Category guide: Confectionery


The New Year’s resolutions have all been broken, and guilty pleasures and gifting are once again paving the way in confectionery

Spring brings plenty of opportunities for wholesalers willing to base their confectionery strategy around occasions. The combined market for Valentine’s Day (£33.3m) and Mother’s Day (£31.5m) is almost a third of the size of the already large Easter opportunity.

What’s more, these are growing at 6% year on year. Wholesalers who avoid out of stocks, champion impulse purchases and accommodate the trends within the confectionery category can expect to reap the rewards of a highly profitable season.

Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelēz International, says: “With 98% of adults snacking at home, work or a place of study and 70% of adults snacking when on the go, it is vital that cash & carries and wholesalers are ready to help retailers meet the increasing demand.” Creating displays that inspire retailers to cater for shopper missions such as ‘on-the-go’ or ‘afternoon treat’ can be powerful tools in ensuring retailers try something new as well.

One in four retailers buys on impulse at the depot, with promotions identified as a key factor in encouraging retailers to buy something off-list. Bep Dhaliwal, trade relations manager at Mars Chocolate UK, says: “The number one frustration for retailers at depot is poor availability so ensure all popular lines are prominently displayed and always available.”

Chocolate confectionery is twice the size of the next snacking category, worth £3.6bn, and continues to grow. But the confectionery category is not without its challenges and is forecast a turbulent few years. A recent report by analyst Frost & Sullivan says that because of the trends towards health and wellness, the sugar confectionery market may experience negative compound annual growth.

However, the continuing phenomenon of the big night in sees customers increasingly looking to recreate the cinema experience at home. With money a little tighter after Christmas, wholesalers that can inspire retailers to push this as an event will do well. They should also consider Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, a key big family night in on March 13. Maltesers has announced its partnership with the charity, including a social media baking competition and a drive to get customers to see Maltesers as a baking ingredient.

Oli Morton, Wrigley UK sales director, says that selling confectionery is all about partnerships, so making the most of the information offered by suppliers is a must.

“Each and every sales call provides wholesalers with essential information, including product development, new initiatives, merchandising support and insight.”

Elsewhere, Swizzels has launched its Squashies range to take advantage of the big night in, turning iconic classics, such as Love Hearts, Drumstick Lollies, Double Lollies and Refreshers, into softer gum versions. Gums & jellies has a 46% share of the kids confectionery market and variety packs, such as the Swizzels Loadsa range, have also driven the market with 17% growth in the kids sugar convenience sector.

With Valentine’s Day on February 14 and Mother’s Day on March 15, maintaining confectionery stocks over the next couple of months is a must. Ferrero Rocher will return to TV screens with a £7.3m campaign in February and will increase distribution of the newly-launched Grand Rocher, making it available to all retail channels. The Grand Rocher will contain two individual Ferrero Rochers tied together with a gold ribbon, making it a novelty gifting ­option.

Raffaello will have outdoor, digital and sampling activity next year, and Ferrero is set to launch a seasonal mini-cube pack of Raffaello that contains six almond and coconut treats. The pack will be tailored for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and has a RRP of £2.99.

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, wholesalers should consider the added impact of a huge big night in opportunity on that date especially, as well as stocking gifting options. Swizzels Love Hearts perform well around this time, growing 17% year on year, and the brand is also bringing back the retro Mini Love Hearts tin.

Retailers will be aiming for distress purchases made by people who have forgotten the events, so planning for that increase in purchases in the weeks leading up to them is strongly advised. Cadbury Roses and Cadbury Milk Tray, which rose by 13% in value last year, perform well in these mini seasons. Mondelēz plans to have high-profile marketing activity to mark Milk Tray’s centenary.

To get the most out of Easter, wholesalers can support retailers with their knowledge of the category. Mondelēz’s Susan Nash says: “Advising retailers about spending strategy is important. Some retailers go for products with the highest margins – but that’s not always the best approach.” Building strong partnerships with customers and suppliers enables a good flow of information.

Easter is the second biggest event of the year for confectionery and within kids confectionery it remains number one, worth £220m. Whereas selling shell eggs can place retailers in unwinnable price wars with the multiples, the convenience sector can still benefit from Easter-themed impulse purchases, such as the MaltEaster Bunny. Malteser has launched a new MaltEaster campervan gift pack that features two standard-sized bunnies and seven mini ones, to provide a different kind of gift to shell eggs.

Mars’ Bep Dhaliwal recommends that wholesalers locate confectionery in high traffic areas around the depot and use point-of-sale material to draw retailers’ interest.

“Providing a point of difference to the multiples with range and price options in-store is important for retailers,” she adds.

Ferrero is kick-starting its Easter with Kinder Surprise Storymakers, to encourage kids to create an online story and reinforce its ‘Treat for the Imagination’ strapline. The promo will appear on all Kinder Surprise packaging between March and May.

Kinder Choco-Bons bags are also a key focus for the brand. Fitting into retailers’ demand for clip strips, they are a must-stock for retailers with limited shelf space.

Levi Boorer, Ferrero customer development director, says: “By stimulating a child’s imagination with Kinder Surprise Storymakers, we give parents creative work from their children that they can proudly display while also giving children a fun activity to take part in during the Easter period.” Ferrero will also reintroduce its Bunny, in 60g and 100g formats.

Kids sugar confectionery is currently growing ahead of total sugar and chocolate at a rate of 2.9% year on year. Last year, Swizzels released the Spring Selection tub, RRP £1, to capitalise on that growth and is bringing it back this Easter.

Despite the uncertain times ahead, confectionery remains a powerful category within convenience. New products aimed at gifting are driving growth in the category and although health trends are growing, seasonal indulging is still a huge opportunity. Wholesalers who can maintain good stock availability and become experts in the category will earn the trust of retailers and suppliers alike, and give them the best chance of boosting their confectionery range. 


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