our Tic Tac Lime & Orange and Strawberry Fields products reflect that demand, and we continually develop insight-driven NPD to ensure retailers have a range of products to offer shoppers.”

Ferrero have also seen demand increase for stronger mint flavours. “We’re always looking at how we can extend the reach of the Tic Tac range,” says Levi Boorer, “and introduced a new product last September appealing to a new part of the market. Our new Tic Tac ‘Intense Mint’ appeals to consumers demanding an extra-strong mint; its stronger flavour is bringing in new shoppers to the category and typically appeals to more young adults than the recognised mint flavour.

The extra-strong flavour in Tic Tac Intense Mint clearly differentiates the new product from the ever-present Fresh Mint product, while capitalising on refreshment, shoppers’ number one requirement in this category. The Tic Tac pill’s bold blue colour helps the product to stand out on shelf, making it an eye-catching option for impulse purchases in store.

Finally, Tangerine Confectionery has invested £800,000 into a new range of television adverts to promote its core Barratt range. The adverts are being shown via television and Video on Demand (VOD) this spring to promote Tangerine’s Softies range – the soft gum twist on classic Barratt favourites such as Dip Dabs, Refreshers and Fruit Salad, currently on price promotion at Tesco for 75p.

A shorter second commercial will also showcase other staples of the nostalgic range including Sherbet Fountains, Wham, Black Jack, Milk Teeth and Fizzy Dummies. The adverts have been designed to showcase the brand’s appeal to childhood memories and nostalgia, focusing on the joy of experiencing sweets.

The investment is the latest marketing push for Tangerine’s Barratt brand following its relaunch in 2018. Since its return to market, Barratt is now worth £35m with the Softies range valued at £4.7m, growing 85 per cent year-on-year.

Russell Tanner, Marketing and Category Director at Tangerine Confectionery, says: “This advertising investment represents a real opportunity to widen brand awareness through a targeted television campaign, expected to reach nearly 7.5 million consumers. Our last television campaign drove an uplift in sales of more than 40 per cent, and we expect to see similar results this time round.

“Barratt is our most popular range and our Softies products have proved a hit with all types of consumers. These adverts to showcase the playful nature of our sweets and we expect them to resonate well with our audiences and convert them into customers.”

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