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Lindsay Sharman outlines five steps to sweeten your sugar confectionery sales

Once virtually the exclusive territory of school children, sugar confectionery is today a booming category popular with young people and adults alike. Wholesalers are an integral contact for independents retailers when it comes to this category, playing a vital role in informing and advising them on new products and trends, as well as making recommendations. Here are five key ways to drive sugar confectionery sales.
Stock PMPs: Critical for positive price perceptions
Six ways to grow sales
  1. Clear vision: Make sure your displays are marked clearly with shelf-edge strips and signage.
  2. Top brands: Stock the bestsellers and educate retail customers about what will drive the category.
  3. Deal breaker: Offer strong margins and multibuys to stay competitive.
  4. Hot stuff: Make space for new products and promote accordingly. Let your customers know when there’s a new product in-depot.
  5. Cross-promote: Use promotions across more than one category to drive additional sales – for example, soft drinks with sharing bags of confectionery.
  6. Pole position: Promote bestsellers and launches at strategic points around the depot. Areas of high traffic are especially effective.

Encouraging your customers to include price-marked packs (PMPs) in their sugar confectionery offering is a sure-fire way
to improve sales. 

Bev Seymour, trade marketing manager at Cloetta UK, which owns the Chewits brand, explains: “For retailers, PMPs are critical in achieving positive price perceptions in store with 94% of consumers saying they would buy a PMP when one is available.”

Swizzels Matlow, which offers a price-marked £1 range of sugar confectionery bags, emphasises the importance of keeping the end consumer in mind when making stocking decisions: “Price‑marking will enable wholesalers to increase volume through the value message, which gives the end consumer confidence,” says Sarah-Louise Heslop, marketing manager at Swizzels Matlow.

New flavours: Fruits drive mouth-watering sales

New flavours and flavour extensions feature prominently in the category – not least because different flavours appeal to different target audiences. Flavour combinations are also helping to drive sales. To tap into this, Nestlé has just launched Fruit Pastilles Froosions, which combine two flavours in one sweet. Their introduction to the market follows several new mixed flavour products over the past year, including Starburst Morphs, Skittles Confused and Fruitella Magics.

Fruit is now the largest segment of the mint and gums category and sales are particularly high among 16-24 year olds. Pocket-confectionery giant Tic Tac has performed well, with its Lime & Orange variant and newer flavours Cherry Passion and Strawberry Fields achieving good growth in the past two years – they now account for 32% of total Tic Tac sales. 

At the start of the year, Tic Tac launched a new Apple variant and in April, Ferrero launched a media campaign to support it in-store with a range of point-of-sale materials, including wobblers, shelf strips and the Tic Tac counter display.

Maintain value: Looking after the pennies

Shoppers continue to look for value across the range of grocery categories so offering retailers products that enable them to sell value sugar confectionery alongside the full price ranges is key. Defining what value means to your customers is also important. 

Andy Mutton, sales director at Storck UK, says: “For some customers, value is defined simply by price; however, many assess it based on quality, price and added value.”

Storck has some £1 products within its range, while Swizzels Matlow has a 10p range designed to drives sales by offering a wide range of products at a low price. The 10p range includes Drumsticks and Refreshers.

Don’t forget sugar-free: One in three Brits are watching their weight

According to Storck, one in three Brits is on a diet. The rapid growth of sugar-free confectionery would seem to support this. Sugar-free variants of well-known brands offer shoppers an alternative to less calories. Werther’s Original Sugar Free, for example, has less than 10 calories per sweet and is a great option for consumers who are seeking a sugar-free alternative. Wholesalers can offer a fliptop box for retailer customers to drive incremental sales.

Sugar-free gum is another product that wholesalers can offer to capitalise on this trend. Most leading brands have a sugar-free alternative.

Try different formats: Variety packs and hanging bags

Stocking a variety of formats is crucial, as retailers will need to cater to a wide range of consumers and occasions. For example, variety bags are an excellent way to offer youngsters something fun and they are also perfect for adults for occasions such as big nights in.

“Variety packs are driving the marketing forward, with growth of 17% in the kids’ sugar convenience sector,” says Swizzels Matlow’s Sarah-Louise Heslop. Swizzels has sharing bags such as Loadsa Sweets and Loadsa Lollies as well as its bestselling Bumper Bag. 

“The hanging bag sector within children’s confectionery is now worth £246m and is growing 9% year-on-year.

“These lines are ideal for family sharing and consumers looking for brands they recognise.” 

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Lindsay Sharman
Lindsay Sharman is a former editor of Retail Newsagent, news editor of Retail Express and account manager in public relations for leading food and drink brands. Lindsay loves anything to do with the arts, including mid-century antiques, and cycles everywhere, even in winter

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